St. Louis back in MLS expansion hunt?

In early 2017, St. Louis was all considered the top candidate for one of the two MLS expansion berths up for grabs.

But the effort fizzled out by April and was no longer in the running. St. Louis wasn't on MLS's short list of four expansion cities: Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento.

But a year later, there's talk again of St. Louis competing in a yet undefined race for the 27th and 28th teams in MLS after Nashville and Cincinnati.

The driver to the expansion effort was the desire to fill the downtown void left by the departure of the NFL Rams to Los Angeles,  If it got a stadium, St. Louis was considered a shoo-in in last year's 12-city expansion race, but the proposition always faced an uphill battle.

The project was scaled back, but voters in cash-strapped St. Louis still rejected by a vote of 53 perfect to 47 percent a proposition that would have provided $60 million in public financing for a 20,000-seat downtown soccer stadium near Union Station.

New governor. One big change since then is that Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who rejected a proposal for stadium funding from a state redevelopment fund, was forced out amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing, corruption and sexual misconduct.

Greitens' successor, Mike Parson, appears to be more open-minded about considering a stadium proposal. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the officials from Missouri's Department of Economic Development recently met with MLS representatives.)

City-county cooperation. Another change: The position of St. Louis County, which wasn't involved in the first expansion effort.

Mark Mantovani, a candidate for St. Louis County executive, is using that lack of local cooperation between the city and county -- where much of the soccer base resides -- as an issue in his campaign against current executive Steve Stenger, who has been active in recent talks about reviving the stadium plans.

The city of has changed mayors since then -- Lyda Krewson was elected the same day the stadium measure was defeated -- and she confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that there was still interest in getting an MLS team.

That leaves the question of a investor to lead the push.

The SC STL effort was led by Boston-area businessman Paul Edgerley and a St. Louis group of business leaders. The name being mentioned as a possible investor in the new effort is Andy Taylor, chairman of Enterprise Holdings, whose rental car brands include Enterprise, National and Alamo.
3 comments about "St. Louis back in MLS expansion hunt?".
  1. Wooden Ships, October 5, 2018 at 10:57 a.m.

    Really hope they can get it right this time.

  2. frank schoon replied, October 6, 2018 at 1:07 p.m.

    We have got to get St.Louis back in the picture...

  3. Chad Moon, October 5, 2018 at 12:39 p.m.

    Please stop this madness and get Sacramento in the league. Stadium plan in place, fan base is proven, ownership ready.

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