Gordon Hartman and his colleagues have built the San Antonio Scorpions into an impressive professional club since their founding in 2010 and subsequent entry into the North American Soccer League, complete with an intimate soccer-specific stadium to call home.
But they're not standing pat.
On Tuesday the Scorpions unveiled their ambitious plans for a dramatic expansion of Toyota Field that would more than double the venue's capacity and cover most sections with a roof, along with major increases in concessions, merchandising areas and the number of luxury suites and other amenities available to season-ticket holders and other VIPs.
While Hartman did not allude to Major League Soccer by name, the plan appears to be contingent on the Scorpions moving up to the top tier from their current standing in the NASL, North America's second-division pro competition.
“The escalating interest in the Scorpions and professional soccer over the past two years has been mind-boggling,” said Hartman, the club's owner and founder. “We are blessed to be a franchise playing in the North American Soccer League, however we must be prepared to expand once support and investment are secured to allow for additional opportunities.
“We want to be ready to take our venue to the next level as fan and sponsor support in soccer continues to grow.”
Estimated to cost between $38 to 45 million, the project would add 10,000 seats to the stadium's current capacity of 9,000 and upgrade field lighting for improved television broadcasts. It even includes a “high-powered beam of light” which would project into the night sky over San Antonio during Scorpions matches and change colors when the home team scores.
In all, the improvements look likely to help push Toyota Stadium into the upper echelon of soccer-specific venues in North America, should the project come to fruition.
“A roof canopy above the new upper-tier seating would provide shade as well as amplify the crowd noise that Toyota Field is famous for,” Hartman noted. “This would rival the fan experience and atmosphere of any top-tier soccer-specific stadium across the country.”