This month saw the edition of St.Louis as the 28th team to Major League Soccer. This very proud moment for the club is placing them in the position where they are the first club to join Major League Soccer which is majority female-owned.
This exciting announcement was made almost at the end of August by commissioner Don Garber. Present at this event was Carolyn Kindle Betz, the president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation as well as Jim Kavanaugh, representing World Wide Technology as CEO and Andy Taylor, the executive chairman for the Enterprise Group and other members of the Taylor family. Between Betz and six other women who form part of the Taylor family, the club of St. Louis is predominantly female-owned. The team will only start as a part of the league during 2022, but they will immediately start working on selecting their team name, colours and badge.
A Challenging Ride
During 2017 the bid which St. Louis had, was getting cold. This city, with a soccer rich tradition, held a referendum to decide upon using $60 million of tax revenue to build a stadium, but the voters decided against it, and that created a significant setback or the investment group at that time, Paul Edgerley. They then ceased their efforts to try and establish a stadium and club within St. Louis.
Now Betz has joined hands with Kavanaugh, who was part of the previous investment group back in 2017 but is now at World Wide Technology and after weeks of negotiations, they achieved success. This success is also significantly founded in the fact that they managed to get the funds for the construction of a stadium from private investors. The stadium will be set in Downtown West District.
The Expansion of Soccer
In recent years the MLS has decided to make expansion into various markets a priority. This is done to ensure the constant growth of the sport. Soccer is receiving growing interest from sports fans in the United States, and the MLS is taking the opportunity to give the process momentum.
Since 2013 when the New York City FC joined the league, the expansion fee was set at $90 million. This has increased since then to an estimated $240 million. The increase is due to more massive crowds at games, broadcasting rights and growing significant sponsorships. According to the former commissioner of the Major League Indoor Soccer which has since become obsolete, Steve Ryan, owning a franchise has changed over time into a very lucrative investment for sports-minded executives.
The St. Louise team will have their home field set at a soccer-specific stadium. This stadium is going to be built in Downtown St. Louis and will be the centre of new development in real estate which is set to be built around the stadium.