The owners of Major League Soccer (MLS) hopeful Sacramento (CA) Republic FC have begun site work on a privately financed, $245 million soccer stadium with a 20,000-seat capacity, according to the MLS.
Republic FC hopes the move will demonstrate its commitment to securing one of the league's four available expansion slots. Eleven other cities have also applied for a franchise.
If the team gets the bid, construction on the privately-financed stadium will likely begin in spring 2018, The Sacramento Bee reported.
An MLS stadium and franchise could generate $1.24 billion for the regional economy over a 30-year period, according to a 2015 study commissioned by the Sacramento Public Policy Foundation. This includes projections of $2.2 million in taxes and $15.3 million in visitor spending as well as increased development around the stadium.
The $150 million venue being discussed at the time was expected to create more than 1,700 construction jobs and up to 220 permanent positions. Estimates for total stadium costs have grown since then.
As soccer gains in popularity in the U.S., more developers are seeing the game as a potential opportunity and so are investing in stadiums all over the country. Unlike Sacramento, however, some would-be MLS clubs don’t have the luxury of a land deal in-hand.
Soccer star David Beckham's group, for example, has not been able to finalize the site purchase necessary to start construction on the $300 million stadium it wants to build in Miami. After a lengthy property search, Beckham decided on a county-owned parcel. A wealthy local activist and property owner then filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the $9 million, no-bid sale on the grounds that the county did not meet its legal obligations and that the stadium itself would lower property values and quality of life in the area.
In Detroit, billionaire and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert is gaining traction with Wayne County, MI, officials in his attempt to build a $1 billion soccer stadium complex downtown. The county has been struggling for several years to build a jail on a site that Gilbert wants to use for the new stadium.
In response, Gilbert made an offer that would see a bigger, better criminal justice complex built not too far away in exchange for the land where the new county jail is currently under construction — all at no extra cost to the county. Gilbert submitted a proposal at the end of June, as did the current contractor who proposed continuing on with the existing jail plan. County officials are leaning toward Gilbert's plan, according to the Detroit Free Press.