St. Louis' bid to land a Major League Soccer team "looks to be entering the home stretch," Tom Timmermann reports, but he qualifies the statement by adding "again." The deadline is mid-October, and prime mover Jeff Cooper, who heads an investment group that has proposed a stadium, housing, office and retail space complex in Collinsville, east of St. Louis, expects to have the lengthy application in ahead of time.
There may, however, be a problem with the price. MLS keeps edging the cost of a franchise upwards, and like every man, Cooper has his limits. "I think it's certainly an issue," Cooper said. "It's something you have to look at. As much as I'm committed to bringing pro soccer to St. Louis, the higher the price of joining MLS gets, you have to take a look at it from a business perspective. What we were told after Philadelphia got a team was that the price could be as high as $40 million. If it's above that, we'd have a tough time justifying that."
The league has said that $40 million would be the minimum price for its seventeenth and eighteenth franchise awards, writes Timmermann. "What they say and see will determine where we go," Cooper said. "At this point, we're 100 per cent focused on MLS, until that proves to be untenable. Once we submit the paperwork, the ball is in their court. I strongly believe it will end up working out for St. Louis and MLS in the near future."