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NCFC MLS bid/General Soccer Bizzo

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff 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.
Yeah ... you guys know how I feel about a downtown arena. The infrastructure simply isn't there to support the traffic and isn't likely to get any better anytime soon with the DOT delaying other important projects in the area for 5-10 years thanks to budget shortfalls. Nobody ever wants taxes raised to pay for anything, so eventually things that cost money don't get done ... especially forward reaching things. The inner beltline project on the west side of town will help some, but that's going to take for freaking ever to complete and is a relatively small improvement for downtown access. Locating an arena downtown would immediately make life difficult for Cary, Apex, Durham and other residents to the west. It would be a parking challenge all the way around, but perhaps that's the easiest thing to address ... with parking decks that would make tailgating even less of an option. It would be a complete culture change in terms of fan experience ... and all for what? So we can eat at better restaurants before the game and have bars that are open afterwards? Big freaking deal. That doesn't impact a HUGE chunk of the fan base who have families and other stuff to do with themselves on a random Tuesday night in February.

That said, for me personally, it would be no big deal to get back and forth to an arena downtown. I live in North Raleigh, which would seem inconvenient, but with a couple of reliable corridors into downtown and a lifetime of local knowledge, I'd be fine. In fact my commute would be about the same as to the current arena ... maybe a little less.
 

dwind

Active member
Build the needed infrastructure around the existing PNC and carter Finley.
That seems to be a much better and more realistic option.
 

Elsker

Active member
I live in downtown Raleigh and even I can't possibly imagine how it would work given the geometry of Raleigh's street grid.

The planned downtown is an incredible grid for pedestrians and local traffic, but not set up for, nor ever intended to be set up for, big flush events like sports arena crowds.

Just the wrong land use for that location. And a complete upheaval for the regional fan base just coming out of its first generation and morphing into the second. Raleigh alone cannot support the Canes.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Build the needed infrastructure around the existing PNC and carter Finley.
That seems to be a much better and more realistic option.
There are already a couple of DOT projects designed to do just that. They just pushed off two projects in that area until after 2023, and the rest aren't funded, so they aren't on the project schedule yet. Of course, they've pecked away at the area for the last two decades ... improving a little bit at a time with small-ish projects. For Canes games, I find the infrastructure to be perfectly suitable. Football and the State Fair can overwhelm the roadways a bit, and basketball is a problem because of State's stupid assigned parking area system. Roadways won't fix that.

From a restaurants and bars point of view ... we've been over that a million times and I have no clue what anybody actually wants. And I honestly don't think people who complain about the arena neighborhood do either. There's some sort of weird existential desire to have a downtown arena, but two thirds of the people convinced that it would be awesome can't actually articulate exactly why that would be the case. Or they clatter off a bunch of platitudes that don't really mean anything ... like that old saw about improving a downtown that has improved quite nicely all on its own without an arena or stadium to muck up traffic a couple of times a month.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The next to last nail has been put in the coffin for NCFCs MLS bid. Sacramento was finally awarded their team, they’ll be the 29th MLS team, starting in 2022. If they stick with their professed desire for 30 teams, there is 1 spot left. If it does come to the Carolinas, it’s almost certainly going to be in Charlotte.

Nashville and Miami start next year, Austin in 2021 and St . Louis and Sacramento start in 2022.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I've been told that MLS honcho Don Garber already has a handshake agreement with Carolina Panthers owner Dave Tepper should Tepper follow through with plans to expand the Panthers training facility to accommodate an MLS squad.

Raleigh is deader than dead either way ... they're near the bottom of the rest of the pecking order even if Charlotte falls through
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Semi-related ... the NC Courage won their way into the NWSL championship game next weekend by beating Seattle Reign on Sunday. They'll host the game this year, and face Chicago Red Stars. The game is Saturday and tickets are available.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Semi-related ... the NC Courage won their way into the NWSL championship game next weekend by beating Seattle Reign on Sunday. They'll host the game this year, and face Chicago Red Stars. The game is Saturday and tickets are available.
Sam Kerr from the Red Stars may be the best ladies striker in the world. If nothing else, go see what will probably be her last club appearance in North America, there are strong rumors that she’s headed to England to play for Chelsea.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sam Kerr from the Red Stars may be the best ladies striker in the world. If nothing else, go see what will probably be her last club appearance in North America, there are strong rumors that she’s headed to England to play for Chelsea.
Agreed. She's probably the best offensive player in the world right now. Also go to see Crystal Dunn, who might be the best attacking midfielder in the world right now ... despite playing left back for the national team. She has been video game good for the Courage since coming back from the World Cup. God bless the defenders on both teams. It's gonna be a long night.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Also semi-related, the NWSL just announced that Louisville will be added for the 2021 season. Like the Courage, they’re owned and operated by the existing USL club, in this case Louisville City.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Also semi-related, the NWSL just announced that Louisville will be added for the 2021 season. Like the Courage, they’re owned and operated by the existing USL club, in this case Louisville City.
Great news, in that the league managed to add a franchise without relocating the New Jersey franchise. It would seem that Sky Blue have been saved by a 2nd half of the season bump on the back of the World Cup ... and playing games at Red Bull Arena instead of on what amounted to a freaking intramural field at Rutgers.

