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'Great opportunity if the dollars work out:' Raleigh mayor talks MLS in State of the City

Posted August 8

— Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane addressed Major League Soccer in her State of the City address Tuesday.

When the pitch was made to bring major league soccer to Raleigh, there was a groundswell of support.

While McFarlane doesn't deny the allure of bring a major league sport to the city center, she says there are lots of unknowns at this point.

"I know it could be a great addition for the city," McFarlane said. "How is it paid for? What's the cost for the city? How does all the math work?"

NCFC owner Steve Malik has said he is not asking the public to fund the stadium's estimated $150 million construction costs, but McFarlane points out there are a lot of moving parts to the proposal.

McFarlane mentioned the roads around the proposed stadium would definitely be affected.

"It takes three years, and we have to divert all the traffic, there's a lot of cost people do not see," she said.

Raleigh mayor talks MLS in State of the City

She also brought up location. The NCFC wants to form a public-private partnership with the state to use 13 acres of state-owned property bounded by Peace, Salisbury and Lane streets just north of downtown

"Where it's proposed downtown, that could be a lot of road disruption, rerouting of people, there are a lot of pieces, and we haven't been in one room to talk about it yet," she said.

Still, both the mayor and County Manager Jim Hartmann don't dismiss the benefits

"There's a great opportunity there if the dollars work out right. If the public investment is very measured, the benefits provided to the community can be significant," Hartmann said.

4 Comments

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  • Teddy Fowler Aug 9, 2:11 p.m.
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    it is obvious that you know nothing about the MLS bringing soccer and a new stadium to Raleigh... as your statement is full of errors....so why even comment?

  • Dave Warner Aug 9, 9:13 a.m.
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    Oh, yeah, just look at all these Americans who don't care about soccer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG3SbkojJRg

  • Bob Bucy Aug 8, 8:40 p.m.
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    I agree that there are questions about whether there is enough public interest to support a major league soccer team. However, this will be a mixed use facility with retail and residences, and opportunity to host a lot of other events. There were many questions and a lot of angst when the PNC arena was being built as well. It was way over budget, and many considered it to be a boondoggle. And there were certainly many questions about how much support hockey would have in Raleigh.
    I'm not sure how all of the math on that has worked out over the years, but the investment seems to have been justified. It's too early to tell how this will work out, but I think that everyone needs to keep an open mind at this point.

  • Matthew Rose Aug 8, 7:54 p.m.
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    The dollars don't work out and never will. North carolinians and for the most part americans don't care about soccer. This will become a giant waste of tax payer money to spend on something we don't want. We can't even give away tickets to pack the stadium for our minor league team, how do we expect to keep a much larger stadium full enough to be profitable. The burden on the tax payer is paid two fold when you try to get anywhere down town when the construction starts. Also why is government land being gifted to a public for profit team, when are they going to hand out property and land to the rest of the tax payers. The only people that will see any benefit are businesses near the stadium, not the people footing the bill for building this. Soccer is not and will not be popular in the US no matter how much it is forced on us. Just can't get behind a sport that can end in a 0 to 0 tie.