With Paul Brown Stadium out of the running to host MLS, FC Cincinnati will continue its pitch for a new soccer-specific stadium.
After FC Cincinnati unveiled a new stadium proposal that called for a $70 to $75 million public contribution for infrastructure, Hamilton County made its pitch for the club to use Paul Brown Stadium. The county sought to argue that the venue–home to the NFL’s Bengals–could be used for MLS and eliminate public expenses for a new stadium, though the club cited the league’s calls for expansion bids to include new soccer-specific facilities as a point against that proposal.
Ultimately, FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding arranged a call on Monday that included MLS and Hamilton County officials. Following that call, the club issued a statement indicating that the conversation included the vetting of Paul Brown Stadium regarding fan experience, infrastructure, and economics for MLS. It also added that “MLS officials provided answers on why a soccer-specific stadium is a key to a team’s viability and the growth of the League, and therefore is viewed as a priority if FC Cincinnati is to win a bid.”
FC Cincinnati indicated that it would work local officials on a soccer-specific stadium plan for Cincinnati’s Oakley. “We look forward to working with Hamilton County in the next few days as the Commission seeks to support our bid, which includes our commitment to privately fund a new soccer-specific stadium,” the statement read. “During this time, we also will be working closely with City Council Members regarding Mayor John Cranley’s Oakley infrastructure plan.”
Cranley has proposed using a variety of funding sources to contribute $52 million in funding for infrastructure improvements relating to the stadium project. The parties, including the city and the county, are now expected to consider that plan. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:
After a more than hour-long call officials from Major League Soccer, FC Cincinnati, Hamilton County Commissioners have abandoned the idea of locating a professional soccer team in Paul Brown Stadium, should Cincinnati be awarded an expansion team.
Then Hamilton County Board of Commissioners Todd Portune said the county would allow a portion of the hotel tax be used for the stadium, putting Oakley as a location for the stadium back in play. The question: Does the idea have majority support from Cincinnati City Council? Most members haven’t yet said where they stand on the idea.
FC Cincinnati’s latest proposal calls for the stadium itself to be privately-financed, with a cost estimate of $200 million. The club is looking to boost its MLS bid as the league approaches a mid-December announcement on expansion.
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