City Council Votes to Bring MLS to Austin

MLS in Austin
Aug 21, 2018 · 4 min read
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It’s now been a few days and the enormity of last week’s city council vote is really just now starting to sink in. It was an amazing day, a historic day, for our city. Austin is getting its first major league sports franchise.

It’s hard to fathom the positive impacts that this decision will have on our city. We will be the only city in the country with an MLS franchise as it’s sole major league team. We hope that the team will become the pride and joy of our city much like San Antonio feels about the Spurs. For those who did not grow up in Austin or attend UT, there will finally be a team to rally around and call your own at McKalla Place.

Beyond the team and the stadium, let’s look at what else Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer worked out with the City Council and staff. We think you’ll agree with us that a partner has come ready to be unparalleled community leader.

Here’s what PSV/MLS will be doing for Austin and on this site:

  • Build a privately financed $200 million stadium on a long vacant, city-owned property
  • Give the stadium to the city and then pay rent to use it.
  • There are no subsidies. Not one dime of taxpayer money is going towards financing the stadium or towards team operations.
  • Pay more in rent, transit improvements, bus station, and girls and boys soccer support than it likely would have paid in city taxes.
  • Guaranteed affordable housing onsite. Millions are to be donated to affordable housing nonprofits locally.
  • Pay $3.6 million towards transportation improvements, which could include MetroRail.
  • Plant Over 400 new trees are included in the site plan
  • Build almost a mile worth of trails that connect to Walnut Creek trail system.
  • Guarantee millions of dollars for local girls and boys youth soccer leagues
  • Make thousands of low-cost and free tickets available to community groups every year.
  • Provide a 15 acre public park space year round for events beyond soccer and the city will be able to stage events in the stadium.

If that seemed like a long list, it’s because it is one. This has been called one of the best, if not the best, stadium public-private partnership ever done in the US. We are incredibly proud of our City Council, the City Staff, and PSV/MLS for their work together in crafting this agreement.

What’s Next?

There are now six months until the 2019 MLS preseason begins, and we have already been getting questions like these from fans all over Central Texas:

  • Where will the team play while the stadium is being built?
  • What are the team colors going to be like?
  • What is the name of the team?
  • Who are the players and how can we get to know them?
  • Does the lawsuit in Ohio affect anything here?
  • When can I buy season tickets?
  • When would all of this be announced?

We’re looking forward to having these questions answered by the ownership group soon. We don’t have a timeframe for these, but in the meantime there is still much work to be done. Our MLS in Austin Supporters Group will be re-branding and re-launching in in the near future. We will have an organizational structure in place to create an incredible fan experience and community involvement opportunities. We’re going to need help for TIFO, chants, events, and charity/volunteer work. We’ll also be hosting “Get to know the League” watch parties (coming soon!). There will be many ways for you to get involved in our growing community!

As for the lawsuit in Ohio, we are not legal experts on Ohio law, but it is our belief, having followed this closely for months, that a settlement would be in everyone’s best interest rather than a long drawn out court case. We hope that closure comes in the case and that soccer fans in Columbus have a foundation for a team in their near future.

As the official supporters group of our team we invite you to join and celebrate with us this historic achievement for Austin. As our founder Josh Babetski said during our post vote celebration:

“We’ve been working to build to this moment for more than five years. We realized, at one point, that we were building a community that is a supporters group, but is really a community of families bonded together through the love of soccer. Our job every Saturday will be yelling and screaming to support our team. The other six days of the week are about giving back and being a part of Austin and we, as the supporters group, are committed to doing that. We are building a supporters group for everyone in Austin. We don’t care where you came from. We don’t care what color you are, what language you speak, or who you love — you belong here with us together and we are bonded through soccer. Thank you to everyone who’s believed in this!”

If you’d like to thank any of the City Council members or staff that worked to pass this resolution here are their contact information:

  • Mayor Stephen Adler —
  • Council Member Jimmy Flannigan —
  • Council Member Pio Renteria —
  • Council Member Delia Garza —
  • Council Member Ann Kitchen —
  • Council Member Kathie Tovo —
  • Council Member Gregorio Casar —
  • City Manager Spencer Cronk —

Thank you for your support!

If you found this article interesting, please click the “clap”👋 icon a bunch of times to help other local soccer fans and members of the Austin community find it. Click the “follow” button to keep up with the latest MLS in Austin SG stories on Medium.

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