Every stadium proposal has its hurdles to overcome, but this isn’t one that SC STL wanted to face so early in the process.
Incoming Missouri governor-elect Eric Greitens expressed his opposition to any public funding for the proposed future home of an MLS team in St. Louis, calling the funding nothing more than “welfare for millionaires”.
“I’m opposed to spending taxpayer money to build a soccer stadium in St. Louis,” Greitens stated. “This project is nothing more than welfare for millionaires. Right now, because of reckless spending by career politicians, we can’t even afford the core functions of government, let alone spend millions on soccer stadiums. This back-room wheeling and dealing is exactly what frustrates Missourians. This type of politics as usual is coming to an end.”
The statement comes at a crucial time for the stadium’s viability, as the Missouri Development Finance Board is set to vote on the approval of $40 million in state tax credits for the stadium, which would come in addition to the proposed $80 million in public funding to be voted on in April. This funding would leave the team with $80 million of their own to pay for the $200 million total stadium. The city of St. Louis would own the completed stadium and would lease it to the MLS team for 30 years.
The team would front any additional overrun costs and maintenance fees over the life of the lease, as well as the $150 million expansion fee into MLS. While the governor’s statement is far from fatal, it certainly throws a wrench into SC STL’s well-laid plans.