June 27, 2019,
By Dan McLaughlin:
Today I had this op-ed published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I am writing to you because I am constantly asked about the status of MLS4THELOU and where it currently stands. So, I wanted to make sure that this is out there because I know many of you have questions about, “what’s next?” This isn’t a done deal yet. It’s close but, now is the time for all of us to get behind the soccer team and proposed stadium. Fans, business leaders, government officials need to word as one to make this dream a reality. By design, the ownership group stepped aside to make sure that the focus of local sports fans was on the Blues historic run to the Cup and that the Cardinals had settled into their season. Now, it’s time to once again focus on getting the final steps in place to bring MLS to our great city. I’m asked about what you, as a fan, can do to make sure this dream becomes a reality. Here are some thoughts and background on the latest developments and what lies ahead…
I love this city. I am very proud to have been born and raised here. And I could not be more proud of its amazing sports traditions and fans. From “Go crazy, folks!” to “Play Gloria” and hundreds of thousands of fans showing up for a Blues victory parade, we know how to support our teams.
You may be shocked to hear that as a broadcaster for our beloved Cardinals, I sometimes hear negative comments about St. Louis when I travel. Whether it’s an opposing team’s broadcaster or fan, I will always stop to tell them everything our city has to offer, and why St. Louis is a great place to live and work. And yes, while 11 World Series victories and (now) one Stanley Cup are easy proof points, it is important to know that sports are just part of the story.
More than $8 billion has been invested and committed to downtown St. Louis’ infrastructure and growth. From Ballpark Village to the new St. Louis Aquarium to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency campus being built in north St. Louis to the rapid tech startup community at Cortex and T-Rex, this city is on the move. We need to keep making progress. We need to show everyone we are constantly working to make our city better — not just standing still. While the boys in blue brought home the Cup to our town, we cannot, and should not, stop there. Let’s keep winning.
That’s why, alongside hundreds of thousands of other proud St. Louisans, I will continue to put my full support behind bringing a Major League Soccer team to St. Louis. I’ve been supportive of this effort since before I stood in front of the Board of Aldermen last year, and I will not stop advocating for this ownership group and our city until there is Major League Soccer in St. Louis.
I understand some people might still be hesitant after the previous plan to bring a team here did not work out, but the initial hard work from that effort in 2017 has led to a new and better plan. Thanks to the 100% St. Louis-based ownership team with deep roots and meaningful ties to our city, the new plan will be privately funded at a much higher percentage. The private investment from the Taylor and Kavanaugh families will lead to more revenue for the city, ultimately having a positive impact on the community.
Take a few minutes to picture something with me: It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon downtown. People from all over the region are in the streets wearing our team’s gear, showing city pride. Soccer fans from cities like Chicago, Kansas City and Dallas have traveled to St. Louis for a new rivalry game. Everyone from around the region is pouring into our city, admiring our new stadium and soaking in the energy we have downtown. The entire country is abuzz and is taking note that St. Louis is back to having three major professional sports teams. Our city, our citizens, our loved ones will have developed a thriving, even more beautiful St. Louis.
We can make this vision a reality.
The ownership team is setting us up for another win with significant private investments for both the new stadium and the MLS expansion fee. They have advocated for the city with Major League Soccer decision-makers. They have done everything possible to establish St. Louis as a frontrunner for one of the few available expansion slots.
While it’s not a done deal, the Taylor and Kavanaugh families have put in a lot of work to get this far and will need everyone’s continued support to get the bid over the finish line. Continued support from St. Louis City officials will be critical, especially concerning conclusion of the land transfer between MoDOT and the city to ensure it will be a clean, buildable site for the stadium.
I truly believe this ownership group is committed to being a great partner with the city and is working on a plan that will benefit all involved, so we cannot afford to let any missteps keep us from bringing a Major League Soccer club to St. Louis. Because why just have one Cup when we could potentially win another? Three sports teams — all with championships. Let’s make St. Louis the next title town.