Scorpions propose 10,000-seat stadium expansion as part of MLS push

ToyotaFieldProposal

By CARL SETTERLUND

The San Antonio Scorpions are thinking big.

The Scorpions released a proposal on Tuesday to expand the their soccer-specific home venue, Toyota Field, by roughly 10,000 seats as part of the city’s ongoing push to gain an MLS franchise. The club currently plays in NASL, but has a desire to reach the United States and Canada’s top league in the near future.

“The escalating interest in the Scorpions and professional soccer over the past two years has been mind-boggling,” said Soccer for a Cause founder Gordon Hartman through a San Antonio Scorpions press release. “We are blessed to be a franchise playing in the North American Soccer League, however we must be prepared to expand once support and investment are secured to allow for additional opportunities.

“We want to be ready to take our venue to the next level as fan and sponsor support in soccer continues to grow.  The recent World Cup competition serves as a great example that the most popular sport internationally is gaining even more popularity all over the globe including San Antonio and South Texas.”

San Antonio has repeatedly finished near the top of the NASL in attendance, averaging over 80 percent of capacity since opening its 8,000-seat stadium in 2013.

An expansion to Toyota Field would mean the Scorpions could fit up to 18,000 fans on game days, making it the third-largest NASL stadium and put it roughly on par with most MLS soccer-specific stadiums.

The cost of the improvements is estimated at around $38-45 million, while the stadium design comes courtesy of Pro Sports Developments of San Antonio.

The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas are currently the two Texas-based clubs in MLS. The league has announced that it plans to expand to 24 teams by the end of the decade, and it is believed that the race for that 24th franchise is currently wide open.

—–

What do you think of the Scorpions’ proposed plans for stadium expansion? Intrigued by the possibilities? Would you like to see a three-way Texas derby in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- Expansion, NASL. Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Scorpions propose 10,000-seat stadium expansion as part of MLS push

  1. Increase0 says:

    Toyota, you gotta stop sponsoring fields. That’s 3 now and I can’t tell where we are even talking about anymore.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    A rendering is almost an injustice to SA because they already have this:
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Unlike many of the current spate of expansion teams, SA has a stadium built it can expand, not a stadium plan or a piggyback arrangement which is not built yet.

    I see it as like Montreal — with slightly worse attendance — because you have a decent fan base of an established team plus the core of the stadium built. It would take little to realize the next step, and SA is big enough and pro-soccer enough to scale up to MLS.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Not sure if the link works, so:
      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Increase0 says:

      That’s quite nice actually. It’s small but rather nice.

    • Ian says:

      Very nice stadium. You’re right, the rendering doesn’t do the current stadium justice at all. If San Antonio has the fan support AND the stadium, what more can MLS ask? San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the US. Of the top 10 US cities, only Phoenix (#6), San Antonio (#7), and San Diego (#8) lack MLS franchises.

      • RK says:

        San Antonio MSA is 25th — a much better measurement. link to en.wikipedia.org

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Except what if the MSA is really split for practical soccer purposes? Are people going to travel all over these MSAs to watch games? Don’t we routinely talk about how Dallas’ and Chicago’s stadiums are poorly situated to draw well?

          That is, how many fans will cross this or that bridge in NY to see different teams play in different spots, or whether it almost requires neighborhood teams in a European sense, eg, Arsenal, Spurs, CFC, FFC, West Ham, and QPR each having their own London stomping grounds.

          We’ve discussed this regarding whether City or Cosmos draw from similar or different people than the Red Bulls across the river.

          Meanwhile, SA has no soccer competition, one other big league team in town (Spurs), and minor league hockey and baseball. Like Sac or Indy, there is some advantage to not being a big town with a full sports menu, but rather just big enough and motivated.

          • Clyde Frog says:

            Chicago, yes probably. But Dallas’ stadium location is fine.

            • Ian says:

              No to all the countless Dallas fans who complain about the location here and elsewhere on the interbitchnet.

              • Increase0 says:

                Its far but when you compare it to driving to Arlington(Jerry World) or even down town to the AA center (terrible traffic) its pretty much normal for the Dallas area.

                If you dont take the toll road its horrible though.

            • Hogatroge says:

              Been to several FC Dallas matches. Frisco is a frickin’ long drive from actual Dallas.

            • r.benjamin says:

              As I understand it , it’s pretty damn far from Dallas but Frisco and surrounding are growing like crazy. In a few years the local population will support FC Dallas

          • White Kix says:

            Aren’t most Metro areas surrounding a downtown? Thus, a downtown stadium would be centrally located for the MSA. Where as, if you built in the northern part of the MSA, residents of the southern part of the MSA would have a 1 to 2 hour drive. If the stadium is located centrally (Presumably downtown for most MSA’s), everyone in the MSA would have a drive less than an hour. Sense population is typically denser the closer to downtown you get, the vast majority of the MSA would live within half an hour of the stadium. Thus, if a market will have a centrally located stadium, MSA seems to be the better metric. If the stadium is not centrally located, then something like the population within a 30 mile radius would be a good metric. But either way, simple city population wouldn’t be better (It can help, but city limits vary greatly. In the Northeast they aren’t as expansive since other towns border them, West and South there is more room, so city limits were able to expand to what would be part of the MSA in the northeast).

