Despite a resounding no vote from the community council of Oakley, the city of Cincinnati made a big step yesterday in its plan to get a stadium built in that area. The city council yesterday approved infrastructure improvements designed to facilitate the construction of a (privately-funded) soccer-specific stadium in that area.
At this point, Sacramento is all-but guaranteed to be the recipient of one of two available expansion slots for MLS’s December announcement, and while it had looked like Nashville was moving itself further and further ahead of the pack for the second, FC Cincinnati is determined (and now looks more successful in this than initially expected) to remain in the hunt.
As was discussed in depth today, today’s vote does not mean that we will break ground tomorrow. What the affirmative vote does mean, however, is that we can continue to work with the City, the County, the Oakley Community Council, the citizens of Oakley and residents across the City, to finalize a plan that works in the best interests of the neighborhood, the City overall and FCC.
“We will work with people who voted against this two days ago” isn’t the most promising status, but at this point, there’s a real threat that Cincinnati will indeed have a viable and realistic plan for a stadium come MLS decision time. If that does indeed come to fruition, the more established USL team (and perhaps throwing a bone to the state of Ohio, after MLS is going to let the Crew’s trash owner move the team to Texas, where he is about to run into issues getting a municipality to give a free stadium to a billionaire – you know, the same issues he’s having in Columbus) could be a problem from Nashville SC’s MLS push.
Of course, that Nashville already has full approval for a stadium, a private-public partnership ready to break ground almost literally the instant an MLS franchise is hypothetically awarded, and a much bigger media market (No. 26 in the country and growing, whereas Cincinnati is No. 35 and shrinking – and of course there’s a likelihood that soccer fans throughout Ohio don’t embrace MLS because of hurt feelings about enabling human trash Anthony Precourt and the Crew’s move) are all feathers in NSC’s cap – along with this serious pushback from the community of Oakley that the city of Cincinnati seems to be trying to brush aside.
Obviously neither bid is perfect (at this point, they appear to me to be the only reasonable ones still on the table for the December announcement timeline), but this certainly brings Cincinnati closer to Nashville in a race that could go down to the wire.