As I was watching the Portland City Council discuss with members of the Merritt Paulson group on building a brand new baseball stadium and refurbishing PGE Park into a soccer stadium, out of no where and recently seen on MLS-Rumors thru USA Today, the St. Louis group has just added a big name to their ownership and it’s as American as Red, White & Blue.
The Anheuser-Busch company, also known for making Budweiser Beer has just joined Jeff Cooper’s group to bring an MLS side to the city of St. Louis. As they say in Baseball, the St. Louis bid has hit the ball out of the park. This news story has put alot more pressure on the Portland bid to have an MLS side in 2011. With reports already coming that the Vancouver bid will get thru, this has already become a two horse race between the Northwest and the beer capital of the USA in St. Louis.
“It’s a huge, turning point.” Jeff Cooper said. “This commitment brings alot of credibility to our bid, and shows the league how serious we are.”
As of right now Anheuser-Busch entered a letter of intent to transfer ownership of their Budweiser Center in St. Louis County which is locally referred to as Soccer Park to the Jeff Cooper group. That stadium currently seats about 6,000 at the moment. MLS minimum is at & over 15,000 But Mr. Cooper has informed USA Today that the capacity could be added by another 10,000 putting bleachers along the goal lines. “This is the best situation we could have hoped for, “Cooper Said” Whether it throws us over the top, that’s up to MLS.”
Just when you thought that Vancouver & Portland were going to get a hand out once the Miami/FC Barcelona bid died, St. Louis pulls a rabbit out of it’s hat. If it’s too little too late, then we shall see. But as of right now the temperature just got turned up and it’s all on Portland.
As of right now the 18,500 seat stadium in Collinsville, Illinois hasn’t broken ground and that’s waiting for a go ahead if the Portland City Council decides to say no as they need three votes from a panel of five city officials including the Mayor of Portland. But it looks like the confidence from Merritt Paulson might be shaken just a bit.
I honestly thought that once Miami fell out of favor the two cities in North America would be Portland & Vancouver to enter the 2011 season, but as of right now Jeff Cooper just did his harry Houdini impression and pulled a major rabbit out of his hat with Budweiser as a major backer for the bid.
Even thought it looked like St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols was going to be enough to help this bid move along for St. Louis, they really needed the star power in the Busch Brewing company to really become apart of this bid. If it’s too little, too late for Cooper’s dreams to become reality then he gave it an awesome boost to challenge Portland in the eleventh hour. But still I am seeing this as a fight to the finish & may the best American Bid win.