Sacramento Republic unveils ‘new vision’ for Railyards stadium

United Soccer League team Sacramento Republic FC has unveiled renderings for a proposed new stadium in the Railyards district of the city.

The team had been due to join Major League Soccer in 2023 and a new $300m (£229m/€273m), 20,100-seat stadium had been central to its plans. However, Ron Burkle decided not to move forward with his acquisition of the team due to issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the club appears set to remain in the USL for the foreseeable future.

Sacramento Republic currently plays at Heart Health Park, which has a capacity of 11,500. The proposed new stadium, announced on Friday, would have a capacity of between 12,000 and 15,000.

Team owner and chairman Kevin Nagle said the stadium would help Sacramento accelerate its recovery from the pandemic and create a community asset for the city. Sacramento Republic has engaged Manica Architecture and Machete Group to craft an initial concept for the stadium.

The club said the new stadium would expand Sacramento’s sports and entertainment calendar through marquee soccer matches with international competitions and global clubs, as well as other sports such as rugby and lacrosse, and outdoor concerts, festivals and shows.

The stadium would be expandable up to 20,000-plus seats and would anchor an investment nearing $1bn that will accelerate development throughout Sacramento’s 242-acre Railyards district. The development would also include housing and retail projects.

Nagle said: “We want to build a world-class soccer stadium in The Railyards, and to begin the next decade of Republic FC. We’re ready with a new vision that allows us to take our destiny into our own hands, and to create a community asset that will grow with the team and city.”

In May last year, Western Health Advantage acquired naming rights to Sacramento Republic’s current stadium, with the deal designed to bring attention to the importance of community health and wellbeing while also supporting the club’s plans to land an MLS franchise.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg insisted the club’s latest stadium proposal does not signal the end of the city’s MLS ambitions. Following Burkle’s withdrawal last year, Steinberg worked with MLS to evaluate the possible next steps for a major-league franchise in the city.

Steinberg said on Friday: “I’m grateful to Kevin Nagle for his partnership and his commitment to Sacramento. As a city, we are open to pursuing dual tracks. We continue to identify and work with potential Major League Soccer investors, and at the same time we’re ready to work together on an adaptable stadium in the railyards. It’s not one or the other.”

Image: Sacramento Republic/Manica