San Antonio lined up the next step in their quest to land an MLS team on Thursday, as the city council unanimously approved the joint purchase of local soccer-specific stadium Toyota Field.
The stadium, used through this season by the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, was built and owned by Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman. The city of San Antonio and Bexar County announced a deal to jointly purchase Toyota Field in November in order to facilitate a bid to bring MLS to the Texas city.
As part of the deal, Spurs Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, will contribute $3 million toward the $21 purchase price, will lease the stadium for 20 years and will operate a minor league club there while pursuing an MLS expansion team. According to reports, if the Spurs cannot land an MLS expansion team in the next six years, they will pay the city and the county -- which are both contributing $9 million to the stadium purchase -- $2.5 million each.
Local TV station KSAT shared a statement by councilman Mike Gallagher following Thursday's vote.
“This is a special day for San Antonio. I deeply appreciate the help of Gordon Hartman, Bexar County, Spurs Sports and Entertainment and my fellow Council members for their efforts in securing the purchase of Toyota Field. Taking an existing facility and expanding its capabilities is a great course of action to take, rather than building a new facility from the ground up. MLS is already a part of our lives here in San Antonio. Our residents are enthusiastic fans, and we would do well to bring MLS to our entire community.”
Major League Soccer recently announced a possible plan to expand MLS to 28 teams in the coming years. For now, Atlanta United FC, Minnesota United FC, LAFC and a Miami expansion team will be joining the league in the next few years to bring the total number of teams to 24.