St. Louis’s Major League Soccer hopes got a great big shot in the arm this week with the announcement Enterprise’s Taylor family would head a new privately funded stadium proposal hopefully leading to an expansion team.
The Taylor’s have deservedly been christened ‘Lords of the STL Soccer Realm’ by local fans since the announcement, especially due to that whole ‘privately funded’ part of the deal. Saint Louis FC and World Wide Technologies CEO Jim Kavanaugh is another large part of the #MLS4TheLou equation, and also helped spearhead the doomed ‘MLS2STL’ effort voted down last year.
With the Taylor and Kavanaugh families taking the lead it would appear there isn’t much standing in the way of this happening, right? With St. Louis and Missouri officials including Gov. Mike Parson seemingly helping the process, it sounds like other towns vying for expansion are what stand in the way now.
MLS has made it clear they’d like a spot among St. Louis’s rich soccer history, but cities like San Diego, Charlotte, Sacramento, Detroit and Las Vegas have had their names thrown about for expansion as well, with two spots to be filled.
Does the league see #MLS4TheLou? Kavanaugh recently joined ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show’ in-studio to discuss where things currently are.
“We’re very, very optimistic that we’re going to make this happen,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s a different view than we had last time. Last time we didn’t have the support of the governor. Last time we didn’t have the support of all the political leaders. It was a different proposition we were proposing to the city.”
Kavanaugh pointed out there are still plenty of local hoops to jump through such as land conveyance and working out a tax structure with the city, but seemed optimistic his group’s plan has turned MLS heads and compared St. Louis to Nashville, whose franchise will begin play in 2020.
“Nashville is a very different city and town than it was 20 years ago and they are incredibly progressive and they came out of nowhere and put together a very strong leadership team,” he said. “Business, ownership, the investor team and political leaders all got together, and out of nowhere they were approved with a franchise.
“Not self-promoting the investor-owner group, but I believe we have an incredibly strong investor-owner group that MLS feels very, very, very high on. We just need to finish out these other pieces and I think we can come from literally out of nowhere and get this done.”
You can hear all of Kavanaugh’s 101 ESPN chat below. Stay connected with us for plenty on this situation as it develops.