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Fever Pitch: 9 New U.S. Soccer Stadiums Rise With Sport’s Popularity

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With interest in professional soccer on the rise across the U.S., Major League Soccer has ambitiously expanded from its original 10 teams to 23 franchises, with plans to grow to 28. Many teams previously shared stadiums with football teams, but the league's growth has led franchises and cities to invest in soccer-specific stadiums.

The 15th soccer-specialized MLS stadium opened in Orlando, Florida, last year, and several more are in the works, with some even being built for the lower United Soccer League. From D.C. to Los Angeles to Miami, here are nine professional soccer stadiums in the works around the country. 

Audi Field

Fever Pitch: 9 New U.S. Soccer Stadiums Rise With Sport’s Popularity
Aerial view rendering of D.C. United Stadium
  • Club: D.C. United
  • Size: 20,000 seats
  • Cost: $300M
  • Status: Under construction, expected to deliver this summer

D.C. United plans to play its first game at Audi Field July 14. Many of United's home games were pushed to the latter half of the year to accommodate for the mid-summer opening, but it will play at least four home matches at alternate venues. 

The 20,000-seat stadium will be part of a mixed-use complex with a 14K SF retail corridor and a 40K SF public plaza. It is being constructed on Southwest D.C.'s Buzzard Point, a largely undeveloped peninsula that the city hopes Audi Field will help revitalize. It sits about five blocks from Nationals Park, which sparked a transformation of the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood after its 2008 opening. The ballpark will host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game three days after United's inaugural match. 

Several developers, such as Akridge, MRP Realty, Capital City Real Estate and Kouza Cos., have projects in the works for Buzzard Point that will bring hundreds of multifamily units and a 154-room Cambria Hotel to the area, which was also included in one of the District's Amazon HQ2 submissions. 

Banc of California Stadium

Bank of California Stadium Los Angeles Football Club
A rendering of Los Angeles Football Club's Bank of California Stadium
  • Club: Los Angeles Football Club
  • Size: 22,000 seats
  • Cost: $350M
  • Status: Under construction, expected to deliver this spring

LAFC broke ground on its new Banc of California stadium in August 2016, and construction is ahead of schedule, with the club scheduled to play its first game there April 29. The expansion team will play the first five games of its inaugural season on the road. 

The Gensler-designed stadium is being built in South Los Angeles' Exposition Park on the former site of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The privately financed facility will also include 140K SF of public open space and is expected to spur $2.9B in economic output over the next 30 years. It is part of a larger transformation of the area, including the $1B Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the $700M USC Village, the $270M Los Angeles Coliseum renovation and a $300M mixed-use project. 

Allianz Field

Minnesota United FC
A rendering of Minnesota United FC's Allianz field
  • Club: Minnesota United
  • Size: 19,400 seats
  • Cost: $150M
  • Status: Under construction, expected 2019 delivery

Construction began on Minnesota United's Allianz field in December 2016 and is expected to be completed early next year. The 19,400-seat stadium, reportedly on schedule and within budget, is being built in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood. 

The Populous-designed stadium will also include 1.3 acres of green space, though a previously plan called for more than double that. It sits near a stop on the Green Line, an 11-mile light rail line connecting Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. RD Management plans a $450M redevelopment of the neighboring 20-acre shopping center site, slated to include retail, office, residential and entertainment uses. 

Austin, Texas

Austin soccer stadium
A rendering of Austin's proposed soccer stadium
  • Club: Columbus Crew
  • Size: 20,000 seats
  • Cost: $200M
  • Status: Still in early planning stages

The owners of the Columbus Crew have been trying to move the team to Austin, and have proposed a new stadium to be built in the Texas capital. Proposals from the owner, Precourt Sports Ventures, have called for a privately financed $200M, 20,000-seat stadium. The plan is not yet finalized, and some city officials have expressed reservations about building the stadium on public land. 

Austin is currently the largest U.S. city without a major league sports franchise. Local company Austin Sports & Entertainment has thrown its support behind the idea, commissioning famed architect Bjarke Ingels Group to design a soccer stadium and surrounding East Austin District entertainment destination. 

