The stadium-financing fairy will pay for new MLS venue (updated)

John Lopez tries to reassure us that Houston's new soccer team won't be a burden to taxpayers:

And among the first promises [newly named club president Oliver] Luck announced was a most important one that every sports fan should note: A soccer-specific stadium here would not be financed like every other sports mansion on the local landscape.

Financing will not be another tax burden on citizens. Now you're talking our language, Oliver.

It should matter to you that Luck is in charge. Even if you couldn't care less about the beautiful game and all those men with funny hair and short shorts, if the No Names' stadium is put in the right place and run the right way, you benefit.

Luck's vast experience with projects bigger than the likely 25,000- to 30,000-seat soccer-specific stadium gives this organization a head start succeeding.

With associations with all the usual suspects when it comes to ownership — Chuck Watson, Jim McIngvale, Tilman Fertitta, etc. — Luck is ahead of the game. He also has been contacted by potential owners from Mexico.

And with his experience helping develop Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park, he certainly could hammer out a public-private partnership with, say, HISD.

Being eternally skeptical, I'll await the details our local media will surely dig up.

UPDATE: Do NOT miss Slampo:

In a textbook case of government “empire building,” Oliver Luck and the Sports Authority have been angling for several years to bring an MLS franchise to Houston---a job that by no stretch of the imagination was part of the authority’s initial charge. The Sports Authority should have been shuttered long ago and its bill-paying functions housed in a back office of some non-descript office building with a hand-lettered sign on the door. Didn’t County Judge Robert Eckels raise that possibility a while back? What happened with that?

Last year, in his role as the Sports Authority’s chief officer, Luck gave a speech in which he told an East End group that a revamped Robertson Stadium would be a suitable venue for an MLS franchise. There was no mention of a new stadium, according to the Chronicle story still posted on the authority’s Web site. Now that Luck has taken the revolving door to the former San Jose Earthquakes, Robertson Stadium apparently will be good only as temporary home for the MLS. A new stadium must be built. No doubt the owners of the Earthquakes figure Luck is the man to deliver one, and he's already shown them he knows how to handle the media (was he, by any chance, working out this financing plan of which Lopez writes while drawing some of his $200,00 annual paycheck from the Sports Authority?).

Our olfactories aren’t that sensitive anymore, but this has a very bad smell about it.*

Read it all.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 12/21/05 11:13 AM | Print |

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