2. Approval on an MLS Stadium
St. Louis has the opportunity to be awarded an MLS franchise in 2017, but a number of circumstances are going to have to play out favorably for a team to end up in the Gateway to the West. First of all, the ownership group that is hoping to lead the expansion efforts, SC STL, must come through on their plan to secure $40 million in tax credits from the state. That plan has become more complicated since Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens publicly denounced the stadium funding plan, calling it “welfare for millionaires” earlier this month.
Even if that situation gets worked out, St. Louis city voters must approve an $80 million public funding plan. That’s perhaps even less likely than the state allocating the tax credits to SC STL. If either of those funding plans fail—particularly the $80 million from the city—it’s very unlikely that an MLS team will come to St. Louis, which would be a major shame for fans in one of the USA’s oldest soccer hotbeds.
Whatever your position on public funding of stadiums or even on soccer, it’s impossible to deny that there’d be benefits to having a third major professional sports team in town. St. Louis is a devout soccer market that has gone way too long without having a chance to prove that it can support an MLS franchise, so hopefully all the stadium drama will be worked out and the soccer community will finally get a chance to have the team that it’s wanted for such a long time.