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Thread: NCFC MLS bid/General Soccer Bizzo

  1. #1
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    Default NCFC MLS bid/General Soccer Bizzo

    Not going to be easy as they need a new stadium and also for the MLS to expand.

    Cary location is not big enough for a new stadium They are said to be looking near downtown Raleigh.

    Also they are changing their name to North Carolina FC

    Maybe they could get some hotel/food tax money
    Last edited by jeffbear; 04-08-2017 at 01:33 PM.

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    Hall of Famer StormChaserBH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie Walnuts View Post
    Also they are changing their name to North Carolina FC
    Ugh.

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    Hall of Famer TheBigKahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    I can't see how building a new stadium is viable. I don't see it happening.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    A lot of it depends on how big MLS wants to get. They're already committed at 23 teams; if David Beckham ever gets his mess together in Miami, they're the 24th team. There are already clubs ahead of them in the pecking order that either have stadiums or commitments in Sacramento and San Antonio. And they're almost definitely behind St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit too. So they'd have to depend on MLS expanding to 30 teams or beyond. While I'd love a MLS team here, I just don't see it.

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    Hall of Famer TheBigKahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    OK, they only require and 18,000 seat stadium. I was thinking more along the lines of NFL. THAT would never happen in Raleigh. The current stadium seats 10,000.
    Last edited by TheBigKahuna; 12-04-2016 at 12:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigKahuna View Post
    OK, they only require and 18,000 seat stadium. I was thinking more along the lines of NFL. THAT would never happen in Raleigh. The current stadium seats 10,000.
    Still need to build new. Wake Med seats 10,000 and it's probably not possible to double it without an almost complete rebuild. They'd have to expand the north and south ends and put a 2nd deck on the west side, on both sides of the press box and suites. And even that might not do it.

    FC Cincinnati uses the University of Cincinnati football stadium. Seattle and New England share with NFL teams and the new Atlanta club will too. But they're all artificial turf. All 3 college stadiums are grass and they probably don't want their turf torn up in the spring and summer by a soccer team.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    they could play at an existing FB stadium for a year if needed. The problem in Cary is also room for parking .

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    Legend cmaleski2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Didn't the long term plans for downtown Raleigh that were outlined earlier this year include a new sport complex?

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    Super-Star Elsker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by cmaleski2 View Post
    Didn't the long term plans for downtown Raleigh that were outlined earlier this year include a new sport complex?
    It does, but the site is too small for a venue of this magnitude. More like a small facility for Shaw or local tournaments.

    Plus there's an alternative land use plan for the same site that sees it as a mixed-use employment center expansion area, which is a more likely outcome.
    Here we are now...entertain us.

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    Hall of Famer TheBigKahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    I was curious and looked it up, Durham County Stadium seats 8500. I suspect a couple of the local high schools probably approach that number. Their best bet is to borrow a stadium from one of the local universities.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigKahuna View Post
    I was curious and looked it up, Durham County Stadium seats 8500. I suspect a couple of the local high schools probably approach that number. Their best bet is to borrow a stadium from one of the local universities.
    They'll never get an MLS franchise without a long-term plan for their own soccer-specific stadium. I expect when the official announcement happens tomorrow, we'll hear about efforts to build such a facility.

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    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Couple of things to fill in the gaps in this conversation


    - MLS did a market investigation with the previous owners of the Railhawks two years ago. Bottom line, they liked the market, hated the Cary location and STRONGLY suggested that a 20,000 seat soccer-first stadium with at least 5,000 pre-sold FULL season ticket commitments would be the primary entry point for the league to even consider placing an MLS team here. For the record, MLS has informally but firmly made the soccer specific venue a requirement under President Don Garber ... with a couple of NFL tie-in related exceptions that would work for Charlotte, but not Raleigh. Don't get sidetracked thinking that they can play in Carter Finley for awhile. That's just not going to happen. Also, none of the central NC universities have a soccer specific facility with anything like a 20K capacity.

    - For those not familiar, MLS doesn't operate like other pro leagues where the franchises are individually owned and operated. It's more of a consortium with STRONG central operations control. The franchises are "investors" in the league, not owner/operators. That's why when people talk about promotion/relegation in US pro soccer, they betray that they just don't understand how MLS works. It's also why transfers and recruitment can be so weird and seem so "rigged" sometimes. The league makes decisions based on what's good for the whole, which sometimes isn't what's good for one individual franchise. Being one of the smaller markets in that league would be ... let's call it frustrating, especially when it comes to attracting designated player level talent or keeping a budding star who eventually wants to play in a bigger market.

    - MLS is already committed to 24 franchises. 20 playing now, and 4 approved expansion markets. Atlanta and Minnesota will join next season while LA's replacement for the defunct Chivas USA team and Miami are scheduled to come on line in 2018. I say scheduled because there seem to be some hiccups in Miami despite the involvement of David Beckham in their birth ... rebirth really, as MLS had a team in Miami that failed in 2001. That award is being called "unofficial" right now, which means that they aren't sure of the stadium issue and appear to be looking around for possible southeastern US replacements. THAT is Raleigh's opening IF they can get a stadium deal cobbled together. To think that MLS will expand past 24 ... yeah, that ain't even close to a given and probably defies logic. You could always be ready to be an option if another market struggles ... which happens in this league.

