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Missouri governor-elect rules out stadium funding


One critical road block in bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to St. Louis won’t be hurdled easily, at least anytime soon.

Missouri governor-elect Eric Greitens stated on Monday that no public funds will be used to help build the proposed stadium in St. Louis.

“To be very clear, I have completely ruled out state funding for stadiums,” Greitens told reporters.

Greitens has referred to public funding for stadiums as welfare for millionaires in the past, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be changing his stance at all. However, the governor-elect is going to meet with the group in charge of the expansion bid.

St. Louis should be one of the frontrunners for an expansion bid given its location and the exit of the Rams from the city’s sporting landscape. SC STL vice chairman Jim Kavanaugh voiced his displeasure with Greitens statement.

“Disappointing considering he doesn’t understand our business proposal and potential ROI (return on investment) for the state,” Kavanaugh said.

SC STL, the company in charge of the expansion bid, will contribute $80 million to the stadium project and pay the $150 million expansion fee set by MLS commissioner Don Garber, but funding is still needed to pay for the rest of the stadium project.



  1. As a quick follow up, as strong as the soccer history is in St Louis, the St Louis area has some of the worst economic growth in the country for major city. The City of St. Louis ranks near the bottom of all U.S. cities of any size in terms of economic and population growth.

    • That is not exactly true. the STL numbers you are looking at is not the total metro area which is about 2.5 million people. More and more infrastructure is being built and it is a very large market for tech start ups. They were just named one of the 10 rising cities in the US…….

  2. Ownership groups will always try to shift the burden of financing a stadium to others shoulders. Stadiums do and can show a positive ROI, BUT it is very low and takes a long time. Should they take that money to be used in financing the stadium and put it in a better yielding instrument, they will make a lot more money, probably 4-6x (conservative, medium risk) and in a shorter period of time. Its not that the ownership groups cannot finance these long term deals,or they cannot make some money on a stadium, its that THEY DON”T WANT TO! For them, investing in the MLS is of a low risk nature, but not a immediate ROI, but it will come. All have looked at the business plan and prospectus and see good revenue streams, controlled labor costs and a monopoly on that certain niche market (D1 soccer) all on the upside. Revenue streams from owning a stadium require more investment in time, maintenance and management to make sure that those streams associated with the stadium can service the debt required to build it. Shifting that requirement to another shoulder reduces a clubs staff and FO overhead.

    I am not sure that this ownership group is right for the MLS. It seems that they are predatory and are taking advantage of the MLS who see an opportunity to put a team in St. Louis right away.

    St. Louis is not going away, the NFL IS NOT going to put a team in a small market like St. Louis right away, it took them 25 years for an NFL team to get back to LA, the nations second biggest market. There will be countless owners in the NFL who will want St. Louis to remain empty because, as LA is gone, it s the only NFL ready city (they still have a decent stadium) that other NFL owners can use to leverage a better stadium for their own needs. How long before we see an NFL owner saying “Give me a new stadium or I move to St. Louis!

    maybe we let this ownership group walk and wait for a better one to apply for the position

  3. Each stadium deal stands on its own. Terms of public financing for stadiums should be viewed relative to the opportunity costs and potential returns of any other investments. It’s really that simple.

    • I highly doubt any NFL team gets any favors in Missouri or STL for a LOOONG time to come.

      STL is the wrong place to be asking for public funding at this point in time. Frankly if an MLS ownership group needs public funding for a stadium, they aren’t really up to par for the ownership club. I can understand help with infrastructure changes and assistance in obtaining properties, but not in carrying the bulk of the payments.

      • That wasn’t my point. I was trying to say that we have seen in the past pols speak harshly against sports injustice when directed at MLS, but then they soften when it comes to football or baseball. Remember when congress made a bunch of noise about recending the tax exempt status of major league teams? They all focused on big bad MLS, but when the debate shifted to the NFL the debate fizzled immediately.

    • That would be true IF the state NEVER gave corporations any kind of tax breaks. Google Missouri tax breaks for businesses.The state offers myriad tax breaks, subsidies, and incentives for businesses. The difference is, unlike many sports franchises, SC STL is willing to contribute $80 million to the cost of a stadium. The investment of between $50- $100 million for the state would probably pay off both tangibly and intangibly. St. Louis was once the hotbed of soccer in this country and the state should tap into that.

  4. adding to what anthony said, above, can anyone explain why mls needs a 150 M expansion fee? I get that their must be some costs involved. wouldn’t 10 or 20 M be enough?

    • look how much it would be to buy a current franchise, compare that number with 4 years ago, or 8 years ago — MLS/SUM can get even more than they are charging because ROI is going to be insane when the owner sells the team down the line.

      Would you rather have 200 million dollars or 10 million dollars? Anyone with 10 million dollars would be tripping over themselves to get an expansion and sell it instantly, at 150 million to get in, there are still over 2 handfuls of billionaires out there wanting a piece

  5. No Stadium funding for sports franchises. How about Garber REDUCE the franchise fee so that the group can pay for the stadium on their own. For people who say they city will own the stadium, will the collect rent from the team, how much will it be, how long is the guaranteed lease term, do they get all revenue for vendor sales, do they get revenue from other events at the stadium and how much is that?

    All I know if that stadia/stadiums that are publicaly funded almost never recoup their costs.


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