USL side Louisville City FC selects future stadium site
A study conducted last year by the City of Louisville determined that a soccer-specific stadium was needed to maintain and grow the professional game. Now, after months of work with various property owners, Louisville City FC (LouCity), which, despite being only 3 years old, already draws some of the largest crowds in the USL, is a step closer to making that a reality.
Tracts of land are under option in the Butchertown Neighborhood, where the club plans to transform 40 acres into a 10,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium and adjacent development including space for offices, hotels and retail.
Club Chairman, John Neace, said:
Since receiving the results of the study, our board has explored a number of potential stadium locations, but none measured up to this site as a long-term home for Louisville City FC. We’re ready to solidify the future of LouCity, an important community asset.
Louisville City FC – Butchertown Neighborhood Stadium Renderings
Through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), LouCity intends to continue the revitalisation of downtown Louisville and surrounding areas in space occupied by the former Challenger Lifts headquarters, an above-ground oil tank facility, a storage space and auto salvage lot.
The proposed 10,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2020, will be situated next to Interstates 64 and 71, just blocks from Main Street, within close proximity of the Big Four Bridge, and within view of the downtown Louisville skyline.
LouCity is working with city government, Metro Council members and state economic development officials to make the project a reality. Construction of a stadium and nearby development would create jobs, drive tax revenues and spur economic growth beyond soccer.
LouCity board member, Mike Mountjoy, said:
The concept of a master development agreement gives us the ability to build a stadium and commercial value around it that can assist in funding the stadium. We want to thank Mayor Greg Fischer and his team for working side by side with us in planning this project.
LouCity, which for now plays at Slugger Field, competes in the United Soccer League (USL), sanctioned Division II in the United States, below only Major League Soccer (MLS). The club has made back-to-back runs to the Eastern Conference Final of the USL Cup Playoffs since its conception in 2015.
The USL has mandated that its members all move into soccer-specific stadiums by 2020. Additionally, LouCity pays rental fees at Slugger Field, which it splits with the Louisville Bats baseball team, as well as the cost of converting the field for soccer. Sponsorship opportunities are limited, and concession revenue does not go to the soccer club.
The club commissioned global architecture firm HOK for stadium design of a facility expandable to 20,000 seats should the opportunity to move to the MLS present itself. Initial renderings show seating within close vicinity of the pitch, a suite level and amenities including roofs and multiple video boards.
LouCity coach, James O’Connor, said:
I want to thank our owners for all of their work toward getting us into a home of our own. It’s vital we play on a proper pitch, and I know a soccer-specific stadium is something our fans deserve. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Louisville City FC.
Last year, an average of 7,218 fans attended LouCity’s home games.
Current season ticket holders will receive seating priority in the new stadium.