    - Here's what I'm hearing on a stadium ... Hawks owner Steve Malik is looking for proposals for land on the fringes of downtown. There are suitable parcels available, I think. Not actually in downtown mind you ... think fringes. Look. I've seen a mockup site plan that would work but I'm not comfortable sharing the actual site. Suffice to say it isn't suburban. He is also seeking input from the State sports development office (forget it under McCrory, yet probably supportive under Cooper) and also the County. Understand that the County has funds from that local sports and entertainment fund that they HAVE to burn and all these little park upgrades are a pain to administer. They like a nice big chunky outlay and could well be a partner. Malik has a fair amount of ready cash to invest having made a mint (twice) in medical software, but he can't and probably shouldn't pay out of pocket. I could envision a scenario similar to what the Columbus Crew ended up with in Ohio ... an MLS facility that is also used as a regional municipal venue for State HS championships in both football and soccer. The NCAA already has hosted several soccer Final Fours at Cary and would love this venue as well ... HB2 issues aside of course. You can run a regional facility and not have the giant resource suck you'd get from a pro soccer only stadium that gets used for 16 league games and a few Cup matches and friendlies. I think it's fairly likely that a deal can be struck after the new year. How far after is a question, as is how long MLS are going to let Miami dangle.

    - There will also likely be talk of a possible NWSL (women's pro) franchise, and while this is as good a market for that as any in the country understand that those things are cash black holes and thus aren't relevant other than as a sales point to help seal the deal with a public entity. In terms of the MLS thing ... this would be a non-factor. Also there is absolutely no guarantee that the NWSL even survives more than another year or so. Their financial model just doesn't work at all.
    Last edited by jeffbear; 12-05-2016 at 10:26 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    The original women's league, WUSA, had a team based at Wake Med. They played 1 season at Fetzer Field at UNC before Wake Med was complete. However, despite the many UNC alums on the national team, the Courage only came to pass because the original operator of that franchise in Orlando couldn't make it work.

    NWSL has bigger problems than considering expansion to Raleigh. They have 2 geographic outliers in Portland and Seattle, with the next closest club in Kansas City, and they have more than a few struggling franchises. The Portland Thorns averaged 16,945 this past season to lead the league. Sky Blue FC (they play in a 5,000 seat stadium on Rutgers' campus in Piscataway, NJ) drew a TOTAL of 17,841 for the season.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Yeah ... there just isn't enough interest in the women's pro game outside of a few hotbeds. This market has been pretty good for women's soccer thanks largely to the UNC and ACC connections, but given the disparities in ticket sales for the various clubs, simple math tells you it's just not viable. That's sad ... but sort of is what it is.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffbear View Post
    Yeah ... there just isn't enough interest in the women's pro game outside of a few hotbeds. This market has been pretty good for women's soccer thanks largely to the UNC and ACC connections, but given the disparities in ticket sales for the various clubs, simple math tells you it's just not viable. That's sad ... but sort of is what it is.
    They might have an easier go of it if they partnered with MLS, like the WNBA is with the NBA. Right now, only Portland, Orlando and Houston have common ownership. Sky Blue has rejected multiple overtures from NY Red Bulls. Western NY (Rochester) is the only NWSL team that doesn't share geography with MLS.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Pretty sure I heard that neither party is really interested in partnering. In the case of MLS, I certainly get it because they've got enough on their plate trying to run a league with their goofed up ownership/partnership nonsense as it is. I feel like their board meetings are an absolute nightmare even in good times.

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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    I thought PNC bonds are paid off next year at 20 years. Or were they for 30? If it's 20 then there is money there for other projects.

  18. #18
    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Which reminded me ... the biggest factor in the Railhawks seeking rebranding and a possible MLS move is that the NASL, their current league affiliation, is going to heck in a hand basket while we speak. I haven't heard any updates yet but NASL was supposed to be having league meetings last week to forge a way forward with only a handful of remaining clubs now that Minnesota and Atlanta are officially on to the greener (presumably) pastures of MLS. The NY Cosmos are basically sitting on a pile of unpaid bills a mile high (including their payroll for the last 3 months) waiting to see if it's worth their energy to keep on plugging in NASL. Speculation last week ran heavily towards the existing NASL franchises bailing and seeking refuge in USL ... which at least would consolidate the 2nd tier of pro soccer into one entity.

    Locally, it would give the Railhawks (nee NCFC) a couple of local/regional rivalries with Richmond, Charlotte, Wilmington and Charleston already having USL franchises. That would probably be a plus. I've seen some USL soccer and the level of play is fairly comparable to NASL in general, although there's a wider spread between the top clubs and the bottom tier. MLS clubs own several of the USL franchises and several operate full on development teams at that level ... Galaxy, Red Bull, Salt Lake, Timbers, Sounders and a couple of others.
    Last edited by jeffbear; 12-05-2016 at 04:56 PM.

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    Mod Squad jeffbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie Walnuts View Post
    I thought PNC bonds are paid off next year at 20 years. Or were they for 30? If it's 20 then there is money there for other projects.
    Some were 20 some were 30 and I understand that there have been discussions along those lines. Again, the County has earmarked money to spend on sports entertainment and recreation right now (see that baseball facility that got built in Holly Springs recently) and will have even more as those bonds are paid off. Both the State and the City have suitable available land as well. It would take somebody to drive a coordinated effort but there's a variety of ways to skin the stadium cat. It's absolutely do-able so long as nobody gets fixated on being smack dab in the middle of downtown ... nobody other than our stupidly predictable newspaper, of course. They're already fixated.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Railhawks trying for MLS

    Are you talking about former Dix land? City owns that now but I thought it was supposed to be just a park.

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