Stadium sale puts San Antonio back in MLS hunt

San Antonio is back in the hunt for an MLS expansion team in a big way. A partnership consisting of the city of San Antonio, Bexar County and Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the NBA Spurs, has agreed to buy the NASL Scorpions' soccer-specific stadium, Toyota Field, for $21 million. The goal is to get an MLS team, but in the meantime the Spurs hope to enter a team in the USL, putting the future of the NASL Scorpions in doubt.

The announcement came just three days after the San Antonio Scorpions told head coach Alen Marcina he wouldn't be retained for the 2016 season.

Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman launched the team in 2012 and 8,200-seat Toyota Field opened a year later. Hartman has operated the Scorpions under Soccer for a Cause and donate all proceeds to Morgans Wonderland, an accessible amusement park for children and adults with special cognitive and physical needs.

The Scorpions won the NASL title in 2014 but finished last this season, prompting the move to drop Marcina.

The public-private partnership will buy Toyota Field from Hartman for $21 million. It will need to renovate and expand the stadium if it wants to add an MLS team.

"Soccer's demographics complement San Antonio. It has the youngest and fastest-growing fan base of the five major league sports," San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor said. "Soccer has an international appeal and is a perfect fit for San Antonio's global outlook and our economic development strategy."

SSE issued a statement to that it looked forward to discussions "to bring a United Soccer League experience to San Antonio in 2016, as well as begin the campaign for Major League Soccer."

Hartman was not at the press conference to announce the stadium sale but issued a statement shortly afterwards:

“Soccer for a Cause began four and a half years ago to bring focus and assistance to the special-needs community while also delivering high-quality professional soccer.  We look forward to reviewing the final details of the agreement that was made public today to ensure that it continues to advance those dreams.

“We thank all entities involved in this transaction for their interest in our cause and for taking an aggressive stance to advance pro sports opportunities in our community.  Morgan’s Wonderland, The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, the San Antonio Scorpions, Toyota Field, and the STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex were all created for the benefit of our special-needs community.”
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