Tuesday, October 9, 2018

#atxcouncil: The Soccer Stadium DEBACLE Gets WORSE

"Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
And he sins who hastens with his feet."
Proverbs 19:2

From yesterday's Statesman:
A date that could have marked the end for Major League Soccer coming to Austin will come and go without much commotion.

Lawyers from Precourt Sports Ventures and the city of Austin are still drafting the final lease and development contract for a Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place. The terms sheet approved by the Austin City Council in August specified Oct. 9 as a day when either side could terminate the deal if a final agreement had not been reached. Although signatures are still likely months away, representatives from both sides told the American-Statesman that they have no intentions of backing out.

"It was there as a failsafe, just in case there were any substantial roadblocks and things just weren't coming together," David Green, a spokesman for the city, told the Statesman. "It would allow either party to back out, but wasn't meant as a hard deadline. We're coming up on Oct. 9, and right now we've made very good progress. There isn't any reason for either party to consider invoking that clause of the terms sheet at this time."

MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who works for PSV, declined to comment other than to say he agrees with the city about Oct. 9.


"We always said it would take 90 to 120 days," Green said. "We're still confident in that as a good window. November, December timeframe, probably more likely to be December as both sides go through multiple reviews from their lawyers to make sure everything is above board before anybody signs anything."

While both sides agree things are moving smoothly, there are still several potential stumbling blocks, starting with the lingering uncertainty surrounding the possible relocation of Columbus Crew SC. Team investor-operator Anthony Precourt, who started exploring a move in October 2017, intended to finalize a move for the 2019 season, but MLS has yet to sign off. A lawsuit hangs over proceedings in Ohio, and appears unlikely to be resolved by the end of the 2018 season.


MLS normally releases its schedule for the coming year in early January, with the first games kicking off in early March. PSV had a brand reveal for a potential MLS team, to be called Austin FC, but other specifics for a possible 2019 launch (season tickets, temporary stadium, etc.) are on hold.


There's also the matter of local opposition from political action committee IndyAustin, which is circulating a petition challenging the stadium deal.

[Note: Emphasis added.]

To recap:

  • They're aiming for a final contract in December...but they're expecting to be able to play games in March?!?

    That seems...ambitious!
  • The lawsuit in Columbus remains unresolved, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.
  • Speaking of lawsuits, there's one coming in Austin the deal is finalized.  The only reason it hasn't happened yet is because you need a final signed contract before a plaintiff has standing.  Does anyone doubt the 3rd Court of Appeals will issue a temporary injunction?!?
  • They have to get through the petition campaign.

    [Note: They won't; Soccer fans don't vote.]
  • They don't even have a temporary stadium agreement!!!  Yet they want to play games in MARCH of next year.  NEWSFLASH: It's already mid-October!!!
  • It's long been rumored that the team wants to use UT's facilities as a temporary stadium.  It's not a secret that UT isn't particularly interested.  Given everything we know about how the University of Texas does business, just IMAGINE what UT would end up charging Precourt in a situation where they have THIS much leverage.
The best part, however, is that this is exactly what we warned Council would happen:

Oh well, they're the ones who chose not to listen.

Bottom Line: This is going down exactly how we predicted, and it's only going to get worse (for Adler and Precourt)....

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