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Morning Ticker: Houston hopeful for stadium, Robinho urged to stay and more

Brian Ching 2 (Getty Images) 


The Houston Dynamo will be one of seven clubs without a soccer-specific stadium for the 2010 MLS season, but the club is hoping it can at least agree in principle to starting such a stadium soon.

Dynamo officials are continuing their efforts to push for a new stadium, stating that a soccer-friendly stadium would benefit the club exponentially.

“There’s two things,” Dynamo president Oliver Luck told the Houston Chronicle. “We’re not able to deliver the type of experience for the fan that other MLS teams can deliver, nor are we able to deliver the experience the Houston fans have become accustomed to with Reliant Stadium, Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center. And there’s no question that financially, the upside of operating a stadium will help us be competitive with other MLS teams."

The club faces an up-hill battle, however, as the Chronicle reported last month that registered voters were not in favor of having the city fund part of the estimated $80 million for the stadium in a poll done by local Rice University.

Here are some more stories to help get your day started:

Mancini urges Robinho to stay

When Robinho made the jump from Real Madrid to Manchester City for a record English fee, the Brazilian was expected to be the star that would catapult the club from mediocrity to stardom. Robinho's time with City has not gone as expected, leaving him wanting a move away from the club, but day-old manager Roberto Mancini is hoping to change that.

After being linked with Barcelona for weeks now, Robinho saw his potential transfer to the Spanish giants fall through on Monday after a fee could not be agreed upon. But the want-away striker is a wanted man by Mancini, who has eyed a top four finish for Citizens this campaign and an EPL championship in the next.

Mancini has told Robinho to stay with the club, stating that Robinho should stick around to make history for City as he did with Sampdoria during his playing days.

Robinho, who has not scored in his six appearances this season, will need to make a decision soon, as the winter transfer window draws near.

Jeremiah White cuts contract with AGF Aarhus

Jeremiah White and AGF Aarhus agreed to terminating White's contract on Monday, roughly six months before it expired. Now a free agent, White said he expects to be with a new club soon, and that he has a few offers on the table. The left-footed winger played in 93 games and scored seven goals for Aarhus since joining the club in January 2007.

Heavy machinery arrives at KC stadium site

Heavy machinery arrived at the future site of Kansas City's soccer-specific stadium on Monday, providing Wizards' fans with another reason to smile during this holiday season. Dirt work is set to begin in the new term, and Wizards fans are being encouraged to track the progress of the stadium by submitting photos.


Think Houston will land the stadium soon? Do you see Robinho staying with Manchester City? Where do you see White ending up? Are you a Kansas City fan hoping to get a new camera for Christmas to document the stadium's progress?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t follow the MLS tbh, but this is what I thought when I read this headline: what?? I thought the purported reason they left SJ was because of the stadium issue!?

    I have to think MLS is run by a bunch of morons on the evidence.

    It’s dumb to have the team in San Jose instead of San Francisco. Way too non-central for a bay area team. I’ll almost certainly never go to a game for my “local” team.

  2. While Red Bull Park is not in NY it’s only 30 minutes from Manhattan via train and alot of people travel that long for work. In addition Newark-Penn Station (300,000 people) is a 15 minute walk from the stadium.

  3. What’s the deal in DC? How about the little fact that lands is about 10x more expensive and infinitely more difficult to come by in the District than it is in Kansas City…

  4. I agree that the long term will tell the story but I think barring a complete economic meltdown in the NW, you will see very high attendance in years 2 and 3.

    Season tickets are being CAPPED at 30,000 and are almost sold out so that’s guaranteed 450,000 tickets sold for 2010. In 2011, Portland and Vancouver enter MLS which will benefit the entire NW.

    2012 and beyond is likely when we’ll start to really learn if Seattle is hanging in for the longterm. I suspect we will but you never know.

    One big factor is ticket prices for original STH. Those who bought Full Season tickets (about 22,000) in year one got a guaranteed price freeze through 2011. Meanwhile, new STH for 2010 had to pay about a 30% increase for the same seats. By 2012, those of us paying $1,000 for a pair of seats now might have to pony up $1500-1700 for those same seats. That MIGHT have an impact depending on the state of the economy and team.

  5. The Dynamo dont need the city to put up any money so the poll doesnt mean anything. The City already bought and put up the land for the stadium + 10 million in TIRZ (not city funds). What the Dynamo are waiting on is one of two County commissioners to see the light.

  6. I detect some hubris in Charles’s posting. The Sounders fans are justifiably proud of the attendance at each game, the passion, the traditions, everything. It makes the rest of us envious. BUT, every new team had a great following when they started playing. The test is year 3 or 4 when your team isn’t necessarily a top flight team. If the Sounders are still drawing 30,000+ with Drew Carey at the head of the parade, then fantastic, but don’t get too carried away just yet.

  7. Well the Nats did draw 2.3 million fans last year. Averaging over 28k/game for the last four seasons.

    I am praying for you and probably preaching to the choir,

    but DC is drawing about 1/2 of what the Nats are per game, with a LOT less games….and the Nats aren’t going to make the playoffs anytime soon.

