FCC New Stadium
Courting an Major League Soccer team to come to Cincinnati is a community effort and requires significant investment, collaboration and negotiation. One key aspect of this was securing a site for a stadium which was a key criteria for securing an MLS franchise. The stadium will need to hold upwards of 25 thousand fans. Interestingly, Nippert Stadium, where FC Cincinnati still plays, holds 40,000 people. This may be an issue because FCC averages 25,000 fans and occasionally they even sell out.
The new stadium design is very attractive. The graphic designer got an inspiration from Bayern Munich’s Allianz stadium. It has a finishing touch with blue and orange LED lights around the stadium. Dan Meis, FCC’s new stadium designer, is setting his standards high for his creation of the stadium as he says “the stadium will set a new standard for MLS as a truly urban building.” The club has also put in a $30 million training facility in Milford, OH which boasts 3 state of the art fields and a workout facility. This facility will also support a youth development team that will be part of the MLS organization.
Furthermore, FC Cincinnati is going to develop the West End neighborhoods around Taft High School. There are 66 scattered sites that FCC is going to develop as part of the project with a key aspect being to make it more affordable. They are also building Taft High School a new football stadium and doing a lot to invest in the community. People are saying that this new high school stadium will be the most exclusive high school football stadium in the nation.
Some from the West End, however, are protesting the FCC stadium, saying that much of this investment will displace families and bring excessive traffic problems to the area and that the real beneficiaries will be wealthy business owners . Protesters are saying “people over profit fair funding now”. Residents like Contina Davis are saying, "We don't want to look like Over-the-Rhine”, stating that she likes the old community and not some over-thriving neighborhood. Jeff Berding, on the other hand, says that the stadium will not overtake any homes or effect the high school.
Another decision that needs to be agreed upon is ticket pricing for the new stadium. The team has agreed on having the lowest priced tickets in the MLS. As Jeff Berding says “In order to remain true to our club values, as a family friendly entertainment experience, we’ve made sure to keep tickets affordable, particularly at the entry prices, as we move up to the highest level of soccer in the U.S. With the creation of four new pricing sections, we’ve been able to keep prices low in our first MLS season.” Jeff realizes this is good for the community and will make the team a big item in the greater Cincinnati area as he states in the previous years and according to this article. Berding concluded with this, “We realize the electric atmosphere and excitement created by 30,000 fans at Nippert Stadium and we know that our team thrives with such support behind them. With our inaugural MLS pricing, we utilized our Fan Advisory Council for their wise counsel as we all want to create more record-setting crowds at Nippert Stadium in 2019,”Berding said. Our new stadium will revive the West End of Cincinnati and will be a big thing for our city bringing both money and a new culture to this historical area.