Viewpoints: City should decide on pro soccer with facts, not politics


Once again, an intriguing proposal has become politicized way too fast, all but preventing a dispassionate discussion about whether Major League Soccer would be a good fit for Austin — and if so, whether city-owned property or parkland should be home to a stadium.

Mayor Steve Adler’s downtown puzzle proposal to use tourist dollars to expand the Austin Convention Center and leverage the project to generate millions of dollars for the homeless was nearly killed by a similar kind of pointed politicking that chills constructive debate. Fortunately for the city and its homeless population, that proposal is on hold, offering a badly-needed cooling off period to accommodate a study by the University of Texas.

But a proposal that would move Precourt Sports Ventures’ professional soccer team, Columbus Crew, to Austin is skidding off the rails without a viable assessment of the deal’s pros and cons. Blame political tactics.

Vocal opponents have presented the project as a corporate giveway — or something environmentally destructive to any city park. Meanwhile, Precourt hurt its own case by initially spinning the deal as a gift to the city, saying it would build the city a $200 million soccer stadium. When the package was unwrapped, however, there was very little inside.

We do understand Precourt’s interest in Austin: It’s a hot market. Regardless of how things turn out, the City Council would be wise to come up with some basic guidelines regarding public-private ventures that involve parkland or other assets. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.



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