A Phoenix Rising FC stadium plan calls for a “pop-up” USL facility that will eventually be replaced by a permanent MLS facility should the organization land an expansion franchise.
Phoenix Rising was a last-minute addition to the MLS expansion process, with ownership having days to prepare a plan, while other cities had months to prepare. Still, the Phoenix Rising FC stadium plan has some merits that will certainly pique some interest in MLS circles. But first comes the temporary stadium, per Cronkite News:
Phoenix Rising’s temporary stadium is under construction in a noisy dirt lot off McClintock Drive and the Loop 101 in Tempe. The club secured 45 acres of land with the help of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and is using 16 of those acres for the temporary “pop-up” stadium.
Riester said the same people in charge of setting up the stands for the Waste Management Phoenix Open are putting the stadium together.
“Imagine that beautiful Par-3 with a FIFA qualified soccer pitch in the middle instead,” Riester said. “That’s what fans are going to see on March 25 and for the next few years.”
The club’s goal is to replace the temporary stadium with a permanent home on the same property by 2020, fit with a climate-controlled stadium, surrounding fields and light rail access. Phoenix Rising has yet to disclose the cost of the potential stadium but has stated that public funds won’t be necessary.
As noted, there are plenty of pluses to the Phoenix application, but there are some uncertainty in the marketplace, with the Diamondbacks, Coyotes and Suns all seeking new facilities. Phoenix is the largest market seeking an MLS expansion franchise, but it’s pretty clear that MLS leaders are looking at other criteria, including ownership capitalization and a stadium plan, in making their decision on four (or possibly five, depending on what happens in Miami) expansion teams. If this stadium plan is deemed as adequate — and, with the help of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which has had huge success developing Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the spring-training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, this is surely a serious bid — then Phoenix may indeed be rising in the race too land an expansion team.