- Despite losing $1 billion in revenue this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Soccer is committed to continuing to rapidly expand the league and build new, soccer-only stadiums, Commissioner Don Garber said in a state of the league address.
- By 2023, MLS plans to field 30 teams — up from 26 this year — and 27 of those teams will play in their own stadium.
- Included in those plans are seven stadiums under construction for new and existing MLS teams, in Cincinnati; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Miami; St. Louis; Nashville, Tennessee; and Sacramento, California.
Despite challenges in finding space to build soccer-exclusive stadiums for teams like the New England Revolution — owned by Robert Kraft, who also owns the New England Patriots — Garber said the MLS is committed to construction of a new Revolution stadium, calling it a “priority.”
“As you know developing these stadiums in cities like New York City, Boston, Chicago is very, very difficult for all the reasons you would expect,” Garber said. “A lot of exciting things going on with [the Revolution], it was good to see them go as far as they did this year.”
Plans for new soccer stadiums often incorporate the surrounding area into a mixed-use development that creates a unique game day experience to compete with the comfort of watching from home. This can make them an attractive landmark for cities, but the stadium’s size can still be a challenge for major metro areas.
MLS expansion team St. Louis City SC, for example, recently released plans for public and retail space around its upcoming stadium as a means of keeping the Gateway Mall active when there is no soccer match. Earlier this month, the team unveiled plans for offices, a team store and a practice field south of the 22,500-seat stadium. Prep work on the stadium has been underway since February, and construction on the stadium will likely begin soon, officials say.
Amenities to attract fans also are inside new stadiums. Just this week, Nashville SC announced ticket sales for its 25 private suites and 18 lodge boxes, part of the team’s 30,000-seat stadium that is expected to debut in 2022.