  3. Wow. I didn’t realize San Antonio was the largest city without an MLS team besides Phoenix.

    But won’t they have the same issues with heat the Phoenix has?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Not any different than Houston or Dallas.

    • Maximilian says:

      Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio all share the same climate region, Humid Subtropical. Although Houston is def the worst for humidity. Phoenix shares the same climate region as Las Vegas, Desert. I have lived in San Antonio and Houston as well as Tucson, AZ 2 hrs away from Phoenix. Even on the worst days in TX I still felt I could be active outside, that wasnt always the case in AZ. I think the biggest difference was the clouds in TX versus lack of clouds/moisture in AZ. But in AZ after the hottest part of the day passes it becomes pretty magical out there, and 60 degrees in the winter is wonderful.

    • Ian says:

      Actually it’s the second largest without an MLS team, behind Phoenix.

    • RK says:

      25th by MSA.

  4. JayAre says:

    So when can you start SA?

  5. Maximilian says:

    Man I wish San Antonio could have built the stadium downtown, I can remember going to Spurs games at the old Hemisphere Arena and how much fun it was to just walk around after a game. Plus all the tourists already downtown would probably make it easier for people to attend a game.

    • beto says:

      If your going to build outside of downtown it must be really nice and in an accessible area like SKC’s stadium and have a large field complex for an academy etc like a few other have. This seems to have both.

      Defiantly a compelling bid.

    • H-Town says:

      I live in SA. Parking is a nightmare in downtown. The location is fantastic because it is on the I-35 corridor right outside the inner loop. That opens it up to New Braunfels and Schertz crowd, even up to Austin.

      It was a great location. Which is why the have fantastic crowds for a NASL side.

  6. Steve says:

    Sacramento is currently averaging twice the attendance of San Antonio, at the same level. Since moving to an 8k seat stadium, they’re selling out every game, and also expanding this offseason.

    I could see San Antonio joining MLS and averaging 13-18k. Kind of like Dallas, right down to the suburban location and the stadium name.

    I could see Sacramento averaging 20-30k. Sacramento recently had over 20k for NASL regular season match!

    Sacramento is a much better option than SA, in my opinion.

    • beto says:

      +1 move Chivas there already!!!

      • Maximilian says:

        I like that idea, maybe one day we will have promotion/relegation

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Indy plays at a college, Sac moved from the college to a smaller stadium, and MN is riding the tailcoats of the Vikings. SA has more control over scaling up and would not be on a NFL stadium timeline.

        However, I think you present an interesting solution to the Chivas problem, if you got Sac back into the college stadium. Rebranding Chivas in LA would be a gamble on whether fans can become reinterested or if it’s a lost cause. But attendance this season suggests current Sacramento excitement. MLS sells the teams and gets back some money, and the new owners keep the team in state but somewhere the fans are motivated and not beat down by all the history.

    • brandon says:

      I have to disagree. Comparing the upper east side of San Antonio with Frisco is a bit silly seeing as there is no comparison between the two. San Antonio is a large city but our stadium is actually IN SAN ANTONIO. FC Dallas’ is in Frisco which is not Dallas. So, no they are not even remotely alike. Toyota Field is a relatively short drive from the population center of San Antonio. Unlike many places, our population center is the north central part of the city, which is really close to the stadium. Frisco is not situated quite as nicely. We also already have an actual privately financed stadium , not just renderings. Sacramento has a mayor that has already stated that no public money would go to a soccer stadium, so I’m not sure how the financial side of things would work out. I would love to see another team in northern California, but it probably isn’t happening anytime soon.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Antonio; all areas we already have a presence in. We need more south east teams!!!

  7. Soccer God Texas 915 says:

    The problem is that MLS wants downtown stadiums and no more MLS 1.0 stadiums,like chicago or dallas.
    If you make it out in the city, then it has to be SKC style, powerful with design and technology innovated.
    Another important fact, Fc dallas will never be what it could have been inside Dallas, and MLS does not want to take another risk.
    Houston got it right but the design is kinda weird and if Austin puts a soccer stadium downtown, that would be a no brainer for MLS.
    In final thought, Dallas has everything wrong name to stadium location, Houston has it right but who’s better Austin or San Antonio and darkhorse El Paso.
    I read an article MLS would love El Paso due the mexican border, that would give MLS an international appeal just like with Canada. El Paso has downtown land, stadium money, fan support but lacks national sponsors and support.
    If San Antonio really wants MLS, make one in downtown and keep the NASL stadium for the academy team or local high school games.

