One of 12 candidates vying for an MLS expansion slot, FC Cincinnati has plenty to offer. The team received record-setting fan support during its inaugural season at Nippert Stadium last year and, with some upgrades to Nippert Stadium in the works that trend will likely continue into 2017.
Meanwhile, the organization is backed by leadership that includes majority owner and CEO Carl Lindner III, as well as general manager Jeff Berding. MLS commissioner Don Garber praised the organization’s work during his visit to Cincinnati last November, but expressed doubts that Nippert Stadium could be a viable MLS facility.
That leaves FC Cincinnati in a situation where it must consider site and funding possibilities if a new stadium is needed. During an event last week, Berding said that the team is evaluating its site options, with two cities in Northern Kentucky–Covington and Newport–among the possible candidates
Both cities are a part of the Cincinnati metro area, and offer just enough land to consider for the stadium. Berding also emphasized that Northern Kentucky features enough urban centers to provide the stadium with a downtown setting. More from The River City News:
It just so happens that Berding’s old boss, Bill Butler, and Corporex own the Ovation site in Newport, which is a large swath of riverfront land long awaiting a development. Additionally, Covington was rocked by the announced departure of its IRS center, which could also open up development on another large piece of near-riverfront property. “Are we aware of those sites? Yes we are,” Berding said, when asked by The River City News at Thursday’s event. He declined to get into specifics of the site evaluation process but said sites are explored in the team’s application to MLS.
“Our commitment, because soccer is urban, we have said we were going to build a stadium in the urban core and last I checked, this side of the river has an urban core,” Berding said. “So, whether it’s Clifton or maybe a little bit north of Clifton and it comes down to what I would call the riverfront, Northern Kentucky, absolutely.
“We haven’t identified the sites that we think could work, or that could be interesting, and that’s about where we are.”
Expect FC Cincinnati to continue this process, as a concept for a new stadium could be used to bolster the organization’s expansion case. FC Cincinnati’s bid was one of a dozen to be submitted in advance last week’s deadline, which cleared the way for the MLS to begin a more thorough evaluation of expansion proposals.
Image courtesy FC Cincinnati.
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