Backers of the potential Boise USL club expect it would thrive, making it a major part of a proposed professional soccer/Minor League Baseball facility.
As was revealed in January, Agon Sports & Entertainment will own a Boise club in Division II USL Championship, contingent upon the completion of a proposed facility that would also house MiLB’s Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League). Greenstone Properties–where Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen is a managing principal–is working to build a replacement for the Hawks’ Memorial Stadium, with the effort currently focused on a site on the city’s West End. Schoen and Jeff Eiseman co-own the Hawks through Agon Sports & Entertainment, which opened 2018 Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year SRP Park for MiLB’s Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) last year and is looking to bring a similar concept to Boise. The vision in Boise calls for a new facility to be surrounded by mixed-use development–evoking SRP Park and the surrounding Riverside Village–while being used for multiple types of events in addition to baseball.
For right now, Agon’s efforts remain focused on moving the proposed $50 million facility– to be funded as part of a public-private partnership– forward and open it as soon as 2021. Plenty of works remains in bringing that plan to fruition, but the organization feels that the potential USL club is not only a major part of the proposed venue, but that it will become a team that thrives in the growing Boise region. More from the Idaho Statesman:
Adding a soccer team was part of the business plan for Agon in its quest for a new stadium for the Hawks, who have been trying to replace Memorial Stadium for years. The USL was the best soccer option, Eiseman said, and a better fit than Major League Lacrosse.
“It seemed like a natural fit for what we wanted to do,” he said, “and it would make a great tenant to a new sports park and be a tremendous addition to the Treasure Valley.
“… We’re not looking at this as a five-, 10-year thing. We’re looking at this as where the Treasure Valley is going.”
Should those plans move forward, Boise would be the latest entry in the well-established model of having MiLB and USL Championship teams play out of the same facility. Though this number will change in the coming years, there are nine shared USL Championship/MiLB facilities in 2019, including venues in Albuquerque, El Paso, Fresno, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Reno, Tacoma, and Tulsa.
The total capacity for the Boise venue would be 7,500 for USL. For more coverage of the proposed Boise facility, see sister site Ballpark Digest.
Image of USL action courtesy USL and Orange County SC.