Greitens says no public funding for sports stadiums

Gov. Eric Greitens. (Credit: Cristina M. Fletes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

DELLWOOD, MO (KPLR) – Missouri’s governor-elect reaffirmed his pledge to keep the public coffers closed when it comes to building stadiums for sports teams.

Speaking to reporters in Dellwood on Monday, Governor-elect Eric Greitens said the state has more pressing needs than a soccer stadium for a potential Major League Soccer franchise. Greitens previously referred to providing tax credits or state aid for stadiums as “welfare for millionaires.”

St. Louis is one of 10 cities in the running for an MLS team. SC STL, the ownership group trying to establish an expansion team in town, proposed using $40 million in state tax credits for development and construction of a stadium, with an additional $80 million in support from local taxpayers. That $80 million would be subject to a public vote on April 4, if the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approves putting the issue on the ballot.

For its part, the ownership group would cover the $150 million MLS expansion fee and contribute $80 million toward the construction of the stadium, as well as future maintenance and cost overruns. The proposed stadium would be built on 24 acres of land just west of Union Station. The Interstate 64/Highway 40 exit ramps at that location would need to be moved. The city bought the property from MoDOT in September 2016.

The league is aiming to award two new franchises in the third quarter of 2017. Those teams will begin play in 2020. Two more clubs will be awarded and begin play at dates still to be determined.