Cincinnati Mayor: Taxpayer Funds Unlikely for FC Cincinnati Stadium

FC Cincinnati

Should the organization build a new stadium in Cincinnati, it is unlikely that FC Cincinnati will receive taxpayer funds for the project, according to mayor John Cranley

After submitting an MLS expansion bid, FC Cincinnati is trying to narrow its site options down for a new stadium. The MLS has previously expressed reservations about the USL franchise’s current home, Nippert Stadium, which is why FC Cincinnati is considering its possibilities for a new facility.

Although he emphasized that he would like for FC Cincinnati to remain within Cincinnati’s limits, Cranley recently stated that taxpayer funds seem unlikely to go to the project. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Mayor John Cranley said either way, he doesn’t foresee public money being used to build a stadium should one be needed later as part of the second-year club’s pitch for Major League Soccer expansion.

During a Monday interview with The Enquirer, Cranley said he hasn’t discussed with anyone the possibility of public funds going toward a would-be stadium, adding he’s keeping an open mind about the club’s MLS expansion application.

Asked specifically about the possible use of taxpayer money for a stadium project, Cranley said, “No one has talked to us about taxpayer money for a stadium in any manner whatsoever. I don’t envision that.”

Funding will obviously be a major component of any stadium pursuit, but as noted earlier FC Cincinnati is heavily focusing on the prospective site the stadium. Recent comments from general manager Jeff Berding indicate that the organization is looking beyond Cincinnati’s borders, and is not ruling out the possibility that the team shifts it stadium effort to Northern Kentucky.

Any option within Northern Kentucky would be planned to keep the team within the Cincinnati metro area, and the stadium itself would be developed within an urban center. However, Sports Illustrated reported last week that the team has been weighing two sites within Cincinnati.

In a statement on Monday, Berding reiterated some of these points, but did not mention specific candidates for the stadium site. More from the Enquirer:

In a statement provided to The Enquirer Monday, Berding confirmed the club has partnered with MEIS Architects as they continue to explore stadium options.  According to a Sports Illustrated report, the club has identified and detailed for MLS two possible stadium sites located in the city’s urban core.

“Regarding a site, we agree with MLS that soccer is a sport that best fits the urban core of a franchise,” Berding said Monday in the statement. “So whether a stadium is in Clifton or thereabouts, or down through the core to areas in close proximity to the riverfront, we are open to the best sites should we have a need and opportunity to develop a soccer-specific stadium.

“If the best location presents an opportunity to build in NKY, a key part of the Greater Cincinnati region, FCC would be certainly open to that outcome… The MLS application required that we submit our initial thoughts on a soccer-specific stadium, and we did so. You never want to fail a test because you left a section blank. Having said that, we would have a long ways to go before we need to put a plan to action.”

FC Cincinnati was one of 12 candidates to submit a bid last week for an MLS expansion franchise. The league is expected to add two teams by 2020, with another pair of clubs joining at a later date.

Image courtesy FC Cincinnati. 

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