  8. There is a solution to cavernous stadiums.

    I can’t come up with it right now, but let me think for a minute….oh yeah, more fans.

    SSS stadiums are a joke. Intimate being the punchline. QWest is the best atmosphere for soccer ( and football ) in the US and one of the best in the world.

    Now they are going to open up BC Place ( Vancouver Whitecaps ) and take the seating DOWN to 22k. Smart move, sell out the first year and then never grow ever again, without un-doing your stupidity with a huge pricetag.

  9. Can we change the method of categorization from ‘teams with SSS’ to ‘teams in control of revenue streams?’

    Teams like Seattle may not play in a SSS, but given their ownership group that doesn’t matter (Paul Allen is part owner, owns Qwest and allows the Sounders to reap all of the benefits that they would in a SSS).

    I understand part of the reason the NASL went under was due to teams playing in cavernous stadia, but the revenue streams aspect was much more impactful.

  10. BUILD MY STADIUM!!! Kansas is smart enough to see the long term benefits of supporting a professional club in an up and coming league, what’s the deal with “forward thinking” places like DC? Good Luck to Houston, still think a sold out downtown stadium would be awesome and shut up the haters in South Texas.

  11. Kelly said…

    As near as I can figure there are six, not seven, teams playing in non-soccer stadia: DC, Houston, KC, NE, SJ, Seattle.

    Sigh. It’s such a chore to have to defend and correct the record repeatedly. Seattle IS Soccer Specific in that it was BUILT to house soccer matches, so everything from field width to seating is SPECIFICALLY engineered to host soccer (yes, except the plastic pitch blah blah blah).

    It was sold to residents as a soccer facility, voted upon as a soccer facility, built as a soccer facility, and guess what, we play soccer there.

    …that is all

  12. “When Robinho made the jump from Real Madrid to Manchester City for a record English fee, the Brazilian was expected to be the star that would catapult the club from mediocrity to stardom. Robinho’s time with City has not gone as expected…” This is true, but it WAS going as expected in his first season with Robinho leading City in scoring and 4th in the league. I think his injury hurt him a lot and (as much as I hate to say it cuz I’m a huge fan of his) he’s been a bit of a baby this season. Maybe Mancini will cause a change in form that seems to happen with so many star players once a coach they don’t like gets the boot. Then they can say, “See it wasn’t my fault, it was the coach…”

  13. I can understand the frustration of the Quakes fans of having the Quakes/Dynamo snatched away. However, the team is averaging 17,000 per game in Robertson Stadium and is 4th in the league in attendance behind Seattle, Toronto, and the Galaxy. The MLS probably made the right move and once the soccer-specific stadium is built and online, the Dynamo will undoubtedly start turning a profit, if they aren’t already.

  14. But we didn’t deserve a team in SJ 🙂
    . . . because we the people wouldn’t pay for their stadium. Then pinning it on the fans as being the root problem. FUAEG.

  15. Houston has one of the best offers of any stadium anywhere and yet they are still playing hard ball. 75% privately financed stadium. The other 25% would come from tax reinvestment zone which essentially pays for the stadium with the value it creates.

    For the politicians a good deal for the County isnt good enough; they have to get something out of it themselves. Sad day.

  16. As a Dynamo season ticket holder since the day they arrived and someone who has some contacts high up in the Dynamo organization, I can’t think of anything worse than building a stadium in the suburbs. Teams that have stadiums in the burbs (Dallas, Chicago, NE) all have attendance issues. There just are not enough soccer fans right now in any community to drive 45+ minutes to go to a game. Is LA an exception? Will the Red Bull stadium be an exception? I don’t know.

    The teams with stadia downtown (Seattle, Toronto) do very well. The Dynamo correctly want to be downtown. It will be a very invigorating experience that will help grow the Dynamo fan base.

    The Dynamo stadium is all set to go with city of Houston approval, land purchased, and construction financing arranged. The deal is that the stadium will cost approx. $80 million. The city owns the land and will give a long term lease. The city and county will each put up $10 million that will be repaid by a TIRZ to be created for east Houston. It will not require any new taxes and the taxpayers will not have to foot the bill.

    The only hold up is one county commissioner, El Franco Lee. The stadium is in his district and it cannot come to a vote in the Harris County commissioners court unless he puts it on the agenda. He is holding out for some favor, the nature of which is unknown to most. He wasn’t about to do anything until the mayoral election was over (it ended 2 weeks ago). The new mayor supports the plan as it presently exists, but only if the county comes on board. The new mayor says all bets are off if the county doesn’t accept the current deal.

    Hardcore Dynamo fans are beside themselves over the delay. If you are a Dynamo fan or a MLS fan (no matter where you live) and want the Dynamo to have a soccer-specific stadium, contact his office through his website and let them know what you want them to do:

  17. And how I’ve dreamed of it!! RFK is horrible and filled with memories of games filled with less than 5,000 people. Even on a day when we pull over 20k, the place looks empty. Sucks for noise and the place is falling apart.

