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Soccer stadium in Tampa? Don’t hold your breath

Nov 30, 2012, 9:48 AM EST

Tampa

CARSON, Calif. – I tried hard last night to find a person remotely connected with MLS who would add even a spoonful of credible weight to the Tampa stadium story that we told you about yesterday.

I had expressed skepticism that it would happen, and even more that a Major League Soccer franchise would ever develop out of it.

Turns out, I wasn’t skeptical enough.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati had not even heard of the project.

MLS vice president for communications Dan Courtemanche said commissioner Don Garber heard about it the same time as the rest of us – when news stories began appearing.

That doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t serious players with serious money to spend. It just means they aren’t moving in the right kind of circles here, and that doesn’t portent well for their chances of completing the MLS circle here.

Best guess: this $400 million, 28,000-seat project goes the way of similar stadium proposals that come and go periodically: they hit the water with a substantial news splash, but then just drift harmlessly out to sea, never to be heard from again.

  1. wesbadia - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Not surprising. And I also wouldn’t be surprised if the news from Pittsburgh about their new stadium aiding them in securing MLS in the future went unawares to MLS folks, too.

    Sometimes I think that the hopes and dreams that are admitted to publicly (like these) are taken so far to the extreme by media and its consumers that it loses the actual focus of the hope and dream. Saying “Yeah, we’d love to have a top flight team play here, and we’d like to make that our goal one day”, and having it taken as “We’re going to get to MLS one way or another… FAST!” has to be frustrating. Not saying the folks in Tampa aren’t saying the latter, but some discretion has to be applied to the meaning of what’s being said. There’s no doubt that the guys in Pittsburgh are setting sites on MLS (who wouldn’t?), but I DO doubt that it equates to many, if not any, of them actually actively pursuing it.

  2. knowyrproduct - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    While this is obviously in the very early stages, writing it off as another Las Vegas pie-in-the-sky fantasy is a little premature. This group is already fielding a team in USL PRO in 2013 and has plans to house that stadium in an 8,000 seater (a la Empire Field). They’re sitting down with local government officials, guys more immediately important to their plans, on December 11th. I’m sure if that goes well then Garber and Courtemanche will hear about it. No point calling The Don first before they’ve gotten things sorted out with the powers that be in Tampa Bay.

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