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NCFC MLS bid/General Soccer Bizzo

cmaleski2

Well-known member
That is a good point about the arena. They are going to spend all of this money to add restaurants and rooftop bars and more space to PNC arena, and then what? How long are those improvements going to return revenue before the arena is so outdated that those updates don't matter?

The original proposals for the arena improvements were throwing around numbers like $200 million.
 

HeyKurtz

Active member
None of that changes the fact that, absent a MLS team, a 20,000 seat stadium is a white elephant, IMO.
I'm not sure I agree. A new stadium in a much more accessible location surrounded by an impressive development should have a nice impact on attendance. As you know, Andy, I'm a huge soccer fan, but I rarely go to NCFC or Courage matches partially because I find WakeMed to be a hassle to get to and because of its lack of amenities.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
OK ... a few thoughts here.

First off, the committed revenue from the tax fund really means that the PNC Arena Authority can make a cash flow loan against the public money. So, they can leverage the $9 million per year into one or two larger projects in the short term. That fits what I understand to the be the general plan for the next phase of renovations. It's my understanding that the long term plan for the PNC Arena includes continual upgrades at least until the 30 year mark, after which a decision will have to be made about possibly replacing the arena with a more modern structure. FWIW, about 5 or 6 years ago, the Authority commissioned an engineering study for possible locations for a new building footprint within the existing land at the Carter Finley Complex. A friend of mince called it "do-able, but not without real short term issues for both the arena and the football stadium. Long term, it appears that Dundon would like to at least start a conversation about building another arena, which he would prefer to see located closer to downtown, at some point in the future and that he's trying to work that conversation into his lease negotiations over the next few years.

My guess about how this is going to roll out ... Dundon and the Authority will use this release of tax money to leverage revenues from the existing building as much as possible with an eye towards making it easier for Dundon to agree to a new lease. Thus, the restaurant space and other revenue generating aspects of the proposed renovations. With a new lease in hand, the parties will start looking towards the next step and discussing whether or not that includes a new building in a new location.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm not sure I agree. A new stadium in a much more accessible location surrounded by an impressive development should have a nice impact on attendance. As you know, Andy, I'm a huge soccer fan, but I rarely go to NCFC or Courage matches partially because I find WakeMed to be a hassle to get to and because of its lack of amenities.
I think you're correct about the location but I agree with Andy on the size issue. A 20,000 seater with only minor tenants is going to be a problem long term. I figure Malik's chances at an MLS franchise in this round of expansion at somewhere between slim and none, yet the public would be on the hook for the money either way. I don't think the grant commission has any time for his speculative project right now, no matter how attractive it would be to the community in the best case scenario ... with the problem being that the "best case" is so very, very unlikely to happen.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
I'm not sure I agree. A new stadium in a much more accessible location surrounded by an impressive development should have a nice impact on attendance. As you know, Andy, I'm a huge soccer fan, but I rarely go to NCFC or Courage matches partially because I find WakeMed to be a hassle to get to and because of its lack of amenities.
I haven’t been to a match since the re-brand but I went to a bunch of RailHawks matches, including the West Ham exhibition, and I’ve been to every USWNT match played there. Getting there is a hassle but I don’t know that, absent substantial changes to South Saunders St. and/or a dedicated exit off 40, the new site will be any better.

My problem with a new stadium is that the 2 teams aren’t even close to selling out WakeMed. They’re playing to somewhere around 50% capacity. Even the women’s ICC final only drew about 8,200. Will attendance increase appreciably in a bigger stadium? Probably not. Unless they show that they can consistently outdraw the 10,000 capacity at WakeMed, I don’t see the need for it.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah. Wake Med is no harder to navigate than Carter Finley for a football game ... easier in fact.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Why don’t they use carter Finley?
The field is probably too small. A soccer field is about 20 yards wider than a football field and there isn’t enough room on the sidelines for another 10 yards on each side and room for the benches.

I also don’t think the school wants its field torn up by basically a 9 month season between football and soccer.. The MLS season runs March-October, so they’d really only have December, January and February to get the turf back into shape.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
The field is probably too small. A soccer field is about 20 yards wider than a football field and there isn’t enough room on the sidelines for another 10 yards on each side and room for the benches.

I also don’t think the school wants its field torn up by basically a 9 month season between football and soccer.. The MLS season runs March-October, so they’d really only have December, January and February to get the turf back into shape.
The turf issue doesn't really matter, because ... as you guessed, the field is too small for a regulation soccer layout without tearing up the sideline protections that are needed for football. Even when Carter Finley has been used for exhibition soccer matches, they've had to remove the field turf sections installed along the sidelines and the touch lines on the sides are VERY close to the concrete retaining walls at the bottom of the seating area. It's not a comfortable fit by any means.

Most college football stadiums have the same problem unless they were specifically designed with a big enough playing surface to accommodate a soccer pitch and sideline area. That just wasn't a concern when most of the local stadiums were built. C-F's layout dates to the mid 60s
and I'm fairly sure Kenan's current basic layout dates to just a little bit earlier in the same decade. Wallace Wade would be plenty big enough now that they've removed the track, but has the worst accessibility of the three.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I talked to a friend Wednesday evening who is loosely attached to the restaurant, hospitality and entertainment tax payout committee. Apparently the County Commissioners' contingent on the committee is very interested in the proposed "south downtown" soccer stadium project, while the City of Raleigh contingent is less engaged. It seems the City folks see it as a non-factor compared to the funding they plan to seek in the future for the Dix property and other projects that more directly benefit the city center. The point was raised that if Malik and Kane get their money through the "misc projects" process ... which is where they have to go now that the large projects budget is settled for the near term based on grants to the PNC Arena and the Convention Center ... then that one project would basically obliterate the chances of anything else being funded by that portion of the available grant funds for 20 years or so. There is one hiccup though ... the County folks are ticked off about language in the Convention Center's grant that would divert funds towards attracting another Downtown hotel, which they see as a negative. The County's needs and the City's needs have always been at least a little bit at odds in this process, FWIW. That is expected to get ironed out.

