MLS Expansion: Okay, Throw Tampa In The Mix

MLS Expansion: Okay, Throw Tampa In The Mix

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 28, 2012
  • Features, MLS Expansion

Well in my last post yesterday I said i hoped it would be the last MLS expansion talk of the day, week, month and year. It turns out the MLS expansion rumor mill thought differently.

Thanks to a little hat-tip from Shawn Francis (you all remember him right?), there is a group down in Tampa Bay that has some wild and ambitious plans to get a stadium, with a roof, and a MLS team.

VSI Flames, Inc. (VSI Tampa Bay Flames) recently entered in to a formal agreement with its funding partner PRI Development Partners LLC for the purpose of providing the Tampa Bay region with a first class and purpose built soccer stadium along with a separate 20+ training field and Academy complex.

So get this, the stadium will be a 28,888 seat stadium, with a retractable roof, and the ability to increase the capacity to 40,000. The cost of all of this will be somewhere around $400 million. Say huh?

TOR does a good job of breaking down who all is and could be involved in this madness of a story in Tampa. There are some names that many soccer fans will be able to notice right away.

I admitted earlier that I really had no words for this story. I still really don’t even though I am almost 200 words in to this post.

It should be noted that their MLS hopes are part of a long-term project, so let’s not go too crazy or overboard on the whole MLS thing right now. This group seems to be willing to take the baby steps of getting a USL team together first before they move up the ladder. Which is good.

This whole thing screams pipe dream to me though. It’s a nice plan, that reminds me of one that we saw in St. Louis a few years ago and one that we saw in Ottawa as well. Big, bold, ambitious plans to sound attractive to MLS. I’m not saying it won’t happen but I’m also not buying into it just yet.

Okay, back of the expansion bus…for now.