Nippert Stadium should be considered appropriate if FC Cincinnati goes MLS

FC Cincinnati playing in the highest level of soccer in the United States, MLS, seemed like an unlikely dream months ago, but now it seems that FCC may have MLS status in the upcoming few years. The only thing holding them back: MLS has said “No” to Nippert.

Talk for a new home for FCC has progressed very quickly, and in early June a design for a new stadium was unveiled to the public. This may seem exciting to some people, but to many including myself, this news comes as a disappointment. Nippert has a huge role in the unique atmosphere of FCC games and for many, it has been the destination of other types of games for many years preceding FCC's existence. It would be hard to replace the pregame hype that Clifton sports with its many popular and fantastic choices for food and drinks that fans are accustom to having. The marches from bars, through the city, to the bailey are one of the greatest aspects of the club, partly thanks to the stadium’s location. However, the MLS has stated that a prerequisite for FC Cincinnati to be promoted into MLS would be a soccer-specific stadium with its sole tenant being FCC. But why can't Nippert be an acceptable venue for a Cincinnati MLS team?

 Nippert's recent 2 million dollar renovation outfitted the field with FIFA regulation dimensions, meaning that there is now no physical reason for why it could not be suitable. Nippert would also not be breaking any barriers or being a first of its kind in any manner as seven MLS teams currently share their stadium with at least one other team. Minnesota United FC is actually in the same situation that FC Cincinnati is in as TCF Bank stadium is located on the campus of the University of Minnesota and is shared with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Nippert has no problems with size as it can hold up to 40,000 fans which would place it at ninth in the MLS for stadium capacity. Nippert isn’t struggling with drawing fans either as this season’s average is 20,130 fans a match which is on par with the MLS average of 21,521 (soccer stadium digest). This attendance, as great as it is, could plummet if Nippert is abandoned in favor of a new and virtually unnecessary stadium as some might decide against going if their travel time were to increase, and others might decide not go if the game is not played at Nippert.

What FC Cincinnati has at Nippert right now is great in terms of location, attendance, and overall atmosphere. If this is changed, there is no promise that the same hype or levels of attendance will persist, or if the change would be too much too soon.

Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune told WCPO that he is trying to get the MLS to allow Nippert to host the games. Nothing is innately wrong with Nippert, but it is not what the MLS is wanting, and Portune should not try to make the MLS look bad in his attempt to keep them there. 

The same article expresses how Jeff Berding wants FC Cincinnati to have their own stadium. 

The conversation is a hot one right now, and it will get even hotter if FC Cincinnati if given the expansion bid.  


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