Northern California has more youth soccer athletes per capita than any other region in the country.
“We feel very confident in our conversations with major league soccer, that we can bring a brand new franchise here to this city,” said Fabian Nunez.
Nunez, a former state Assembly Speaker and current U.S. Federation Soccer board of directors member is heading up Northern California Soccer.
That’s the ownership group looking to buy a franchise and bring it to Elk Grove. It looks like the city of Elk Grove is on board, voting Wednesday night to move forward with plans.
City analysis shows that vying for a Major League Soccer or MLS team to possibly play on 120 acres near the stalled Promenade Mall would be riskier than it would for a North American Soccer League team.
An MLS versus NASL price tag would be four to five times higher.
NASL franchise fees are about $2 million – MLS $50 million.
Still, potential owners are in the MLS game.
“It’s hard to build a stadium for an NASL team and then expand it, so we like the idea of doing it once, doing it right, doing it big,” said potential owner Dick Hyde.
The big plans include the city paying 100 percent of a $100 million stadium.
Owners would pay for the team.
Fiscal projections for two sets of bond proposals for the project, could leave the city with a $3.9 or $5.4 million deficit.
Something not lost on some in the council chambers Wednesday night.
“We will be Stockton. Is that what what you want?” said Tom Waltman.
To create a stadium of 8,000 to 18,000 seats, one possibly surrounded by tournaments fields, the mayor said no new taxes.
Council members promised naming rights, ticket surcharges, team leases and parking fees as ways to pay for the project.
In the end, the council kicked out a unanimous “yes” vote – voting to investigate the options involved to possibly buy land and continue negotiating to make Elk Grove’s sports and economic dreams come true.
An estimated 550,000 people could come to a new Elk Grove sports complex and with them $15 million dollars in revenue in the facility’s first year alone.