Nashville

Fever Pitch: 9 New U.S. Soccer Stadiums Rise With Sport’s Popularity
A preliminary rendering of a planned MLS stadium in Nashville, designed by HOK
  • Club: Nashville expansion team
  • Size: 27,500 seats
  • Cost: $250M
  • Status: Construction planned to begin in late 2018

Nashville was awarded an MLS expansion Franchise in December, and plans are already well underway for a new soccer stadium for Music City. Billionaire John Ingraham revealed plans in August for a HOK-designed stadium at Fairgrounds Nashville, just south of downtown. The project would include a 10-acre, mixed-use development with restaurants, bars and a hotel. 

More details have come out in recent weeks pegging the cost of the 27,500-seat stadium at $250M. It is expected to break ground later this year and deliver in 2020. The club has not yet unveiled a name, logo or colors. 

New York City Football Club

Fever Pitch: 9 New U.S. Soccer Stadiums Rise With Sport’s Popularity
Yankee Stadium
  • Club: New York City Football Club
  • Size: Unknown
  • Cost: Unknown
  • Status: Still in early planning stages

NYCFC has been playing in Yankee Stadium since its inaugural 2015 season, but the club has taken strides toward finding a home of its own. It has stated a goal of building a stadium within the five boroughs, but has had difficulty finding a location that fits the bill. 

Along with Related, NYCFC in September submitted a bid to build a 43-acre complex with a stadium, hotel, retail and other entertainment options at Belmont Race Park on Long Island. The club lost that bid in December to the New York Islanders hockey franchise. The club has also considered sites in Long Island City, Willets Point in Queens and in the parking lots next to Yankee Stadium.

Miami

David Beckham fielded questions from reporters after announcing his MLS expansion team in Miami.
David Beckham fielded questions from reporters after announcing his MLS expansion team in Miami.
  • Club: Miami expansion team
  • Size: 25,000 seats
  • Cost: At least $175M
  • Status: Still in early planning stages

Soccer legend David Beckham was awarded an MLS expansion franchise in Miami in January, with plans to begin play in 2020. Miami-Dade County in June agreed to sell Beckham the final 3 acres for his planned 9-acre soccer stadium complex in Miami's Overtown neighborhood. Beckham has agreed to invest at least $175M to build the 25,000-seat open-air stadium and employ at least 50 people full time. 

The land deal is still facing a legal challenge from a wealthy activist, and some nearby residents opposing the project have vowed to fight it every step of the way. With those roadblocks in the way, Beckham's team is considering an alternative 180-acre site near Miami International Airport

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati stadium
A rendering of FC Cincinnati's proposed stadium
  • Club: FC Cincinnati
  • Size: 21,000 seats
  • Cost: At least $350M
  • Status: Still in early planning stages

FC Cincinnati, a United Soccer League club that is vying to be selected as an MLS expansion team, is pitching a site in Cincinnati's West End for a new stadium. The stadium would be built on the site of Taft High School's Stargel stadium. The club last month presented a plan to the school board to build its stadium on that site and finance the construction of a new high school facility in a separate location. The local NAACP chapter came out against the plan, saying it would contribute to the gentrification of the neighborhood. 

The club's owner is also considering a site in Cincinnati's Oakley neighborhood. The city and Hamilton County in November approved $51M in infrastructure support for the stadium. FC Cincinnati has said it is prepared to invest over $350M in the project. 

Chicago

Lincoln Yards Soccer Stadium, Chicago
This rendering from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill depicts a 20,000-seat soccer stadium on Sterling Bay's planned Lincoln Yards development.
  • Club: Chicago's USL team
  • Size: 20,000 seats
  • Cost: Unknown
  • Status: Still in planning

Chicago will welcome a new United Soccer League team in 2020, and one of the club's investors recently unveiled plans for a stadium. Sterling Bay plans to build a 20,000-seat retractable-roof soccer stadium at Lincoln Yards, its planned redevelopment of 60 acres on the upper North Branch Industrial Corridor. 

Lincoln Yards is one of 10 sites Chicago and Illinois submitted in its Amazon HQ2 bid. Amazon officials reportedly toured the site in November, and the company included Chicago in its 20-city shortlist in January.