Another MiLB owner is looking at entering the world of pro soccer, as Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) CEO/Managing Owner Gary Green is leading the effort to bring a USL team to Omaha.
Green has tentatively agreed to lead an effort to bring the USL to Omaha as early as the 2019 season. Numerous details need to be addressed, but the group could look to establish the club at an existing venue in the Omaha area (yes, Werner Park is being discussed, as is TD Ameritrade Park) before eventually moving to a new soccer-specific stadium. This is not an inexpensive endeavor: USL expansion teams are going for a reported $5 million. Additionally, the investors would like to strike an affiliation agreement with an MLS franchise.
We have several MiLB ownership groups whose members also own USL teams, including the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the Tulsa Drillers (Class AA; Texas League). In addition, Louisville City FC (USL) plays at Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats (Class AAA; International League), Harrisburg City Islanders play out of FNB Park, home of the Harrisburg Senators (Class AA; Eastern League), while the New York Cosmos (NASL) play at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A; NY-Penn League). (And, of course, NYCFC plays at Yankee Stadium.) The Tacoma Rainiers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are working on a deal with the MLS Seattle Sounders that would have the baseball team run the business operations of a USL franchise with the MLS team supplying players and coaches.
Omaha is not the only city to be linked to a potential USL expansion franchise. Las Vegas, with a team playing out of Cashman Field, has been reported to be in the mix, while Baltimore and Birmingham have also been floated as possible new markets for the league. The USL already has at least one expansion club lined up for 2018, as Nashville SC is set to debut next year. In addition, there are other MLS teams looking at launching their own USL affiliates in the next few years.
RELATED STORIES: Tacoma Rainiers Enter Soccer Business With Sounders