Sacramento MLS Incentive Package Approved

Sacramento Republic FC stadium rendering April 2019

The Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday to approve a $33 million incentive package for a proposed MLS stadium, a decision that could boost the city’s odds of landing an expansion team.

Sacramento is one of two front runners for MLS’s 28th team, joining St. Louis in the competitive race. The bid in Sacramento has a few intriguing elements, including the presence of billionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle as a lead investor, plans for a new stadium as part of a larger downtown development, and years of success for Sacramento Republic FC in Division II USL Championship.

The stadium plan calls for the club’s investor group to privately finance the $252 million stadium–in addition to owning and operating it–while buying 31 acres at the downtown railyards site for the stadium and surrounding development. To help push the plan forward, Sacramento officials had proposed a $33 million incentive package that includes includes fee waivers, tax rebates, infrastructure financing, and more. 

That Sacramento MLS incentive package was approved by the city council in a 7-0 vote on Tuesday. While there is still no final decision on the 28th team, MLS expressed pleasure with the city council’s vote in a statement and indicated that discussions with Burkle and the Sacramento group will continue. More from the Sacramento Bee:

In an 11th-hour move to improve its chances of being chosen, Sacramento tossed a $33 million deal-sweetener into the mix: The Sacramento City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to approve an incentive package to help a local investment group build streets and other infrastructure around a privately financed $252 million soccer stadium in the downtown railyard.

The league released a statement immediately after the council’s vote applauding the deal.

“Major League Soccer is pleased the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the preliminary term sheet for construction of a new soccer stadium at the Railyards site should Sacramento be awarded an MLS expansion club.

”We look forward to continuing our discussions with Ron Burkle and his partners regarding possible MLS expansion in Sacramento.”

The MLS Board of Governors is meeting next week in Los Angeles, but there is no word on when future expansion plans will be announced by the league. In Sacramento and St. Louis, MLS has two intriguing choices in the mix. St. Louis backers are proposing a new downtown soccer-specific stadium near Union Station and are working to build corporate support for their bid, while Sacramento–which has been an intriguing expansion candidate for years–checked a major item off its to-do list with January’s announcement of Burkle as a lead investor.

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