Soccer Stadium Update

It has been a while since we took a look around MLS at the status of stadium construction in MLS, so here is quick snapshot.  In Kansas City, the new stadium is moving forward rapidly with opening set for the Summer of 2011.  MLS will likely follow the “Philly model” and force KC to spend most of the first months of 2011 on the road.  Kansas and the local county have offered $230 million in incentives to lure Cerner and the Wizards to Kansas.  Here is  the construction webcam.

In Vancouver, the future home of the Whitecaps is undergoing a significant makeover.  The bubble roof has been taken down in preparation for the retractable roof that will replace the current setup. As we have said before about Vancouver, the ownership group seems solid.  Mr. Kerfoot has long been a friend of soccer and Steve Nash (who has been popping up at Red Bulls practices) adds glamour and splash to the ownership.  The owners have the money; Kerfoot is a billionare.  The Whitecaps have done well at the gate and the market is hungry for higher level soccer.   BC Place is well situated and the proposed soccer stadium is also in a solid location.

Finally, in Portland, renovations to PGE Park continue.  The Timbers are offering a great virtual stadium viewer which allows fans to click on specific seats to see what benefits come with each seat as well as the costs. The team also offers a great fact sheet on the renovation.  Unfortunately a photo diary of the renovation has not been updated in quite some time.

UPDATE:  Thanks to the Timbers for reaching out to correct my note about the photo diary.  Phase I of the renovation was completed in March and the diary will re started in September when Phase II begins after the USSF/minor league baseball season concludes.  The team may also add a time lapse feature and other coverage of the construction process as the stadium renovation moves forward.

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Let the Tournament Begin (and some news from Vancouver)

The World Cup is here and footiebusiness will take on a decidedly World Cup flavor for the next little while.   Before we get there, MLS gets lead billing one more time with the report that Canadian communications giant Bell will be the Whitecaps jersey sponsor when the team starts play in 2011.  The multi-year deal will see all Whitecaps teams wear the uniform,  including men’s, women’s, residency and prospects teams.

As part of the relationship, there will also be exclusive mobile video content.  According to the Digital Journal, “through an exclusive agreement with Whitecaps FC and MLS, Bell mobile clients will be able to view unique Whitecaps FC content on their mobile smartphones beginning in 2011. This will include live matches, behind-the-scenes access to Whitecaps players and coaches and other Whitecaps-specific mobile applications.”

Speaking of mobile media, ESPN mobile will have all World Cup matches available with almost all games available on many platforms.  At the same time, ESPN is making its ESPN3.com service a centerpiece of its World Cup coverage.  ESPN’s broadband sports network will carry 54 matches live and will include enhanced viewing options, milestone markers, customizable widgets and more. Because so many Americans will be at work, ESPN3.com is expecting record traffic during the World Cup with its live coverage.

Finally, kudos to ESPN for its fantastic Thursday night soccer coverage.  The three hour World Cup preview was special and saw anchors Chris Fowler, Bob Ley and Mike Tirico with prominent roles.  The production value was outstanding and The showing of classic World Cup matches has been constant and the hour long Rick Reilly special with Landon Donovan was also fantastic.  Sponsors for these programs included Corona, Penzoil, AT&T and more.