Why not St. Louis

Discussion in 'MLS: Expansion' started by gosya, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. gosya

    gosya Member

    Feb 6, 2001
    New York
    St Louis is always mentioned as one of original soccer hotbeds in United States. I think quite a few players came out of there, including Brian McBride. So, why is St Louis never mentioned as a potential MLS expansion candidate? I don't think they even have an A-League team.

    Besides, St Louis is just a great sports town, in all sports. On top of it, you would be getting great rivalry w/ Kansas City and Chicago. I understand the stadium and ownership issues - no doubt they are key. But if you could just start a league today and assume anything is possible (stadium ownership, etc), wouldn't St Louis easily be in you top 10 list?

    For example, Philly (another great sports town) didn't have a stadium unti recently, or a willing owner, but it's always been mentioned a lot more than St Louis as a potential expansion site. Can someone please explain the disparity?
  2. MLS3

    MLS3 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Pac NW
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Come on people, Stadium and Owner, cities can't be mentioned unless they have 1 or the other or both...
  3. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    i might switch allegiances for a st. louis team... but without an owner or stadium....

    there's nothing to talk about
  4. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    Looking at a map and history, I agree that St. Louis is a natural candidate for expansion, but until they have a place to play, and an owner to pay, it's not going to happen.
  5. metros11

    metros11 Member

    Sep 11, 1999
    Highlands of NJ
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They don't even have a huge empty cave capable of housing an MLS team. That stadium Rams play in is turf, and obviously the baseball stadium is out of the question.

    St. Louis would be perfect for soccer if Anheiser Busch decided to bring expansion there and build an SSS. But for now, they are not a viable option for expansion.
  6. house18

    house18 Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    AB doesn't really want MLS in St. Louis. We (I just moved from STL in July, but am a native) have a complex that used to be called "The Soccer Park" it has two turf fields, one "stadium field (5 or 6k)" and I believe three grass fields. When AB bought it and named it the AB Conference center they put soccer down the priority list. Sure it is used for HS games and club and the occasional NT game, but AB stuff comes first. I remember playing a C-USA tourney game on the turf because it had rained too much for us to play on the grass (which drains very well) but Auggie had his helicopter on the stadium field all day! SLU (where McBride went but is from Arlington Heights, IL) has a nice facility (8,000 I think) but won't expand (they have the room) because they don't want the hastle (this is direct from the athletic department) and don't think they would make any money off of an MLS team. Apparently the parking (100%), concession (probably at least 50%) and rent aren't good enough for them. The only other current place is called Sportport, but it is not run well. The owner had a PDL team for a year and I needed to do an intership, so I called him and he said they had no need! (for someone with experience and willing to work for free) By the way almost knowbody knew they existed! Unfortunately the wrong people have all the power in St. Louis soccer, because an MLS team would do very well there!
  7. McGinty

    McGinty Member

    Aug 29, 2001
    Sporting Kansas City
    If AB didn't want to own the Cardinals, they don't want MLS. I grew up close to St. Louis and the Soccer Park used to host so many USMNT games its not even funny. Decent facility, but only holds about 3,000. Even then, parking is a problem. The only way that could host MLS is if all of the other fields were cleared away. Then you have to deal with the fact that its right on the Merremac River so flooding is always an issue.

    House18 is right that SLU Stadium could be expanded into an MLS facility though if they could find a place to put all of the cars.
  8. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    But I agree with your point...

    St. Louis would be a great place for a team. IMHO it's too bad that some of the great potential cities (Seattle, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Houston, etc.) can't find someone with the financial cajones to get them a team. Rochester, San Diego, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City might be great cities but, to be honest, they're not the best possible choices. That said, I'm pretty happy that Garber and his friends are being conservative and requiring an I/O and good stadium deal for expansion. In the great long-term future, I'm sure that there will be MLS teams in a lot more cities.
  9. Elder Statesman

    Mar 29, 2002
    Central Park South,
    If there's any city where there's space to build a new stadium it is St. Louis. I was in St. Louis recently for two weeks. Half the city is abandoned buildings. Builders are offering condos for sale that come with a 10 year tax abatement. So if they wanted to build a stadium, getting the land would not be a problem.
  10. Femfa

    Femfa New Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Can't believe a beer company wouldn't welcome a bunch of us crazy MLS soccer hooligans!
  11. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    ever since auggie busch jr. died AB has lost a lot of its local heart and savvy
  12. TomEaton

    TomEaton Member

    Mar 5, 2000
    Champaign, IL
    I was at SLU's stadium earlier this year. There is plenty of space to expand for a larger stadium, plus parking, and it is only about two blocks from the interstate. However, the SLU campus is (appropriately enough) urban, and even for the SLU game I went to, traffic backed up. To modify things for MLS they would have to do extensive work making access easier off the interstate, or traffic would back up for miles on Interstate 44. In suburban locations that kind of problem is easier to fix, but in the city I don't know how feasible it would be.

