Uh oh: Sports Authority still working on Major League Soccer deal

Here's a perfect example of why the Sports Authority should be sunsetted out of existence:

Officials with Mexican soccer league champion Club América hope to continue talks in the next two weeks about prospects for a Major League Soccer franchise in Houston that eventually could play in a new stadium developed in conjunction with the Houston Independent School District.


Oliver Luck, CEO of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, who has been working with Club América and other groups interested in bring MLS to Houston, expects a resolution to Club América's plans by the end of next week.


Luck said several potential investors have met with the sports authority and with the Houston Independent School District about a proposed 20,000-seat stadium plus a smaller practice field to be built at the site of HISD-owned Delmar Stadium.

The proposed HISD stadium, which would cost an estimated $45 million to $50 million, would be a smaller-scale version of a 117-acre, $80 million project that will open this summer in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. That project, which includes a 20,000-seat stadium and 17 soccer fields, was funded by $15 million from the Frisco school district, $20 million from Collin County, $20 million from city economic development entities and $10 million from Hunt Sports Group, which owns FC Dallas and will manage the complex.

Oliver Luck has been busy, hasn't he? And there's not a hint on the Sports Authority's website that any of this has been going on.

The first thing I did was contact HISD to find out what its part in this proposed deal is. Terry Abbott responded that HISD will not commit any money. He said that HISD was approached about providing a stadium that would be improved with outside money and would be used jointly by HISD and MLS.

The Chron's story is light on funding details, but we hope it would be ALL private funding! And any deal had better not include those little "helps" that the Sports Authority/taxpayers are currently providing, for example, to the Rockets (parking garage) and the Aeros (ice).

[MLS spokesman Simon]Borg said Houston's plans were neither helped nor hindered by the recent collapse of plans to award a franchise to San Antonio. MLS officials this month ended talks with the city and said local officials were not bargaining in good faith. That came after new Mayor Phil Hardberger opposed plans to grant MLS a favorable lease on the city-owned Alamodome.

And what happened in San Antonio? Well, in April the cost of bringing a soccer team to San Antonio skyrocketed from $6 million to more than $20 million. And then this month, talks completely collapsed, apparently due to financial concerns -- including MLS's plan to use the Alamodome rent-free.

RELATED: Billy Burge: THE best reason to shut down the Sports Authority!(bH), Chron soccer columnist backs yet another new stadium (bH), Sports Authority's near-miss with junk-bond status (PubliusTX)

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 06/17/05 03:27 PM | Print |

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