Soccer Business Bits: Stadium News in Houston, Seattle Ticket Update & More

According to the Houston Chronicle, Dynamo President Oliver Luck is in talks with a developer about the construction of a soccer stadium on private land in Southwest Houston.  Although the article cites Luck as continuing to affirm his desire to build a stadium on City owned land, the discussions with a private developer represent a significant change from the earlier plan to build in conjunction as part of a Tax Increment Re-Investment Zone. As recently as November, we wrote the following about the City/team partnership:

“Total cost of the projected 21k seat stadium is expected to be about $80 million with the Dynamo ownership (primarily AEG and Golden Boy Promotions) funding about $60 million.  The rest of the funds could come from tax credits,  the TIRZ money and from some of the stiumulus money floating around.  The TIRZ program will also provide the property for the stadium.  According to Houston President Oliver Luck, multiple banks are lining up to provide financing for the construction project.”  We will certainly follow this story as it develops.

In Seattle, the Sounders have announced plans to cap season ticket sales at 32,000.  To date, the team has sold 31,000 season tickets with two months until opening day.  The team has also announced renewal rates in excess of 95% and this represents a 10k increase in the cap on season ticket sales as compared to last year.

Finally, ESPN has announced more elements of its World Cup broadcast package.  All 64 matches will be in HD and broadcast live.  ESPN360 will also have the games as well as ESPN MobilTV.  ESPN Classic and ESPN2 will re-air games each night.  There will also be significant pre-match, halftime and post-match shows.  This level of coverage shows ESPN’s continued devotion to soccer and its willingness to invest significant resources in broadcasting the games.