    I blame the Nats for getting their stadium in first. Now we wait…again!

  18. As near as I can figure there are six, not seven, teams playing in non-soccer stadia: DC, Houston, KC, NE, SJ, Seattle.

    And the Rice poll results weren’t from Rice University students or even voters at Rice, it was BY Rice University, and questioned registered voters OF the Houston area; by more than two-to-one, making anything tough to swing, even though the new mayor has given qualified support of the deal on the table.

  19. “Robinho, who has not scored in his six appearances this season, will need to make a decision soon, as the winter transfer window draws near.”

    The Sun reported that RobinHo asked for a meeting with Mancini. Last year RobinHo complained in the press about the lack of quality at City, perhaps he’ll do the same with Mancini. I don’t think he’s a favorite with his team mates.

  20. (sorry–just a vent) PLEASE for the health of this league let Houston get a *DOWNTOWN* stadium!! I understand land is cheaper in the suburbs, but MLS has put forth a policy of thinking long term (salary cap, single entity, etc). I support that. However, long term health also means working to place stadiums in an easibly accessible location, even if that means waiting in stadiums that are not the best right now. Among the other four sports there has been a movement since the late 70’s to move stadiums BACK into the City. Toronto and Seattle are such huge successes, in part, due to their stadium location. And I feel New York will take off being at a PATH station stop. NO MORE FRISCO’s! Best of luck Dynamo…and apologies for the rant—Hapy Holidays to the rest of the Mafia.

  21. Gotta say, that Houston poll data is pretty much worthless. I’m a Rice alum, and knowing how things are there:

    1) most of those students (registered or not) don’t vote in Houston in the first place and are irrelevant,

    b) there’s no way a sample of Rice students in any way represents a sample of Houston voters,

    IV) I’m fairly sure that > 60% of the respondents were probably just trying to screw up the poll results in the first place, regardless of their actual opinions. That’s just how we roll…

  22. yeah to my knowledge what has held it up is two council members wanting to make sure they come out as winners. They are angling for incentives for their respective districts (where the ITRZ is located) that are holding things up keeping the vote off the agenda. Honestly, the deal is much more public/fan friendly then the last three stadium projects. AIG is putting in 80%! That is HUGE. Just too much politics by two councilpersons. Now with the new mayor the cause may have been set back even more.

    However, as I said before, I think Dynamo fans will drive to Katy/the Woodlands etc. Start getting into the Pearland or Clear Lake areas and you will have problems.

  23. I too believe that time is running out for a downtown stadium, which would be a shame. I live in Dallas and only make it up to Frisco a few times a year (how ever many times the Dynamo play is usually a factor). I hope for a downtown Houston stadium, but a most of my relatives live on the West side of town, I would go to as many Dynamo games no matter where the stadium is built, about 6.

    Once you are in your seat at Frisco, there is no problem, it’s a soccer game. But there is nothing good to do up there prior to and after the game except a 45 min. drive too and from.

  24. I think he counting Seattle in that ? IF NOT never mind the rant below.

    QWest was built for Soccer and Football.

    It is the reason a LOT of us voted for it.

    Maybe you don’t like the plastic turf….deal with it, it isn’t going away anytime soon, unless you see a city that wouldn’t even consider building the SuperSonics a new place, building a 50,000+ stadium for the Sounders only to play in.

    I have season tickets and I wouldn’t vote for that.

  25. Here’s a laugh: MLS and the owners insisted on the Quakes to Houston because of the stadium issue. Four years later they are still playing in a college stadium, just like the Clash/Quakes did. Meanwhile, MLS takes away a championship team from San Jose, then brings them back as a bunch of also-rans with the promise of a new stadium, and guess what? They don’t have one either.

    I lived in SJ and supported the Quakes for many years, and they never had great attendance, but this is still laughable.

  26. Honestly do not know how things are going to go for the stadium here. Not sure what the issue is though. Harris County/city will be investing only a small portion (last figure I heard was around 20%) through an IRTZ. So the tax will be generated through business in the area and not come out of the city/county general fund. Typical that they would pony up a higher percent for Reliant, Toyota, and Minute Maid but scoff at a stadium that is proposed to be used year around and will house some football games for Texas Southern University (but there will be no lines on the field, that was made very clear by the Dynamo). My gut tells me it gets done or they move the stadium to the suburbs (about 20 miles either north or west). I just do not see them leaving Houston though as they will have the support wherever the stadium is built.

  27. SBI… i don’t know how in depth you guys get with your reporting (or if it ethical), but would it be possible to give j. white’s people a call just to find out what his offers are or at least what leagues they are from?

  28. i thought philly had white locked up?.. hope he still makes his way to chester

    robinson stadium is way better than the muddogs baseball stadium in KCK, plus it sounds like some rebranding and other improvements once the move is complete.

  29. I think a call up for White against Honduras would be reasonable. Skilled, left-footed, fast, and a chance to showcase him to any MLS or overseas clubs that could be watching.


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