Rhode Island Pro Soccer launches branding effort, hires first employee

Pawtucket Soccer Stadium rendering December 2019

Rhode Island Pro Soccer, the group building a new downtown Pawtucket stadium for a USL Championship team debuting in 2023, has launched construction, begun a branding exercise and hired its first employee.

Work began at the Tidewater Landing site began in January. The project, which is being developed by Fortuitous Partners and is expected to cost more than $284 million, will take place on six parcels on both sides of the Seekonk River consisting of two sites (25 acres). The Tidewater site and the Division Street site and will be developed across two phases. The project will support more than 2,000 direct and indirect construction jobs and 940 direct and indirect ongoing jobs. 

The initial phase (Phase 1) will consist of a mixed-use development of 435 residential units with a 150-space garage, 60,000 square feet of commercial space, 56,750 square feet of retail and restaurant space along with the stadium and its accompanying 750-space parking garage. The stadium will contain a minimum of 7,500 seats and may be designed to accommodate up to 11,000 seats. Phase 1 will also involve infrastructure and public space improvements such as utility and stormwater improvements, roadway and streetscape improvements, off-site infrastructure improvements, surface parking, public plaza spaces, and the development of 4,000+ linear feet of riverwalk and pedestrian bridge. Phase 2 will likely consist of an indoor entertainment and event venue, as well as a hotel. 

Hired to oversee all stadium operations: Paul Byrne, the Stadium General Manager and the first employee of Rhode Island Pro Soccer and Tidewater Landing Stadium. Byrne comes from the Washington Commanders (NFL) where he last served as the Vice President of Operations. Byrne has had a 22-year career in sports with 19 years in Major League Soccer between the NY/NJ MetroStars and the Houston Dynamo. Byrne was with the MetroStars from 2001-2006 where he served as the Director of Operations, and he was with the Houston Dynamo and BBVA Compass Stadium from 2006 to 2017 where he was the Vice President of Operations.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Paul on board as our Stadium GM,” said Brett Johnson, Chairman of the Rhode Island Soccer Professional Soccer Club, via press statement. “To have an individual with Paul’s experience and expertise is an exciting development for us. We are looking to build the premier sports and entertainment destination in Rhode Island and having quality professionals like Paul on our team is critical.”

“I am excited to be joining Fortuitous Partners and Tidewater Stadium in bringing professional soccer to Rhode Island.” Byrne said via press statement. “I look forward to working alongside ownership to create a welcoming space for sports, community gatherings, and events at Tidewater Landing.”

The club launched its social media platform on January 14 (FacebookTwitter and Instagram), went live with its website on January 21, and launched a branding campaign to engage Rhode Islanders in the process of creating the team’s identity.

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