Bottom line ... the soccer stadium and associated development project came together too late in the process for Malik and Kane to really build any firm support from the various constituencies represented on the committee, which doomed the thing right from the start. The PNC Arena Authority has been "working" the committee since the early Spring with a firm, well developed plan. The Convention Center has been working on their proposal even longer, after having a similar proposal shot down in the prior payout cycle. Up until a couple of months ago, Malik and Kane were still working on the State site north of downtown and the first a lot of people involved in decision making heard of the proposed south of downtown site was when it was reported in the News and Observer. That, plain and simple, is NOT how you do this stuff. You have to patiently put in your time and effort to build a case. You can't just show up with an architect's rendering and the support of John Kane and have everyone throw money at your feet.
 

NoMich

Member
Working in downtown Raleigh, right near the convention center, had me saying "NAH" to the proposed downtown south site, then I found out that we will be moving into the soon-to-be-built 20-story tower in North Hills about a year from now and I'm all "OK, cool, build that new soccer stadium"
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Working in downtown Raleigh, right near the convention center, had me saying "NAH" to the proposed downtown south site, then I found out that we will be moving into the soon-to-be-built 20-story tower in North Hills about a year from now and I'm all "OK, cool, build that new soccer stadium"
Selfish bastage. Glad you found the place, BTW.
 

StormChaserBH

Active member
Working in downtown Raleigh, right near the convention center, had me saying "NAH" to the proposed downtown south site, then I found out that we will be moving into the soon-to-be-built 20-story tower in North Hills about a year from now and I'm all "OK, cool, build that new soccer stadium"
Welcome to traffic hell. Let's have lunch when ya get here, neighbor.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Ah ... I remember the days, not so long ago, when Kane's revitalization of North Hills was still fun. Back about three giant tower offices ago. You know ... before he FLOODED the area with people and cars and made it a giant mess.
 

NoMich

Member
And I'm only going to add to that by driving in for work every day. Unless someone wants to hire a seasoned email coder with plenty of Salesforce AMPscript experience
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
And I'm only going to add to that by driving in for work every day. Unless someone wants to hire a seasoned email coder with plenty of Salesforce AMPscript experience
I would ... but I work as an independent contractor and have absolutely no need of your services :0)

Don't forget to frequent that new Wegmans down the street once you get settled. That thing indirectly made me a bunch of money on a real estate transaction so I'm shilling for them as a hobby.
 

cmaleski2

Well-known member
Hopefully before they consider a new downtown hockey arena 10 years for now they check with the fans who, you know, actually buy the tickets. If they plop a brand spanking new hockey arena in downtown Raleigh I would reduce or eliminate my season ticket commitment as a result. Getting to downtown Raleigh for a 7PM game from Holly Springs, or Apex or Cary, or anywhere from the west-southwest would be too much of a traffic nightmare for me. As I pass by the on ramp for 40 East on my way to PNC for weeknight games I thank my lucky stars I don't have to get on 40 East any time between 5:00PM and 6:00 PM. Granted I know people closer to downtown Raleigh or coming from the East or North will like it better than PNC.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
I would ... but I work as an independent contractor and have absolutely no need of your services :0)

Don't forget to frequent that new Wegmans down the street once you get settled. That thing indirectly made me a bunch of money on a real estate transaction so I'm shilling for them as a hobby.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for Wegman’s since I made my one and only trip to one in Ashburn, VA about 13 years ago. The doors opened and the angels started singing.
 

NoMich

Member
Hopefully before they consider a new downtown hockey arena 10 years for now they check with the fans who, you know, actually buy the tickets. If they plop a brand spanking new hockey arena in downtown Raleigh I would reduce or eliminate my season ticket commitment as a result. Getting to downtown Raleigh for a 7PM game from Holly Springs, or Apex or Cary, or anywhere from the west-southwest would be too much of a traffic nightmare for me. As I pass by the on ramp for 40 East on my way to PNC for weeknight games I thank my lucky stars I don't have to get on 40 East any time between 5:00PM and 6:00 PM. Granted I know people closer to downtown Raleigh or coming from the East or North will like it better than PNC.
When the franchise was looking for a place to build a new stadium, I was like, "BUILD IT DOWNTOWN! BUILD IT DOWNTOWN! IT WILL REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN!" Then I went to the opening home game at the ESA, hung out and tailgated with friends and was all like, "THIS IS THE PERFECT SPOT FOR A STADIUM! WE CAN TAILGATE! COULDN'T DO THAT DOWNTOWN!"

So glad that I was wrong. There is no way we could've built the hockey culture that we did with a downtown/neighborhood arena. The city streets in Raleigh are not meant for handling such heavy traffic all at the same time and this area has no decent mass transit systems. A downtown arena now would be a traffic disaster.
 
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