MLS Development Begins With Sports Facilities

Analysis by the arch. LUCA FILIDEI

(PCGdIS Master)

the new season of major league soccer prepares to take off. It will be the 26th season of the highest soccer league for clubs in the United States and Canada, whose departure has been delayed due to the Coronavirus emergency.

In the latest period, among international sports laws, MLS certainly represents an organization that has embarked on an interesting evolutionary path. In 1993, the year of its foundation (strongly linked to the promotion of the ’94 World Cup), the MLS only had 10 teams and excluded the presence of Canadian teams.

THE Toronto FCfor example, they were integrated in 2007, but in less than ten years the league, also using the image of david beckham (he moved to LA Galaxy in the 2007-2008 season), gains a notable increase in popularity, managing to organize a championship for 20 teams.

Between successes and disappointments, such as the failure of the project clevelandMLS has continued to expand, with the goal of including numerous cities in its landscape and reaching 30 teams by 2023. In this regard, through the recent additions of Los Angeles F.C. in 2018, dei F.C. Cincinnati in 2019, fromInter Miami CF and gods Nashville South Carolina in 2020, the MLS progressively moved towards a concrete improvement that, already in 2019, was confirmed through some data expressed by the Ciesthe International Center for Sport Studies.

In this case, analyzing a period between 2003 and 2018, the increase, referring to the average number of spectators, registered by the North American championship, capable of exceeding the 21,000 attendees with a relative increase of 34%.

A milestone certainly achieved thanks to the skill of the commissioner don garber (head of the MLS since 1999), ambitious in wanting to bring his league closer to the most popular leagues in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL. In 2016, Garber himself, interviewed by Forbesdefined four fundamental points to increase the attractiveness of the league.

These consisted of:

  • in the increase of number of deductibles (promotion of second teams in big cities);
  • in it higher investments reserved for young talents;
  • in it’internationalization of the “MLS phenomenon”;
  • in the construction of state-of-the-art stadiums.

A will demonstrated by the large investments already made in the facilities, not only to cede naming rights and improve the comfort of the customer (who no longer considers himself a fan), but also to establish a new and essential identity for teams without history or forced to share sports facilities with other deductibles not belong to a soccer league.

The Miami Freedom Park project (Photo: intermiamicf.com)

The four clubs mentioned above, annexed to the championship since 2018, perfectly clarify this vision with two stages done (Bank of California Stadium and Inter Miami CF Stadium) and two under construction (West End Stadium and Nashville Stadium).

Los Angeles FC’s debut, for example, coincided with the inauguration of the Bank of California Stadium (2018), LEED Silver-certified 22,000-seat facility; while theInter Miami CF Stadium (2020, with the club hoping to move to Miami Freedom Park) was built on the grounds of the now-disused Lockhart Stadium (1959).

A logic now at the base of (almost) all the next annexations, such as Austin FC, which will play in Stage Q2 (2021) and St. Louis City SC which in 2023 will play their home games inside future facilities designed by HOK Architects in collaboration with Snow Kreilich Architects.

The latter, in particular, establishes a greater interaction between the stadium and the city, inserting itself into an urban fabric that manifests very specific limits and with volumes intended for various functions, including eSports. However, the leitmotiv related to the creation of increasingly advanced sports infrastructures is also changing the plans of the companies already present in MLS.

The crew stadiumOwned by Columbus Crew SC (founded in 1994), it is currently under construction, but in recent years many projects have been promoted, including the Railyards Stadiumwhich is scheduled to open in 2023.

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