The Houston To-Be-Determineds of MLS are officially looking for that special someone to help them build their dream stadium.
The Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of the team relocating from San Jose, Calif., would share a new stadium with Houston high school athletes under one deal being considered by school and soccer officials.
This deal calls for AEG, on its own or with financial assistance from the Houston Independent School District, to build a 20,000- to 25,000-seat venue on the site of the school district's Delmar Stadium at U.S. 290 and Loop 610.
AEG also will explore whether a school district might become a partner in building a stadium surrounded by community soccer fields — a deal comparable to one reached in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, where pro team FC Dallas plays.
"In an ideal world, we would have somebody on the public side looking at the benefit that would accrue by having this stadium and these fields," said Scott Elackmun, AEG's chief operating officer. "We are not looking for someone who would pay 100 percent of construction."
Oliver Luck, outgoing president of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and the soccer team's soon-to-be president, said he will be working hard the next several months on the logistics of playing in Houston.
Elackmun said he and Luck will begin work on a stadium deal early next year. AEG intends to take advantage of Luck's knowledge in getting sports venues built in Houston and his connections throughout the area, Elackmun said.
A huge public contribution made Pizza Hut Park, which cost $80 million, in Frisco a reality. The city of Frisco, Frisco school district and Collin County put in $55 million, and the Hunt Sports Group, owners of the team, spent at least $25 million, said FC Dallas spokesman Justin Pearson.
Bridgeview, Ill., is building a $70 million stadium for the AEG-owned Chicago Fire.
The Hudson County Improvement Authority balked this year at contributing part of the $90 million needed to construct a stadium for the MetroStars in Harrison, N.J. But local and county authorities are still making a significant contribution, Elackmun said.
They are providing the land and paying for an environmental cleanup — a $25 million contribution — as well as a $40 million parking garage, which will be used by fans and commuters, Elackmun said.
Luck said the Harris County Sports Authority will not contribute anything toward a soccer stadium.
The authority relies on hotel and car rental taxes to pay off more than $1 billion in bonds taken out to pay for the baseball, football and basketball venues. As a result, Houston has the highest hotel tax in the nation, 17 percent. County Judge Robert Eckels said the sports authority could not raise hotel taxes to fund a soccer stadium.
AEG will continue to negotiate with HISD, explore whether there's interest in a Frisco-like deal and discuss whether the University of Houston might be interested in sharing costs on a new stadium on its campus, Elackmun said. UH hopes to persuade AEG to stay at Robertson Field permanently, he said.
On a side note, Rob thinks he has found what the new team will be named, contest or no contest. That's an interesting, if somewhat obscure (at least to me) design. I'm still holding out hope for the Houston Floods, myself.
UPDATE: Houstonist is unimpressed with this rumored logo.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 23, 2005 to Other sports | TrackBack