St. Louis voters reject public funding for soccer stadium

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In the latest example of the public mood when it comes to using taxpayer money for sports teams, St. Louis voters rejected on Tuesday a proposal to spend $60 million in public fund on a stadium for a Major League Soccer franchise.

The good news, sort of, is that the vote was fairly close, with “no” securing 53 percent and “yes” getting 47. Still, as explained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this likely means that St. Louis won’t be getting an MLS expansion franchise.

Public money is hard to come by for professional sports venues, especially when a public vote is involved. In Las Vegas, $750 million in free money for a Raiders stadium came from legislative action. Other NFL teams that have secured public money in recent years have done so without a vote; in those places where votes were needed, the effort typically has failed.

Before the Rams left for L.A., where the team eventually will play in a privately-financed stadium, the powers-that-be in St. Louis put together a package that wouldn’t have required an election.

As the NFL’s current collection of stadiums moves toward their inevitable expiration dates, the absence of public money could make more relocations likely — especially if cities that currently don’t have teams are willing to come up with hundreds of millions to make it happen.

26 responses to “St. Louis voters reject public funding for soccer stadium

  1. Why is it good news that the vote was close?

    It’s stupid to spend public money on these things. MLS should pay 100% for the stadium if it wants to put one in St. Louis.

  2. I can tell you that “YES” spent millions on local TV ads ( that ran every few minutes on cable ) and they still lost by thousands of votes to “NO” ( who spent nothing )

  3. Oh, and I still can’t figure out how the Board of Aldermen was somehow able to approve $450 million for the Rams ( never-to-be-built ) stadium, but then had to put this $60 million stadium up for public vote?

  4. I don’t get why people trash taxpayers for not wanting to foot the bill. Fans watch the games (either in person or on TV) and the buy merchandise. What more should they have to pay for?

  5. There are so many ways a city can spend $750,000,000 that would greatly benefit the city much more than financing a billionaires stadium would. The NFL should be ashamed for even asking but I guess you have to consider the (lack of) leadership.

  6. If a billionaire wants me, the taxpayer, to help build a stadium that he wants, at least allow me to pick out my seat for the rest of my life. Regular season, playoffs, Super Bowls, concerts, Billy Graham crusades, rodeos, big-truck Bubba performances…you owe me and everyone else who ”contributes.”

  7. The real money comes from the TV contracts. The LA Colissem was built in the 1930’s and they still play big time games with USC. The stadium still works and doesn’t need to be replaced to play games on that field. TV reception is fantastic. Nothing wrong with the other stadiums either. Oakland might be the true exception and really does need a new stadium.

  8. Why can’t it just be that St. Louis doesn’t want a soccer team? Without debating the right or wrong, soccer is not as popular of an american sport as football is. If they couldn’t save the football team, it’s absurd to think they’d want a soccer team.

    Therefor it’s inaccurate to state that based on the soccer results public funding for a football stadium is now more difficult to obtain. Public funding, right or wrong, still has a better chance in football than it does in soccer…

  9. bos8888 says:
    Apr 5, 2017 7:13 PM
    I don’t get why people trash taxpayers for not wanting to foot the bill. Fans watch the games (either in person or on TV) and the buy merchandise. What more should they have to pay for?


    I don’t get it either. I think it is stupid for cities/counties/states to pay for them. But I also don’t blame the owners for going to the place that will give them the money.
    It’s just like free agency. I don’t think any player, regardless of position, is worth $20 million per year. But I also don’t blame the player for taking $20 million per year if someone is offering it.

  10. With stadium subsidies, how often do we hear of a deal that allows the city to share in revenue? Not for privately owned team contests but the events that are hosted by the stadium partially funded by the public, concerts and the like.

  11. The NFL actually draws a consistently high number of fans to attend.

    MLS doesn’t.

    Only 1 city averages over 40,000 attendance per game – Seattle.

    One other city averages over 30,000 – Orlando.

    Eight average in the 20’s – NY, Toronto, LA, Vancouver, Portland, Montreal, NY (second team) and Nebraska.

    The rest are in the teens and the average league wide is only 21,000+ per game.

    There is no need to build new stadiums for soccer – there are plenty of venues everywhere that will accommodate the limited number of fans that will actually pay money to watch this sport.

    MLS’s two top teams in attendance play in existing stadiums – Seattle plays in Century Link Field (Seattle Seahawk stadium) and Orlando plays in the Citrus Bowl stadium.

  12. I remember the last time we argued about the Rams leaving St Louis…some guy swore they’d have another NFL team for the 2016 season. Well, the echo of the whistle on that possibility is long dead.

    This is really very simple and requires no histrionics. If a city doesn’t want to share in the cost of building a stadium, then they shouldn’t expect any owner to want to bring a team there, be it soccer, football or competitive crossword puzzles. I think they’d be better served pouring the money into their schools, frankly…they’ve shown an amazing capacity for stupidity that points out the dearth in education there.

  13. I also wish they would just use the Dome.

    Seems like a no brainer to me.

    Several other MLS teams have played in football stadiums, or in domes, or on turf.

    Vancouver still does, all of the above!

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