Gilbert is majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Gores owns the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, and may lead the soccer franchise. The Michigan State graduates issued a statement Tuesday that said there were excited about “building an ownership group that represents a cross-section of investors.”
Cost for a team?
Recent teams have paid about $100 million to join the league.
Where would a team play?
Effort organizers plan to build a stadium. Wayne County’s unfinished jail site has long been considered as a potential home for MLS in Detroit. But, Wayne County officials quickly batted down speculation and rumors today, saying that the plan is to finish building the jail that taxpayers have invested in and restart construction. The potential ownership group also suggested that a stadium could also go near the Detroit riverfront or near Corktown.
Soccer field — or pitch, to use the European term — dimensions are close to those of an American football field. A soccer field is about the same length, but slightly wider. It is about 110-120 yards long by 70-80 yards wide.
Most of the MLS stadiums are open air or have retractable roofs with grass fields. A few fields are made of turf. Seating capacity ranges from about 18,000 to about 40,000. In stadiums that have more capacity because they were built for other sports, the number of seats are reduced by covering up seats with tarps.
Generally, soccer teams want to play on grass, as opposed to turf. Grass, players contend, leads to fewer injuries.
Seating capacity of metro Detroit’s other professional sports venues:
- Ford Field, 65,000
- Palace of Auburn Hills, 24,276
- Comerica Park, 41,782
- Little Ceasers Arena, 20,066
- Minor League team, Detroit City FC, aims to play at Keyworth Stadium a 6,000-capacity stadium in Hamtramck.
Impact on minor league efforts
In a statement, Detroit FC said, “founding of a professional team is a golden opportunity, but in an already crowded market, success is never guaranteed.” It added, “Detroit City FC has proven that a soccer team can be viable and successful in downtown Detroit.”
The league has 20 franchises now, three of which are in Canada. It plans to expand to 28 teams. Longtime MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said that Detroit is on the list of preferred cities that could get an expansion team. Of the spots for expansion: Atlanta and Minnesota are set to get squads in 2017; Los Angeles and Miami are expecting teams in 2018; and Sacramento is aiming for 2020. Geographically, Detroit would be between Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, which both have teams.
Source: Detroit Free Press