Enterprise owners back renewed St. Louis MLS bid

The family that owns car rental giant Enterprise Holdings is seeking to reignite the St. Louis bid for an expansion franchise in North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS), committing to initial plans to build a new stadium in the Missouri city.

St. Louis was regarded as one of the main frontrunners to secure an expansion team in the most recent round of bidding. However, voters in April 2017 turned down a proposal to use tax money to fund a new 22,000-capacity stadium.

Miami and Nashville went on to secure franchises and will enter teams into MLS in the 2020 season.

The Taylor family is hoping to take the St. Louis project on, with plans to build a new stadium at the same location near Union Station on the western edge of downtown, according to the Associated Press.

However, unlike the previous project, the stadium build would not need to go to a public vote, as the family said it will only seek “minimal” public funding. The 20,000-capacity venue is likely to cost around $250m (£189.9m/€217.5m).

Details of the project were unveiled yesterday (Tuesday) at a press conference, with the proposed ownership group to be primarily female.

Carolyn Kindle Betz, granddaughter of Enterprise founder Jack Taylor and senior vice-president at Enterprise, said: “We view an MLS team as a lasting legacy to the city we love.”

The Taylors will partner with Jim Kavanaugh, who owns United Soccer League (USL) team Saint Louis FC and headed up the previous expansion franchise bid.

Dan Courtemanche, executive vice-president of communications at MLS, said that the league has met with the Taylor family and Kavanaugh to discuss the new plans.

According to Sport Illustrated, he said: “We recently met with the Taylor family and Jim Kavanaugh regarding their new vision for Major League Soccer in St. Louis and are impressed by their commitment to the MLS effort.

“We look forward to spending time with them during the coming months to learn more about their plan.”

Image: Daniel Schwen