Monday, October 22, 2007

MLS Expansion – Philadelphia bid gets $30m boost

The Sons of Ben are a little closer to having a team to cheer on as 'Delaware County has agreed to spend $30 million for the construction of a soccer stadium on the Chester waterfront, bringing a Major League Soccer franchise closer to the Philadelphia region.'

And whom do soccer fans in the area have to thank for this money? The gambling industry. "(T)he $30 million would come from revenue generated by the new slots casino in Chester." So could a new Philadelphia team be called Philadelphia Slot Jockeys?

In addition, the Chester Redevelopment Authority will donate part of the land for a stadium.

Now that the expansion group as the backing of the locals, they are hoping that the state government will join in.

"This is the county piece, and we are still pursuing the state piece," said Charles G. Kopp, an attorney for the investors group. State aid is crucial to the plan.

In total, the cost for bringing a team to the area will be around $150 million. The investors seem willing to place some of their own money on the table, but I'm guessing they would like a $20-40 assist from the state. Pennsylvania governor and former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell has said that he is in favor of the idea but no money has been yet promised.

So where does Philadelphia stand on the expansion order? Seattle seems to be all but a lock and with commissioner Don Garber suggesting that the team to come into the league with Seattle will be from the East coast, it would seem Philadelphia is very close. Still, the St. Louis stadium proposal still seems a little further along, but with Gerber also suggesting that 2 more teams could come into the league as soon as 2011-2012 (he said this on ESPN last Thursday), maybe he is willing to wait on the team from the Midwest.

If the league hopes to annouce the two new sides by MLS Cup, the next three weeks should be very interesting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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