    Mainly, though, I just don't think SLU is interested in letting MLS in. The stadium is right smack dab in the middle of things there, and I think they like being able to do what they want, when they want, with that site.
  13. caputobd

    caputobd New Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Every once in awhile someone brings up STL. You may have seen me mention this before, I actually did my marketing thesis on this very concept and it works....minus the I/O. AB wants nothing to do with it unforunately, and AB owns the whole damned city. If someone else with loads of cash wants to step up, I'll head the explansion efforts... :)

    Stadium could be in one of four places:
    1. SLU stadium is capable of expansion. Problems are that SLU doesn't want it and parking would be a mess, as mentioned previously.
    2. The Chesterfield area has TONS of undeveloped land out by the Blues training facility. Problem, not near the city and kind of swampish.
    3. It appears the Cardinals might be getting a new stadium, depending on where it goes, there might be available land either in East STL or at Busch Stadium site.
    4. As mentioned, there are plenty of abandoned building downtown that could be bought up and demolished.

    Note: the soccerplex in south county is impossible. Would be a perfect site for a training facility/office complex, but not for a stadium.
  14. gosya

    gosya Member

    Feb 6, 2001
    New York
    I guess a follow-up question would be - is it still true about St Louis being a soccer hotbed. As in, if the owner is found and the stadium is built, is there interest in the sport amongst the local community, as the legends would have it?
  15. caputobd

    caputobd New Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    from my research, I have gathered that the answer would be yes, and no.

    Yes, St. Louis is very much a soccer hot-bed. Plenty of our nations top soccer players have come from this area, SLU is consistently among the top NCAA teams in the nation and the youth teams in this area are very successful on the national level.

    However, St. Louis will always be a baseball town first in the summer. My contention is that at this time, St. Louis could support no greater than an A-League side.

    For reasons similar to this, I hope that Rochester and Seattle "set the trend" for some sort of promotion system in the US. Prove that you can support A-League, prove that there is potential for greater things, find an I/O and SSS and then we'll welcome you to the big league.
  16. Mr. Knowledge

    Mr. Knowledge New Member

    May 10, 2001
    Gosya was conceeding that point.

    Does a city have to have one or both for MLS to look there, or is it upon MLS looking there that a particular city may then have either a potential owner or stadium turn up?

    The answer is probably both. There really hasn't been either in Philadelphia, but that hasn't stopped MLS looking to see if the prerequisites emerge (thus Philadephia is a mentioned city in terms of expansion, unlike St.Louis). It was MLS looking at Philly, rather than Philly approaching MLS (contrast that with say OK who approached MLS). My point is, you say "a city can't be mentioned unless they have 1 or the other or both", Philly didn't really have either but MLS made it clear they have aspirations to go into Philly and thus a 'possible' owner emerged in Laurie. The same could be said for Houston.

    Acknowledging this fact, I believe Goysa's comment as to why St. Louis hasn't been mentioned as an expansion city suggests his curiosity in why MLS has not expressed (apparant or implied) any aspirations to go into a city with such a great soccer history from the youth to the prolevel and over all a great sports town in a good size market. If MLS did or does express such an interest, it is quite possible that a potential owner or stadium would then emerge.
  17. SamPierron

    SamPierron BigSoccer Supporter

    Nov 30, 1998
    Kansas City
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, they did. St. Louis was one of the 30 or so cities where MLS first looked for interest (Note: the only reason Columbus has a team is because it was the city that showed strongest in these initial trial balloons).

    Bill McDermott and Ty Keough (so, not the two least-connected people in the soccer world) have wanted this for years. Dan Flynn lives in St. Louis. If it were at all a possibility, I think it'd happen. It just isn't right now. An A-League team at SLU is the best possibility for pro soccer in St. Louis for the next 10 years. Anybody have $2 million?
  18. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    I can't wait for the new I-70 Cup between St Louis, Kansas City and Denver.
  19. caputobd

    caputobd New Member

    Aug 10, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Exactly, an A-League team would be the first step unless an I/O ponies up and drops his wad.

    Don't forget that I-70 rolls through Columbus too!

    It does seem odd that MLS hasn't expressed greater interest here considering the history/market. I suppose eventualy it could happen, but I like the slow and steady pace the league is growing at now. Let's not put the cart before the horse.
  20. plissken666

    plissken666 New Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    A league is the way to go.the 3000 seat stadium in st louis could probably be expanded to 5-6000.build a fan base over a few years and walk into mls witha bit of a season ticket base.

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