MLS expansion race: Cincinnati doesn't want to take backseat to Nashville

Under the gun following the decision by Metro Nashville to approve a funding plan for a soccer stadium at Nashville's fairgrounds, FC Cincinnati continues to work on finalizing a plan for a soccer-specific stadium, the missing piece in a city that has embraced soccer in a big way in the last two years.

After shattering USL and Open Cup attendance records in 2017, FC Cincinnati has already sold 10,000 season tickets for 2018, and its goal is 15,000.

Neighborhood search.For months, FC Cincinnati, which plays its USL games at Nippert Stadium, the University of Cincinnati's football stadium, has been looking at Oakley and West End in Cincinnati and Newport in Kentucky as the home for its soccer stadium.

Oakley option. FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding made a presentation to the Oakley Community Council on Wednesday night.

The other hurdle: a stadium funding plan. Berding told 700WLW on Wednesday night a stadium plan should be finished within the week. He said the stadium will be part of a bigger development plan.

No new taxes. "We're going to put up, it looks like at this point, over $300 million of our own money to bring the MLS to Cincinnati," Berding told 700WLW. "It's going to look nothing like what happened on the riverfront. We're not going to institute a new tax on our residents."

Anti-tax groups have lobbied against any public funding of another stadium after the NFL Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium was heavily subsidized with public money. Hamilton County is also still paying off Great American Ball Park, home of the baseball Reds.

"Nashville passed theirs last night by a vote of 31-6," said Berding, "and I don't want to take a backseat to Nashville or anyone else. We're gonna show Cincinnati can get something like this done, and get it done the right way."

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