Soccer in Downtown Minneapolis?

by davelaidig on July 23, 2014

Representatives from MLS4MN have attended recent meetings of the 2020 Partners – a community-based coalition of businesses, political representatives and neighborhood groups interested in the growth, development and advocacy for the west side of downtown Minneapolis (North Loop Neighborhood, Target Field area, Farmers Market, etc.).

This group has drawn attention for including soccer at the forefront of its planning and activities.  For example, the Target Field Station (light rail stop) offered viewing parties for US World Cup matches. The 2020 partners worked with Minnesota United FC to get the word out – and reported success with crowds growing with each showing and hundreds attending these outdoor communal events.

Aside from outreach, this group has consistently included professional soccer in their plans; an act given some legitimacy due to the active participation of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Timberwolves.  Notably, in proposed plans presented to the County Commissioners; 2020 Partners includes a spot for a soccer-specific stadium in the Farmers Market location in Minneapolis.  This location would allow for a stadium overlooking the downtown skyline, and located adjacent to stadium parking and major light rail and bus lines.  During meetings, members regularly query the efforts to attract a soccer-specific stadium to the area.  The group has even drafted a statement asking Minnesota United FC to look at the Farmers Market area for a potential soccer stadium.

The 2020 Partners organization encourages Minnesota United FC to explore the Farmers Market site for a soccer stadium as the potential anchor for development of a multi-use complex, retaining as a key element the Farmers Market with improved facilities, and maximizing the development opportunity from the existing and planned transit improvements.”

Farmers-Market-Site-2.0-sans-video_Page_29
Of course, the inclusion of a downtown soccer-specific stadium in development plans is the equivalent of a wish list.  The Twins and T-Wolves have not made any direct statement of MLS support.  And Minnesota United FC has not made any determination about their stadium plans, whether in downtown Minneapolis or some other location.  And any potential MLS team owned by the Vikings would play in the new football stadium.  But the stadium references still matter to those who want to support professional soccer in Minnesota.

Even without someone offering to buy land and build a stadium, the efforts of groups like 2020 Partners sends a strong signal about the value of professional soccer in Minnesota. This advocacy group believes building a soccer stadium in their neighborhood would be beneficial to local growth and drive revitalization. More importantly, they are incorporating the possibility of a soccer stadium in their advocacy by considering small details in current projects.  For example, the Target Field Station is designed to handle the flow of riders as games let out – leading to a much better fan experience than similar LRT stops outside TCF.  The Southwest LRT is important for this group, not just for the current members, but also because a future soccer stadium and its inevitable fans could benefit from better access.

While we at MLS4MN look forward to more definite plans and the advancement of professional soccer in Minnesota, we are encouraged that a grass-roots community organization recognizes the value in supporting soccer in Minnesota.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

zizzy July 24, 2014 at 9:13 am

Really hope the Loons stay in NASL and grow with that league. Not a fan of the salary capped single entity, crazy signing rules, growth impaired MLS.

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Bobb July 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Is that you NASL commissioner Bill Peterson?
As for crazy signing rules, that’s what smart front office personnel are for.
Growth impaired, that’s the real laugher, though…

MLS has doubled in size over the last decade in terms of number of teams. The average Forbes valuation for MLS teams has gone from $35.5 million in 2008 to $103 million in 2012… in that four year span the total valuation of MLS teams quadrupled from $485 million to $1,958 million. And those are two year old numbers, wait until 2015 when San Jose gets their stadium, Chivas USA gets sold and rebranded, and Orlando City and NY City enter the league.

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Dave DuJour July 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

Who all is involved in 2020 Partners? Who are some of the ” businesses, political representatives and neighborhood groups”? Obviously MLS4MN, Twins, and Timberwolves, but who else is involved?

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Dave Laidig July 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

I don’t have a complete list: but the steering committee listed on their website is pretty representative. At the last few meetings there have been Hennepin County Commissioners, City Council Members, a State Representative, design/architecture firms located in the neighborhood, Target representatives, and community organizations like North Loop Neighborhood Association.

More info can be found at http://the2020partners.com/.

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Brian July 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_25547363/united-fc-kicks-off-soccer-season-amid-mls

The following comment is the only thing I have seen in regards to the Twins.

Also, Twins owner Jim Pohlad confirmed this week that his family is interested in investing in a possible MLS franchise with United owner Bill McGuire.

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arsh July 25, 2014 at 8:25 am

I would prefer development in St. Paul as it would spread out the sports, Baseball, football, and Basketball in Minneapolis, and Hockey and Soccer in St. Paul. That said as long as they get a team, and as long as it’s not owned by the Wilfs in that new stupid stadium that won’t be wide enough for soccer, I’m happy.

I will never understand why they build these massive NFL stadiums and refuse to make them just a little bit wider for soccer options. It’s just wasting opportunities to host World Cup events when the US finally gets to host again.

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