Jacksonville Sports Day

Miami Leads List of Seven Pro Soccer Stadiums Underway Across the US

In the National Football League, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas have been partly financed by public dollars. By offering to help foot the bill for new, state-of-the-art facilities, these cities poured millions of dollars into construction projects to attract the teams.

In Major League Soccer, however, burgeoning support for the sport has led to franchises building and paying for their own stadiums, according to the New York Times. Seven soccer stadiums are in the works for existing franchises and expansion teams. The league plans to grow to 30 teams in 2022, up from 26, including the addition of the Sacramento Republic F.C., which is currently a member of the USL Championship league.

MLS players gathered this month near Orlando, Florida, for a league tournament that will mark the end of the league suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic that began in mid-March. The “MLS is Back Tournament” will run through August 11.

As the action on the field heats up, here is a closer look at each of the seven new MLS stadiums, all of which could be finished in the next few years:

Miami Freedom Park
Capacity: 25,000
Construction start: TBD
Predicted opening: 2022
Inter Miami C.F., another expansion team new to the MLS, is using private financing to construct both a $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as its future stadium in Miami. The first stadium will be converted to a training center once the more elaborate stadium is finished.
The larger stadium will be part of a $1 billion sports-focused development, including a hotel and residential area spread over 131 acres, leased by the city to the team. Negotiations on the development are ongoing. David Beckham, one of the most famous soccer players in the world, is a co-owner of Inter Miami.

West End Stadium
Capacity: 26,000
Construction start: 2018
Predicted opening: 2021
F.C. Cincinnati only has one season of play in the MLS under its belt (in 2019), but construction on the West End Stadium, named for its location in the city, has been going on since 2018. The stadium, valued at $250 million, received $35 million from the city for infrastructure and support for surrounding neighborhoods.

The 550,000-square-foot stadium includes measures to help keep fans safe from coronavirus including restrooms with touch-free faucets and reduced-capacity seating during the first season.

Austin F.C. Stadium
Capacity 20,500
Construction start: 2019
Predicted opening: 2021
Unlike Cincinnati, Austin F.C., the Texas city’s first professional, major-league sport franchise has not yet played in a season, and 2021 is expected to be the first year it competes.

Last September, the owners of Austin F.C. agreed to begin construction of the $260 million stadium on 24 acres of vacant, city-owned land. The venue’s construction will be paid with private funds but the finished stadium will be owned by the city of Austin. Revenue from games will go to the team, and the club will pay $550,000 to the city as an annual lease. Additionally, the team is constructing a $45 million training center five miles from the stadium.

Columbus Crew Stadium
Capacity: 20,000
Construction start: 2019
Predicted opening: 2021
Columbus Crew S.C., one of the most successful franchises in the MLS, is constructing a new $300 million, 20,000-seat stadium in the city’s Arena District next year. The sports- and entertainment-focused neighborhood also has a National Hockey League arena and minor league baseball stadium.

The organization raised private financing for the yet-to-be named new stadium, and will convert its previous location, Mapfire Stadium, into a training center.

St. Louis MLS Stadium
Capacity: 22,500
Construction start: TBD
Predicted opening: 2022
St. Louis’ MLS team does not yet have a name, nor does its future stadium. However, this year, owners are shelling out up to $400 million in private funding to build a downtown soccer-only stadium for the franchise a handful of blocks away from the iconic Gateway Arch.

Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium
Capacity: 27,500
Construction start: TBD
Predicted opening: 2022
Nashville SC, which would be using Nissan Stadium as its home turf if the season hadn’t been called off, has had some setbacks with construction of its new stadium. Allegations of unfair bidding practices interfered with construction beginning on the $275 million stadium.

In late June, a judge ruled that the joint venture contract with Mortenson and Messer Construction Co. was void due to a failure to notify the public. Mortenson and Messer can still build the project, according to the ruling, but the organization must redo the meeting to inform the public about construction.

Railyards Stadium
Capacity: 20,100
Construction start: TBD
Predicted opening: 2022
Sacramento Republic F.C. has played in the USLC since 2014, though the team will move to the MLS in 2022. It will soon build build its own stadium and develop the area surrounding the Sacramento Railyards. The long-abandoned space will be converted into 240 acres of entertainment locales, including the stadium, which will likely cost around $226 million. Initial approvals from the city of Sacramento have begun.

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