The Kansas City Wizards announced Tuesday that they have received approval for a new stadium. The complex will include a state-of-the-art soccer-centric stadium for the Wizards along with a huge youth-soccer complex nearby. Construction began Wednesday at the stadium site in Kansas City, Kansas.
The Wizards, a founding member of Major League Soccer, will be the first major league professional sports team to play its home games in Kansas. They are owned by OnGoal, LLC, who purchased the Wizards from Hunt Sports Group and the late Lamar Hunt in 2006.
“This is a great day for soccer in Kansas City,” OnGoal CEO Robb Heineman said. “After a lengthy process to keep the team in the metropolitan area, OnGoal and the Kansas City Wizards are thrilled to receive final approval for our stadium and fields complex.”
“We have designed the first authentic American soccer stadium that will showcase and help grow the beautiful game of soccer, while providing all of the modern amenities expected from a modern American sports facility. The stadium has been designed to deliver the highest-level guest experience in an intimate, loud and intimidating atmosphere to build a true home field advantage for the Wizards,” added Heineman.
The stadium will be located in the Village West area of Kansas City, Kansas. The stadium is part of a larger $400+ million project developed by OnGoal and LANE4 Property Group. Additions will include a world-class tournament field complex with 18-24 fields for major youth sporting events and an office complex for Cerner Corporation expansion. The soccer facilities are projected to host more than 300 event dates with over 800 events annually, drawing more than 2.5 million attendees to the area. The Wizards stadium would also play host to concerts, international soccer matches, American football games, rugby matches, lacrosse games, field hockey events and more. The field complex would be an attractive host to major national and regional soccer tournaments due to Kansas City’s central location in the United States and the surrounding development at Village West. The complex will also host other tournaments and sporting events for men, women and children and in multiple sports.
“We are excited to have the Kansas City Wizards’ home in Village West,” Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon said. “The addition of major league soccer and a new Cerner office campus helps fulfill the vision of our community to create a true regional destination. The creation of new jobs in support of major league soccer and in the field of health care technology is extremely important to Wyandotte County and the entire Kansas City region.”
An estimated 3,000 new jobs will be created for the construction of the project along with 3,960 new jobs for the regular operation of the stadium and youth soccer complex.
The project is being subsidized with $85 million in state tax credits and cash, and $144.5 million in STAR bonds. The STAR bonds would be repaid from sales tax revenues generated by the merchants at the Village West development.
Since 2005, five MLS teams have opened new soccer-first stadiums. Two additional soccer-first venues are scheduled to debut in 2010, with the New York Red Bulls opening Red Bull Arena and Philadelphia Union opening their new stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Wizards have played their home games in CommunityAmerica Ballpark for the last two seasons.
Fans who purchase or renew season tickets will retain an early priority number that will determine seat locations in the new venue. Wyandotte County residents will be entitled to at least one discount night per season and the opportunity to purchase single-game Wizards tickets at least one day in advance of the general public.