Raleigh Stadium/Arena/Sports Discussions


I just wonder if we’re looking at this wrong. Yes it would be awesome to have an MLS team in Raleigh and yes it would bring people to the city and yes a stadium is better than a parking deck.

But the question is, how many people and does that justify using $330 million?

As I shared before, MLS teams on average (in a whole season) bring in an attendance of 371,841. To put that into context, 5 days of The World of Bluegrass brought in 223,000 people.

Now obviously, you’d activate the stadium more than those 17 games, but how much? As @daviddonovan pointed out, cities aren’t having much luck w/ that.

So is it really worth using $330 million in tax revenue for this type of payoff?

Like I said when we started this convo, these are hard questions that us as residents don’t really want to be faced with, and we didn’t have to when this was going to be privately funded. But that’s not the case anymore.


Well it cost $225 million to build the Raleigh Convention center and $2.5 million to build the Red Hat amphitheatre so that we could host events like the Blue Grass festival.


They are asking for hotel and meal tax money, which is to say that they’re still asking for $330 million of taxpayer money to pay for a capital expense for a privately owned business run by a billionaire that would then keep all of “whatever money it pulls in from the events themselves.” The vast majority of people who attend a soccer game are local fans who don’t need a hotel room, so the number of heads put into hotel beds because of a soccer stadium would be very, very small. (This is true of concerts as well, but as noted above, if you look at MLS stadiums in other cities, they almost never host any concerts anyway.)

@nipper.dwight Among the multiple problems with this plan is that the whole point of the stadium is to attract an MLS franchise and MLS is absolutely dead set against putting teams in multi-purpose stadiums, so you couldn’t build a baseball/soccer stadium and still get an MLS franchise, thus defeating the whole point of the plan. As you note, Rochester’s team is a minor league team, and we already have a USL team that has a perfectly good home at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Also the Atlantic League draws like one or two thousand fans a game, so having a team play in a 20,000 seat stadium would be a horrifically awful idea. Ditto with Shaw football, NCSU baseball, etc. (And UNC and Duke aren’t ever going to come all the way to downtown Raleigh to play a home game when they have their own stadiums, plus DBAP which is smaller, closer, and baseball specific.)

But, yeah, I was really worried that billionaires didn’t have enough ability to influence policy by whispering into the ears of their elected friends. I’m relieved to hear that won’t be a problem here in Raleigh. (Although the mayor has absolutely zero control over countywide taxes anyway.)


If anywhere, the soccer stadium needs to be on the Cargill site. Proximity to BRT on Wilmington Street, proximity to eventual commuter rail at Hammond/Rush, and proximity to I-40.


@TedF you’re right, but like we were saying the Raleigh Convention Center is activated nearly every single day of the week and used for countless events, tradeshows and even as an E-Sports arena.

Red Hat also is active about 3-5 times per month which isn’t great, but it does give us a venue size the city was lacking and it was only $2.5 million to create (and really is a placeholder for phase 2 of convention center).

So the point is, if the NCFC group can lock down guaranteed constant use of the stadium and can share those contracts with the city to nearly guarantee them a major return in tax revenue, then I think a lot of people would be ok with it.

The point a few have already made on here is that there is no blueprint for an MLS stadium that is being used actively for events and concerts other than soccer. So unless they have a plan to make that happen, it’s hard to see this as really feasible.


I generally agree with your statement. That is why I think the new Stadium would probably need to replace Walnut Creek for concerts in order to make it viable. Raleigh can sell the land at Walnut Creek to help pay for the new stadium (or build a park). If that happens then I would be for the Stadium I think depending on the details that come out.


Yes David , I think that you are right concerning MLS not sharing a stadium with another sports team .
But David you are wrong on the attendance of The Atlantic League . In 21 seasons , over 40+ million fans have attended & the last two seasons , the 8 team league has averaged 3900+ fans per game . I believe that Raleigh would be a St. Paul , Minn . of The American Independent League , last two seasons they averaged 8,200+ fans a game . When NCSU played UNCC at Charlotte’s minor league stadium , 7,400+ fans attended . I believe that NCSU /UNC , ECU would attract a large fan base that State’s stadium would not hold . But , yes , you are right bottom line unless by some chance MLS would ok a waiver & agree to share baseball . I don’t see this happening either because of Mr. Goodmon , unless Mr. Goodmon is the owner of The Atlantic League Team , which I don’t think he would do this . This is why I stated a long shot .


