Houston Struggling To Build SSS

Houston Struggling To Build SSS

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 27, 2007

Don’t be too mislead by the headline. The MLS wants AEG to sell off the Houston Dynamos to a local investers. Its not going to be a matter of if but a matter of when. The MLS wants it done and done soon.

Such a sale would not alter the entertainment giant’s plan to form a private-public partnership within weeks with the city to build a soccer stadium and have a provision to not move the two-time champions from the city.

The non-relocation provision would spell out that a new owner would pay a steep financial penalty for moving the team before a lease had expired, something I can’t see a new owner doing anyways with the recent on-field success of the Orange.

A group including Olympic gold medalist boxer Oscar de la Hoya is in negotiations to buy the team from AEG. Something that soccer fans in Houston and around the league have to think is cool. Maybe not as cool as Drew Carey being apart of the Seattle owners group but definitely cool enough to make waves in the press.

Rumors about the team’s sale spread after MLS Commissioner Don Garber weighed in on the issue days before the MLS Cup. “Houston will soon have a new owner,” he told The New York Times.

The biggest problem right now is the stadium situation in Houston. The Dynamo and AEG face a ridiculous legal battle with the Toyota Center. The Houston Rockets, who call the Toyota Center home, have a lease that prohibits the city from promoting or helping build a rival venue that would stage concerts.

But the provision expires in 2013, three years after the soccer stadium likely would open.

Andy Icken, the city’s deputy chief of public works, who is heading negotiations on a stadium deal, says the city understands AEG intendions to stage concerts at the stadium, but the city’s lawyers have assured him the proposed stadium deal would not violate the Rockets’ lease.

AEG hopes to build a 22,000-seat, open-air stadium that would cost $70 million to $80 million.

AEG wants a stadium deal in place before they sell the club to a local group. Why? They want the money from the stadium. Honestly, if a local group can get in and pony up the cash for the club and for a stadium that won’t be used for all the AEG-concerts (see Red Bull Park) then this is the type of deal the league and the club needs to get.

The problem is getting someone with enough money to get the club away from AEG at the right price to do so. Red Bull had to pony up a lot of cash to get the stadium the way they wanted it. I doubt someone in Houston will be able to do the same.

MLS wants AEG to sell Houston to someone soon, but it still may be a year away from happening.