I've read some speculation that several more MLS and USL clubs are in talks about financing and managing their own NWSL entries. If they can add a couple more clubs and continue to expand their TV and marketing income, they can still compete with the Euro club giants who are wading into the women's game nowadays ... not to mention continuing to be the primary feeder program for the USWNT.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
NCFCs season is over, losing to Birmingham in the first round of the USL playoffs. They gave up the game winner in the 3rd minute of 2nd half stoppage time.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
NCFCs season is over, losing to Birmingham in the first round of the USL playoffs. They gave up the game winner in the 3rd minute of 2nd half stoppage time.
Bad way to bow out, but overall they had a very successful season. Club Captain Austin Da Luz retired, so that was his last game. He's been a good player for them, but he's also been tremendously influential in the community. Bon chance to Austin.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member

Looks like Dave Tepper's backroom deal with MLS is coming to fruition as soon as Friday of this week. Or not ... it's byzantine as always with MLS. It would be a record expansion fee of between $300-325 million. And frankly, I'd be fine with that personally. An MLS side playing in Charlotte makes it accessible for me without making it seem like I'm obliged to buy in to support my community. I'll just be annoying and show up when one of the teams I currently support comes to town.
 

Paulie Walnuts

Active member
Guess the local guy could try to buy a MLS team and move it here. Sounds familiar? :)

Of course he still needs a stadium and an owner willing to sell.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Guess the local guy could try to buy a MLS team and move it here. Sounds familiar? :)

Of course he still needs a stadium and an owner willing to sell.
He could yes ... but it's highly unlikely. As you said, you'd need the stadium and that's not happening without a firmer promise of an MLS franchise ... if that would even be good enough in the first place. MLS also isn't typically in the business of splitting markets unless there's some big payoff, and I'm certain they see central NC as a part of the market for a franchise in Charlotte ... along with upstate SC.

Mailk's best bet is to continue to try and be the best women's club team in the World and work towards making the market the best it can be at the USL/NWSL level. Good things will come of that whether we get MLS one day or not
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The Washington Spirit are moving 1/3 of next season’s games to Audi Field. Sky Blue are moving to Red Bull Arena. Houston, Orlando, Utah and Portland play in MLS stadiums; Houston’s capacity is restricted to 7,000 in a 22,000 seat stadium. Chicago plays in a former MLS stadium that the Fire vacated to live to Soldier Field. All of a sudden, the Courage have one of the smallest capacities in the league. If Malik scales back his request to a 12-15,000 stadium, he stands a better chance of getting funding at Downtown South. But it will be the Courage, not NCFC or MLS that will drive the change. And at the low end, that’s not much more than WakeMed and a modest increase can probably be achieved by adding a 2nd deck on north and south end and surrounding the pressbox on the west side. Adding a second deck on the west side will also eliminate the horrific glare that affects the east side for late afternoon games.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
For my money, he stands a better chance of requesting funds to expand Wake Med. The public rec. tax authority funded their previous expansion, so there's solid precedent and that location gets a bad rap largely because they do such a poor job of traffic management. That's an operations issue that could be easily addressed. Scale it down, stay in your shoes and get better at what you already do well ... MUCH easier than swinging for a home run with little chance of success.
 

Elsker

Active member
Access to WakeMed Park solely via East Chatham Street is tough mostly due to the access intersections (Maynard/Chatham and Trinity/Chatham) being so constricted and even subject to train crossing interruptions.

However, the situation will ease considerably when a back connection to Cary Towne Blvd. is provided via cross-connection through The Fenton which fronts on Cary Towne Blvd. That mixed-use project has zoning entitlement with clearing and grading underway. Connection has to be early in the project, although development plans are still under review with Phase 1 construction targeted for 2020.

That will provide a proper interchange approach from the big roads and the ability to feed the parking lots from the south. There's also a planned cross-connection from the southern edge of WakeMed Park to Maynard Road providing a signalized approach from the west.

Here is a schematic graphic exhibit illustrating those future connections.
 
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