I would love for this to happen !


It’s a nice idea but I think the fact that they decided to build separate baseball and soccer stadiums tells you how much the teams liked that arrangement. I love baseball but we already have two minor league teams, it’s hard for me to imagine another team competing for more baseball fans.


We should be very clear that if this stadium generated more tax revenue than it costs, then it would be the first time in the history of humanity. 100% of tax-funded stadiums are net losses for taxpayers. Plain and simple. Every economist who studies this from across the political spectrum agrees.

If we want a soccer team and the public wants to subsidize it, then that’s fine, but we should be very honest about the true costs and benefits. In the article they’re claiming that the stadium will generate more tax revenue than it costs, that’s a lie. Every study done on this comes back with the same answer.


I understand your opinion Steve . I have heard this before . I believe that many fans from
Raleigh will not drive to Durham & Zebulon Monday thru Thursday Nights to attend a game
because of work the next day . I also feel that many fans from Raleigh will not get off of work
in time thru the week to get to a game by 7pm . JMO Steve ! Yes , I agree it is better to have
separate stadiums but just trying to keep busy a 300+ million facility .


Steve , Again JMO ! I think that every great city in America has a downtown sports stadium . Even if baseball is not a part of this project , I do support this . I think that we need to do what Charlotte has
done . It’s good that we do agree to disagree .


I also agree, that is’s good that you agree to disagree, agreed? :grinning::joy::grin:


Can I make sure I’m understanding you correctly?

From what I understand, you’re saying that Raleigh should agree to give a billionaire $300 million in taxpayer money for a sparsely-used stadium -just because you feel like it’s what a “great city” is supposed to have. …even if there’s legitimate reasons to be concerned about:

  • how it will most likely add up to a net loss of money for everyone involved except Steve Malik, as @Steve and @Loup20 meticulously looked up;
  • how the stadium basically can’t be used for any other purpose (which non-NFL stadiums must do to break even and not go bankrupt), as @daviddonovan explained, and;
  • even if a mixed-use stadium is possible, how to make such a facility competitive with other, existing venues in the Triangle

If so, this doesn’t feel like a fair, well-thought-out, apples-to-apples comparison…


David , You sometimes would not believe what a phone call will do
from people concerning projects . Wish I could say more .


I do support a hotel tax help with a stadium . Anyone , please tell me if I am wrong on this . Wake County Hotel Tax money helped The Durham Bulls Stadium & The Mudcats Stadium .


My simple comment about your statement here is… to little too late…

You really can’t argue this specific point, as yes, the citizens of Raleigh and the council of the City of Raleigh at the time they created this Tax were well aware of this exact situation and voted in favor or put another way (majority rules) case closed. Sorry…:cry:


It is a worthwhile exercise to investigate how successful other cities have been when it comes to activating MLS stadiums for other purposes. Perhaps the conclusion drawn, that MLS stadiums simply don’t lend themselves well to other purposes, is spot on. Still, shouldn’t a market-specific study be completed before shutting the door?

Take Houston for example. It is a huge city, yes, with huge demand so quite naturally also a city with ample facilities for meeting that demand. Perhaps there are too many other competing venues there? Perhaps the crowds drawn for many events are just too big to be handled by a measly 20,000 seat MLS stadium? Most other MLS cities are also quite large and therefore posses a very deep bench when it comes to competing alternatives.

Raleigh is a different place with possibly a different set of market circumstances. What if Walnut Creek were closed as @TedF has suggested? A very close look might be the only way to do this justice.


What else has this tax been used for in the past, and what are the possible things we could use it on? Someone said RHT Amphitheater was $2.5 Million, which made me think… Is an MLS stadium worth 132 Red Hat Amphitheaters? Would love to educate myself on other potential ways this $330 Million could be use under current rules


The hotel tax brings in something like $50 million a year (someone who knows exact number correct me). The money goes to cricket fields in Morrisville, the soccer complex in Cary, some art projects, etc. The tax was specifically designed for things like sports facilities that bring people to the area to stay in hotels and eat in our restaurants. If you don’t want to pay the tax don’t stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant.