Politicians push the bid over the finish line.
It appears that Cincinnati will be getting a Major League Soccer team this week or perhaps more importantly the local soccer team that is presently operating, FC Cincinnati is being called up to the big league. FC Cincinnati joining Major League Soccer was at best a messy affair that involved more political will than raising money to buy an MLS franchise and building a stadium. Local residents didn’t want a stadium in their backyard and it was strictly political will and the wiliness to spend some public money for stadium development that eventually got done and allowed FC Cincinnati to move up in the soccer world. FC Cincinnati fields a team in the lower level USL.
FC Cincinnati ownership is paying about $150 million to enter Major League Soccer. That was the easy part. Ownership is also claiming that it will build a stadium without public money and that appears to be a $200 million investment. Because of political dealing FC Cincinnati is giving the local school district $25 million. The soccer stadium will be built on the property that now houses a high school football stadium which means a new high school football field has to be built. It may be true that no public money is directly going into the stadium but the city of Cincinnati is kicking in $36 million for stadium infrastructure and cash strapped Hamilton County continues to be in the stadium business by throwing $15 million into building a parking garage. Hamilton County has had problems paying down the debt of the Cincinnati Reds baseball park and the Cincinnati Bengals football stadium. FC Cincinnati has cut a deal and won’t be paying full value of the stadium’s property taxes. Just part of the wheeling and dealing. Major League Soccer has now found two local governments that were willing to pony up money to help build soccer plants, Nashville and Cincinnati.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber is expected to be in Cincinnati on Tuesday for an announcement.