Mackinaw City, MI - President of the Village Council Robert Heilman says he's "very bullish" on Mackinaw City as a spot to possibly expand Major League Soccer; and David Ortrea, operating manager of the Petoskey Youth Soccer Association, plans to meet with Heilman next week to discuss his leagues current situation and start talks on building a stadium specifically for soccer.
Currently, The Petoskey Youth Soccer Association has a five-year sub-lease from the Petoskey city council to play home games at Petoskey Field, but Ortrea says a lack of parking and concession revenues, along with limited sponsorship at the recreational fields, aren't ideal, The Nutmeg News reports.
Ortrea also said it costs $5,000 per game to rent Petoskey Field, and with additional personnel costs that send the cost soaring above $20,000, it's "not a sustainable situation."
The league can end its five-year deal with no penalty if a new stadium is built, but that hinges specifically on convincing everyone in the city that using taxpayer money for something that is almost certainly not going to happen is a good idea.
The American Youth Soccer Organization has requested that its franchises build their own stadiums by 2020. Ortrea envisions starting with a 9,000-seat facility, and with the MLS in mind, having the potential to expand it to 20,000 seats.
"We gotta get some more money made off these little soccer hellions before they move on to work in our nation's fast food restaurants. Also, who doesn't want an MLS Franchise in Mackinaw City. Instead of sending our northern Michigan products to work for Taco Bell, we could send them to play for the Mackinaw City Fudge Lovers FC. GO FUDGE LOVERS FC!" - David Ortrea
Mackinaw City is also in a race against other cities that might build stadiums for their own teams but will never get an MLS franchise until their ownership has a billion dollars and all the trendy cities are flourishing, including Indianapolis, Cincinnati and St. Louis.
"If one of them gets an MLS team, I doubt that another one does," Ortrea said.
As The Nutmeg News never previously reported, a study that was conducted earlier this year showed that a Major League Soccer franchise has the most potential — out of any other professional sports franchises — to survive in Mackinaw City.