It's a very expensive stadium when compared to Europan, Latin American or African counterparts. At the same time, in case of FC Cincinnati it's bound to pay off sooner than later. That's how popular they are.
It wasn't a regular groundbreaking understood as a photo opportunity for a few dignitaries and reporters. Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony was truly a mass event. So much so that FC Cincinnati released a guide to inform supporters where to park, should they wish to come. And wish they did, in their hundreds.
To commemorate the event, 2,000 orange shovels were prepared, given to fans who wished to take a dig before excavators come in. Clearing work on the West End site is already a month underway and now the old athletics stadium has been removed, paving way for ground works.
Excavation will take until April 1, when first foundations are to be laid. From that point we'll have to wait until early March 2021 for FC Cincinnati to play their first home game at the Meis Architects-designed ground.
More expensive than initially expected, the stadium should consume $250 million (280 with associated costs) and hold 26,000 people. That's a huge expense, especially connected with the MLS license fee of $150 million. In order to secure funding, a minority package of shares has been released for prospective buyers.
It was a move planned well in advance as the shares are considered a hot asset for two reasons: there are few opportunities left to get involved with an MLS team and second: FCC are both a proven and very promising brand. Topping the USL (2nd league) table in terms of crowds, they managed to build a huge following in the few years in operation.
Already now, awaiting their opening season in MLS to begin in March, they broke their record for season ticket sales. With over 2 months to go there are over 20,000 people on the list already and the number should grow.
It may prove problematic in the long run. The current Nippert Stadium is big enough to cope with extra demand while the West End stadium will only hold 26,000 people (even that comes after expansion from initial 21,000). It may simply prove too small upon opening.