The City of Louisville and Mayor Greg Fischer took a major step toward achieving Louisville City FC’s highest ambitions in American soccer on Wednesday, announcing a study on the feasibility of constructing a new soccer-specific stadium.
The USD$75,000 study is being conducted by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International – a leading advisory and planning firm based in Minneapolis – which will provide insight into the physical, operational and financial characteristics for building a new stadium in Louisville.
The study will examine four potential areas – including downtown Louisville – to see which area provides the greatest opportunity for a soccer-specific stadium that could also host a variety of events, such as international soccer matches, concerts, festivals and other community gatherings.
With Major League Soccer (MLS) expected to expand to as many as 28 teams, a move toward a soccer-specific stadium in Louisville sends a clear message.
The announcement comes with a suggestion that Louisville could “throw its hat” in the ring for MLS expansion in the future, as the team’s statement called the quest for a stadium a “clear message” about future ambitions.
The club, which completed their debut season in USL in 2015, currently plays at Louisville Slugger Field, home to the AAA Louisville Bats baseball team. Established as an affiliate of Orlando City, Louisville City reached the playoffs last season, led by former Chicago Fire forward and USL MVP Matt Fondy.
In a statement, Louisville City President, Amanda Duffy, said:
The step that the mayor’s office and the City of Louisville have taken is significant in the process to bring a soccer-specific stadium to Louisville. By engaging [commissioned firm] Conventions, Sports & Leisure International to deliver a recommended direction for a stadium location, as well as a path for project funding, illustrates the decisive action that we’re all taking to achieve the ambition of bringing the highest level of professional sports to Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Duffy elaborated on her remarks in an interview with Soccer By Ives:
This is huge. For us, short-term and long-term, a soccer-specific stadium that Louisville City can call ‘home’ is a necessary part of our business, our growth and our future, as a USL team, and we have higher aspirations for the next four or five years and as a soccer organisation.
If approved by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) board at its next commission meeting, an additional study to look at the feasibility of building an amateur and youth sports complex will be commissioned by the CVB. The complex could house sports such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and softball.
The timeline of the study and project details are yet to be determined. Louisville Forward, the city’s office of economic development, is actively collaborating with CSL on study parameters.
Source: Louisville City FC