So much for the soccer-specific stadium in Greektown, dropped from the plans for the development Rock Ventures intends to go forward
Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem: "Partnering with the Ford family bolsters our powerhouse group and provides a perfect stadium solution in the heart of Detroit's central business and sports and entertainment districts. Over the last two years, we have invested significant time, effort and resources into our bid to bring MLS to Detroit. After careful study and analysis, we concluded that the downtown location of an MLS stadium is paramount to an MLS team's success. And no MLS stadium sits in a better downtown location than Ford Field. We also saw additional evidence that multi-use stadiums can be very successful in the right situation and we believe our new proposal is superior for the city and for MLS in every way."
MLS's statement: "Although MLS has tremendous respect for the all of the owners involved in the Detroit bid, we have not had an opportunity to evaluate the amended application and it would be premature for MLS to offer a specific comment on it. MLS continues to prioritize soccer-specific stadiums as a criteria for the selection of MLS expansion markets."
Atlanta effect. First-year Atlanta United set a U.S. pro soccer record, averaging 48,200 fans a game and finishing the season at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where it set regular-season and playoff attendance records for single games.
That success has made some question the wisdom of operating a soccer stadium in the range of 18,000-25,000 seats like at most MLS facilities.
Can Detroit duplicate MBS's success at Ford Field? It would depend on lots of things, but a key distinction in Atlanta United's success was its owner, Arthur Blank, who treated his expansion MLS team as an equal of his NFL Falcons. Also, Atlanta United moved into the $1.6 billion stadium at the same time as the Falcons. Ford Field opened in 2002.
Elsewhere. MLS's statement that is "continues to prioritize soccer-specific stadiums" leaves open the question whether it will consider Detroit's bid with Ford Field at all.
Cincinnati officials had pushed back on the notion that FC Cincinnati, which has shattered USL and Open Cup attendance records at downtown Nippert Stadium, home of the University of Cincinnati's football team, needs a stadium of its own.
FC Cincinnati has been looking at three potential sites in Cincinnati and nearby Newport, Ky., but is pushing for special financing options to help fund its stadium.
In Nashville, the group bidding for an MLS team has a key vote on Tuesday. Metro Council is scheduled to vote on a $275 million revenue bond package that would fund a 27,500-seat soccer stadium at Nashville's fairgrounds.
One of the critics of the stadium project -- at-large council member John Cooper -- recently questioned the need for "a specialty fourth stadium" when "two of our three stadiums can accommodate soccer."
MLS2Nashville spokesman Clint Brewer told the Tennessean that the Nashville MLS group's understanding "from the league [was] that this requirement [of a soccer-specific stadium] has not changed."
One distinction between Atlanta and Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati and Nashville's other stadiums is that the Blank, the MLS owner, controls Mercedes-Benz Stadium's playing dates and most important, its revenue streams.
NYCFC example. Detroit's plan is more along the lines of what City Football Group did when it partnered with the New York Yankees on forming New York City FC and moved into Yankee Stadium when it became clear a soccer-specific stadium was not in the offing.