Once again, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News is the source for the latest information concerning USL and Spurs Sports & Entertainment. This time though, we hear from the chairman, CEO, and owner himself, Peter Holt.
Turning to SS&E’s interest in soccer, Holt said talks with the United Soccer Leagues are stalled because there’s no public money to build a multi-use stadium.
“We think soccer can work in San Antonio, it’s just a question of when. And right now is not when,” Holt said. “The county or the city doesn’t have the money. Maybe something could eventually be worked out with a school district. But right now, with this economic situation, there isn’t going to be any public money for anything anywhere.”
The USL is considered a step below Major League Soccer, which failed in its bid to expand into San Antonio in 2005, partly because then-mayor Ed Garza lacked political support to give MLS a deal that included rent-free use of the Alamodome.
Holt said Garza approached SS&E about playing an ownership role in an MLS franchise, but Holt said SS&E “couldn’t make the numbers work” at the dome.
“But we think the USL, at least with the numbers we’ve run, could work here in a smaller stadium,” Holt said.
Holt upbeat about Spurs’ bottom line
I know the first thing that sticks out is “talks with the United Soccer Leagues are stalled because there is no public money to build a multi-use stadium.” I still find it very hard to believe that the USL would stop talks with SS&E if a stadium deal is not put in place. Find me proof in the USL, that a new multi-use stadium is required to land a franchise.
Could it be that SS&E are painting a false picture to the general public that a multi-use stadium requirement exists? I have a feeling that a multi-use stadium for a future soccer franchise is a requirement of SS&E only. To tell you the truth, it is probably a smart move to have SS&E in complete control of their own facility during the soccer season rather than sharing with a local school district and dealing with gridball lines on the field.
It seems as if our tenant-less friend, the Alamodome, has been ruled out by SS&E. If the numbers didn’t add up for Major League Soccer, they certainly will not add up for the USL. What this tells me is that SS&E has done their homework and realizes that for pro soccer to succeed in our country, soccer specific stadia or multi-use stadia with the primary tenant being a soccer team is key.
This leads to another quote that stick out to me: “Maybe something could eventually be worked out with a school district.” Could this be a temporary solution to have pro soccer in San Antonio sooner rather than later? With former Mayor of San Antonio and proponent of the beautiful game Ed Garza running for the SAISD board, could Alamo Stadium with seating for 20k+, in a prime location just north of downtown serve as the home for SS&E’s team?
Can it be purchased from SAISD and converted to a soccer specific stadium? Can SAISD, any other local school district or a local university join forces with SS&E to build a multi-use stadium or (even better) a soccer specific stadium.
In addition to Alamo Stadium, UTSA is adding a major addition to their campus by building an Athletic Complex, including a soccer stadium.
In the proposed Verano Village across from the future Texas A&M – San Antonio, an interesting sketch of a multi-use soccer stadium has been released.
Overall, I’m encouraged about this interview with Peter Holt. For the first time, Spurs Sports & Entertainment comes out and validates their interest in soccer and moreso, their interest in having a multi-use stadium to serve as home to San Antonio’s future professional soccer franchise.
In closing, I offer a well-known chant to encourage SS&E: “Come on you Spurs!” – listen
What do you think?