FC Cincinnati: More Work Needed in MLS Expansion Pitch

FC Cincinnati Stadium rendering

In a new statement, FC Cincinnati is indicating that more work is needed before its MLS expansion bid is ready for final review.

Last month, FC Cincinnati’s expansion bid appeared to gather new momentum. The city council approved an ordinance that could lead to a $33.8-million funding package for infrastructure improvements to support a new West End stadium, with the venue slated for the site of Taft High School’s Stargel Stadium. In the days following that vote, MLS issued a statement that acknowledged Cincinnati’s progress but indicated that discussions with all three expansion finalists–including Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento–would continue.

FC Cincinnati is now addressing its ongoing MLS expansion bid, issuing a statement Wednesday that details where the club stands in the ongoing process. The club noted that considerable progress has been made, but that work will have to continue to finalize some important aspects of the bid. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:

“While extraordinary progress has been made, all of our work must be finalized – including various legal agreements with the City (of Cincinnati), Port, County and (Cincinnati Public Schools) and an assessment of our interim MLS Nippert Stadium plan – before our bid will be 100 percent complete for final review,” FC Cincinnati officials said in the statement.

“As we continue to finalize our bid, FCC and MLS are scheduling a visit to Cincinnati by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS executives, during which time they will also meet with club ownership.

“We’ve come extraordinarily far in such a short time, but before we have the opportunity to earn a place in Major League Soccer, we must have complete due diligence to ensure a success and we’re focused on that at this time. We appreciate our community’s continued support of our club and our goal to bring an MLS franchise to our region.”

MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche told The Enquirer Monday a planned visit by MLS officials to inspect the West End stadium site hadn’t yet occurred. He declined to comment on a timetable for when the league’s inspection visit might happen.


Last month’s vote from the Cincinnati City Council seemed to clear up some uncertainty surrounding plans for a new MLS stadium. Throughout its search, FC Cincinnati had been linked to three sites for a new stadium, including West End, Oakley, and Newport, KY. If it does move forward, part of the agreement for the West End location calls for FC Cincinnati to replace Stargel Stadium by constructing a new venue at a nearby site.

Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento are left from a group of four finalists that were considered for two MLS expansion spots in December. MLS selected Nashville’s bid in December, but opted to hold off on decisions regarding the other bids and has still not finalized plans for its next selection. Pinning down stadium plans has been one key issue in FC Cincinnati’s pursuit, while Sacramento has been searching for additional investment to back its bid. Detroit’s proposal, meanwhile, calls for sharing the existing Ford Field with the NFL’s Lions rather than building a new stadium.

Image courtesy FC Cincinnati.

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