    • RK says:

      MLS just wants money.

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

        NO !?!?!

        A business trying to make money. Man, what has this world come to. They should be in it for the purity of the soccer like all the other leagues of the world.

    • Brian says:

      Toyota Field is much closer to downtown San Antonio than FCD’s stadium is to downtown Dallas (less than half the distance). The biggest problem for FCD is that the stadium is north of the city in an area no one goes to unless they live there. Toyota Field is just off of I35 on the way to Austin and still falls within the city limits of San Antonio. It is an hour from Austin, 40 minutes from San Marcos, and 30 minutes from New Braunfels.

      The fact that San Antonio has a stadium, plans to expand, and ownership makes it much better than Austin.

    • H-Town says:

      Soccer God Texas,

      You don’t know San Antonio very well. The stadium is 10 minutes from downtown… It is at the inner loop and I-35. It is a great location and has plenty of parking.

  8. Maximilian says:

    Strictly speaking about the stadium upgrade, they want to install a vertical light beacon that could be seen throughout the area during matches to let you know the home team is playing. It would turn red during goals and after a win. That is pretty cool. Like a bat signal

  9. Max says:

    “Scorpions” kind of sucks as a name, right?

    Very minor league/MLS 1.0 IMO.

  10. DYCSoccer17 says:

    So let’s see…they can only fill their 8,000 seat stadium to 80% capacity, so that means it’s cool to add another 10,000 seats? In Sacramento, they have been filling 8,000 seat stadiums and 20,000 seat stadiums to capacity for a 3rd division team.

    • MLSsnob says:

      We get it, you’re a Sacramento fan boy. The problem is two fold here; Sacramento is in an area with a huge MLS market, Portland, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver, etc. also, it’s their first year. Give them a couple more years with that performance then come back.

      • brandon says:

        agreed the scorpions sold out at over 10k multiple times their first yr in a terrible high school fb stadium . first game did over 13k. let’s see how sacto is doing 3 years down the road. If you guys are doing 13k people every game(not happening) , then you all will likely already own the rights to the next MLS franchise. I doubt that happens. It is perfectly normal to see nasl teams’ attendance drop a whole lot once the new car smell wears off. 2nd div soccer in the US is a tough sell. All of the potential new markets for MLS are intruiging.

      • r.benjamin says:

        Now now .. no reason for SA and Sacto to battle it out.
        Both should be turning on Miami or Chivas in LA.

        The SA stadium is impressive. Would think if Sac could pull off something similar at the rail yards MLS has to make it happen.
        6 solid West Coast teams with little travel between and epic (MLS level at least) rivalries would be huge.

      • Tom says:

        “Sacramento is in an area with a huge MLS market, Portland, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver, etc. ”

        What do you mean, here? Sacramento is 500, 100, 600, and 700 miles from those locations. That seems like a pretty good level of separation.

  11. NASL to El Paso TX says:

    I dont think austin soccer fans would support mls in san antonio since austin is getting uslpro, right?If I was scorpions owner, i would buy land downtown and save it for an mls downtown stadium and bust an earthquakes move by playing at the small stadium until mls takes me in.
    As for the team name and stadium design, really poor thinking and planning.
    I guess the scorpions owner never thought other cities would be better than san antonio, in terms of soccer planning.
    So how many teams will be in mls, 26,28,30. will mls think of mls2 or moving chivasusa? will austin respond to san antonio with stadium renderings?
    Garber, youre in the budweiser hot seat :)

    • Clyde Frog says:

      Except Garber isn’t the one picking expansion teams.

      • NASL to El Paso TX says:

        In reality who does, his wallet? :)
        Anyway, i have said before that mls needs to give LA2 and Miami more time as in 3 to 4 years so they can get their stadium and team right, and for now relocate the chivasusa franchise.
        by doing that, mls will have 3 open expansion spots now, and would help with expansion and planning.
        Per se, miami and los angeles2 would be teams 25,26 and that would create a lot of attention for mls.
        Therefore, i.suggest selling chivas to Vegas, expand to sacramento and minneapolis and LA2 & miami can be teams 25,26 and give time to austin and san antonio to see who wins the battle.

        • Maximilian says:

          I agree with that, why the rush. Allow the cities time to set up an a better product.

          • MLS Don Garber says:

            Exactly, the best option is to relocate and sell chivas to vegas or sacramento.
            By relocating and selling Chivas, and letting Miami and Los Anegeles 2 come in as 25, 26 team will grab attention from the whole world.
            The bad thing for San Antonio is that Austin want MLS and MLS wants Austin, given that Austin is another Portland or Seattle. Just let San Antonio and Austin go at war with each other and one of them can be the 27 or 28 team, after, vegas, sacramento, minneapolis, miami, LA2
            Whats so difficult about that?

