The Silverdome and Major League Soccer?
No, there isn’t thing officially saying that MLS is coming to Detroit, and I’m not insinuating that it is.
Today the Pontiac Silverdome was sold for peanuts, really. $583,000 for an 80,000-seat stadium. The Silverdome certainly has aged, and it hasn’t aged well, but it could always be upgraded and when it’s all said and done this firm, which at the moment is still anonymous, got it for a steal.
The Detroit News reports that the company would like to bring a soccer league to the area, which is interesting when you consider that the United Soccer Leagues just announced plans to put a USL First Division team — most likely promoting the existing Michigan Bucks, who also call Pontiac home, from the PDL. I don’t think the two groups are related, which leaves open the possibly that the group is talking about MLS. MLS is now using a guideline that expansion teams have a stadium, or at least play in a stadium that the owner has control of — like Seattle does — and the purchase of the Silverdome gives this group a stadium.
The stadium has seen soccer before, it famously became the first indoor stadium to host World Cup matches in 1994, during these matches it was specially fitted with a raised pitch to allow for more width and the use of grass, at the time the stadium used an Astroturf surface for Lions games. It was also home the the Detroit Express of the NASL briefly in the late 70’s.
Today Don Garber announced Montreal as the possible 19th MLS team, and said he wasn’t sure what the 20th would be. There are several other options, but we now know that there is a group in Detroit looking at soccer a serious possiblity.
Is this a non-story? Possibly. But it is interesting. Personally I’d turn the Silverdome into some sort of post-apocalyptic castle and live in it, but that’s probably just me.