Paul Edgerley, the chairman of SC STL, the ownership group trying to bring an MLS expansion franchise to St. Louis, joined The Press Box on Thursday.
Edgerley talked about the downtown soccer stadium proposal and why he thinks St. Louis would make a great MLS city.
Read excerpts and listen to the full interview below:
Why did you choose St. Louis as somewhere you wanted to own an MLS team?
“I grew up…in Kansas City. I knew the city pretty well and have stayed affiliated a little bit. When it was clear there was an opportunity to bring an MLS team to a city, St. Louis seemed like the ideal location. It’s a great sports town, a great soccer town.”
How would you describe the process of getting the soccer stadium plan approved?
“I think it’s been a good process. All these things require time and making sure people understanding the opportunity. I think this is a really great opportunity for St. Louis. People who (have) not yet…had a chance to understand the program…the economics it, they understand it’s creating over 400 permanent jobs. The city’s really making an investment that it’ll get back a very attractive return on based on the economic development and tax revenues. I think we’ll get not just the (Board of Aldermen), but the voters to be supportive of it. We’ve got some work to do. It’s only about six weeks before the ultimate vote by the citizens. We hope to be able to communicate why we think this a great opportunity for the city of St. Louis.”
Are you working on a game plan or marketing plan to try and win the stadium vote?
“We’ve got a plan put together. We hope to get out to the grassroots and talk to people and inform them. I think it is going to have to be more hand-to-hand discussions than broad advertising problems. I think the message is important to understand in detail. We’re confident if we get the vote, we’ll get the MLS support. I think we’re well positioned to be one of the two teams selected if we get the vote. We hope that as we describe this and talk about the opportunity, people will get as excited as we are.”
Why did you get involved with the project?
“It just seemed clear to me that St. Louis was a great city and deserves more than just two professional sports teams. I think sports matter in many ways. I knew the MLS fairly well through different connections. I got introduced to Jim Kavanaugh…and so we put a team together a little over a year ago to pursue this opportunity.”