More on Major League Soccer in Houston
This Soccer Times story makes Major League Soccer in Houston sound like an almost-done deal:
This left Houston as probably the only option that appealed to Grupo Televisa. However, the league has been stymied for some time trying to find a place to play. Reliant Stadium, where the National Football League's Houston Texans play, was looked at, but its ownership did not want to become MLS franchise owners at this time, nor did it want to become landlord. Other venues were looked at, including the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium, but have been dismissed for various other reasons. Now, according to local media reports, an inventive solution may have been found - playing in the all but abandoned Astrodome.
Since Reliant was built, the only thing the Astrodome has been used for, besides some high school events, is the two-week long Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which draws over two million attendees each year to the February event. Otherwise, it sits empty, much as Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium did before MLS's D.C. United became its main tenant 10 years ago.
Televisa executives Javier Perez Teuffer and Juan de Villa Franca have recently visited Houston for talks with Mayor Bill White and Houston Sports Authority head Oliver Luck. In addition, operational personnel from Club America have toured the Astrodome.
There reportedly are a number of issues still to be solved, including what kind of playing surface would be used. The Astrodome has a permanent roof, and when baseball and football were played there, growing grass was a lost cause, leading to the advent of AstroTurf. A grass tray system is being studied.
In any event, the Astrodome would be a temporary solution until a soccer-specific facility could be built.
Yep. We have to keep the Sports Authority busy so Oliver Luck can keep his job. How much farther do you think hotel and rental car tax revenues can be stretched? Enough to fund a new soccer stadium?
The story also relays what went wrong for MLS in San Antonio:
A memorandum of understanding was signed between MLS and the San Antonio City Council, but then the agreement became a political football in the mayoral election campaign to choose who would succeed Garza. Phil Hardberger, the 70-year-old former business executive who ended up winning had based a part of his campaign on his opposition to the deal with MLS.
"Goodbye, that's what I would tell the MLS," Hardberger said when asked what he would say to MLS commissioner Don Garber. "Call us again in about 10 years. We'll see what the market looks like (and) whether you really can bring money into San Antonio."
Fortunately for Major League Soccer, Mayor White and Oliver Luck won't be quite so worried about whether or not MLS can bring money into Houston; quite the opposite actually: Houstonians should worry about how much money those two will give to MLS for the privilege of bringing a team here.
RELATED: bH's Sports Authority archives