New Mexico United would pay $10 million toward construction costs of a new Albuquerque stadium and $900,000 annually in rent and fees, per the terms of a “letter of intent to lease” released yesterday.
Under the broad terms of the initial agreement–a formal lease is still in the works, but this letter is considered to be legally binding–the team will pay $10 million toward the cost of a new downtown stadium estimated to cost between $65 million and $70 million. The city has put a bonding question on the November ballot; though it’s technically nonbinding, Mayor Tim Keller says the city will follow the dictates of the voters.
The annual base rent for the USL Championship stadium will be $800,000, with $100,000 more set in additional fees. New Mexico United will receive all the revenues generated by the venue, except for 15 dates set aside for city events. Service on the bonds would be $3 million annually, with the base rent dedicated to that payout, per the Albuquerque Journal:
According to the letter, United will negotiate at least a 25-year lease with the city for the venue, carry out a “community benefits agreement” with the neighborhood where the stadium is built, “endeavor” to use local vendors for stadium concessions and try to bring in a women’s professional soccer team in the next three years.
The letter stipulates that the city, which would own the venue, will get exclusive use of it for 15 days per year and not be responsible for day-to-day operating costs.
Except for city-organized events, all stadium revenue – including potential naming rights sponsorships, other advertising and parking – would go to United, but the terms require the team to pay at least $100,000 in addition to the base rent.
Those events under team control may include an NWSL or USL Super League team, according to team owner Peter Trevisani:
“I haven’t been shy about saying that, aspirationally, we want to have a professional women’s team,” Trevisani said. “And now, we have it in writing that we’re committed to doing that within three years of having this facility built.”
It would be the first women’s professional team in Albuquerque and believed to be the first women’s professional sports team in the market since a brief three-game season in 1980 for a women’s basketball team that played about a week before its league folded.
“Those are important commitments, and commitments that will again ensure that we continue to use the facility and bring a cross section of sports in the facility for both women’s sports and men’s sports,” said Lawrence Rael, the city’s Chief Operating Officer.
Right now NWSL is at eight teams, with two more (Los Angeles and San Diego) set for 2022. NWSL expansion has been a topic of interest in the soccer world; we’ve heard rumors of some very interesting potential ownership groups looking to bring NWSL into some interesting markets and venues.
Renderings courtesy New Mexico United.
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