            • Increase0 says:

              Austin is still UT land. Its not quite the same. But it might work. Hipsters are all about Austin right now. They come for the concerts and dont go home.

  12. chuck says:

    chivas usa should move there now. give LA2 an expansion slot

  13. brandon says:

    I don’t really see Austin working out. Outside of UT, it’s not exactly a local sports hotbed. There is a huge percentage of transplants from around the US there and I think that it could potentially suffer a similar issue to that of Las Vegas and Tampa Bay in MLB. There is simply not enough actual locals without prior roooting interest to support a team. Now, if there were a functioning rail system between the two cities(SA and Austin), it would significantly help either city. Sadly our state turns down mass transit funding like a 5 years old turns down vegetables.

    • Maximilian says:

      Man they were talking about that rail system when I was little it would be so beneficial

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      UT sucks the air out of the sporting landscape, and if that doesn’t get them, the NIMBY/Green element would make it even harder than usual to set up a stadium. If you want to put it downtown, all the little rules about how tall or big a building can be relative to the capitol come into play.

      The hipster element of Austin is either not going to attend soccer because it’s fascist or would be interested as a trend and then lose interest.

      • MLS Don Garber says:

        I dont think so, Austin has the Xgames, 6th street, sxsw, ACL, longhorns football team which is the NFL for Austin and their basketball team which is average and their tripleA stadium which is in Round Rock, oh and their granprix
        So saying that, Austin would be gold for MLS, and they know it.
        San Antonio knows MLS is not taking them seriously, given that so many other cities would have a downtown stadium.

        • brandon says:

          The x games were there once and that particular even draws from all over. All of those music festivals happen once a year and draw people from all over the country. Austin IS a big music town. The f1 track…same deal(notice anything repeating here?) saying a bunch of annual or one-off events that draw as many non-locals as locals, means that they would be a successful pro soccer town, seems a bit presumptuous. Ditto for UT football. Draws from all over Texas, not just Austin. Their usl team folded after a couple of relatively anonymous seasons. Not saying it’s impossible, but to act like it is some sort of slam dunk is pretty off.

        • brandon says:

          Also, I’m curious as to where this downtown Austin stadium would be located. Was there a proposed location that I missed?

  14. JB says:

    the franchise system for soccer is so stupid. Fork over $70 million to join a league? Think of how better off we’d be if clubs didn’t have to do this and could put that money into development, infrastructure. stadium etc.

    • don lamb says:

      You fail to recognize the merits of a centralized structure to the league. Mainly, it provides sustainability, consistency, stability, and other things that investors are looking for.

      MLS can charge these entry fees because of the current stability and future growth opportunities that it presents. If it were one bigass free for all, the thing would be potentially unstable, and it would unquestionably be a riskier investment. It definitely would not have stood a much lesser chance of surviving the rocky first decade of it’s existence.

      The list of owners who are willing to spend the amount of money to put a serious product on the field that can contend with NFL, MLB, and NBA is growing. However, even at this point, the league is not ready for that sort of shift.

      There are a few more pieces of infrastructure (including teams) that need to put in place, so we will not see any change in the league’s influence before then. But then, even with an established league, there will be the question whether or not it might still be in the best interests of the stakeholders to indeed leave everything centralized?

      • JB says:

        when looking at the pro and cons of a franchise league stability is a pro. But, soccer is popular enough now where a real league could flourish. Soccer isn’t going anywhere. Franchise leagues limit growth.

    • Brian says:

      promotion/relegation is even more stupid. Risk millions on development and infrastructure on the chance you will be relegated? That is how you end up with 2-4 teams with money and 16-18 teams without.

  15. johnnyrazor says:

    Lets just start the true second division. America needs relegation now! Its as American as it comes, not performing your booted out, pick yourself up dust off, and work your tail off back on top you go.

    East
    Charlotte
    NY Cosmos
    Ottawa
    Minneapolis
    Tampa
    St. Louis

    West
    Phoenix
    Sacramento
    Las Vegas
    San Diego
    San Antonio
    Edmonton

    Champs of each division qualify and the two second places meet for the final spot. MLS2 teams may only have one designated player, and salary cap would be a percentage of MLS cap since TV deals and sponsorship revenue would be less. MLS would draft first two rounds of draft and then MLS2 would get a round, after that everyone player in the draft becomes free agent.

    For all of you that actually read to the end of this, yes I know this will never happen.

  16. EQeki says:

    Another Joke of a stadium design in Texas

    All texas MLS stadiums need to look like a miniature versions of the houston texans stadium.. It’s too damn hot in texas and the stadiums need a fully covered roof