Less than month since NFL owners gave their thumbs up to Stan Kroenke and his plans to move the football Rams to Los Angeles, a new task force has been established to lure a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to St. Louis.
Self-tabbed the MLS2STL Group, the group of local business and sports leaders have organized to “explore and advance” the city’s fit with the growing league.
MLS recently announced plans to grow the league to 28 teams, and St. Louis is being considered for a future expansion club.
We look forward to working with the group to further evaluate St. Louis and see if it is ready for an MLS expansion team.
Don Garber, MLS Commissioner
“We know St. Louis is a tremendous soccer market and are pleased to see many prominent business and sports leaders becoming involved in the efforts to bring a Major League Soccer team to the downtown area,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “We look forward to working with the group to further evaluate St. Louis and see if it is ready for an MLS expansion team.”
The group, which includes the former NFL task force leader Dave Peacock, will work closely with the staff and select members of the St. Louis Sports Commission to conduct baseline market assessments for a potential team owner or owners, including the exploration of stadium sites, funding options and overall viability of the St. Louis region as a home to an MLS expansion franchise.
Some members of the group already have been scouting potential locations for a new stadium that would host the team. The north riverfront site where a new football stadium was proposed and financed in order to keep the Rams is one possibility. The St. Louis firm Space Architecture and Design last month released a preliminary proposal for is sunken soccer-only stadium immediately south of Union Station.
Members of the MLS2STL Group include, in alphabetical order:
· Bill DeWitt III, president, St. Louis Cardinals.
· Rob Ebert, partner, Bryan Cave law firm.
· Jim Kavanaugh, Co-Founder and chief executive officer, World Wide Technology and Investor/owner of St. Louis Football Club of the United Soccer League and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
· Vicky Lynch, consultant, Lynch Sports and Events.
· Bob O’Loughlin, president, Lodging Hospitality Management.
· Dave Peacock, chairman of the board of directors of the St. Louis Sports Commission and former president of Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
· Jim Powers, president, UniGroup.
· Jim Woodcock, senior vice president and partner, global sports co-lead, FleishmanHillard.
· Chris Zimmerman, president and CEO of Scottrade Center, Peabody Opera House and the St Louis Blues.