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Grand Action - Convention Ctr Expansion/Stadium/Hotel

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7 hours ago, ironyisadeadscene said:

 

A football field surrounded by a track looks dumpy too

The track definitely pulls you away from the action. And the fact that they can't sell beer at games is a huge disadvantage (imagine the $$$ at $7-8 per pop). The beer companies are quite active with GRFC (Vivant has 2? GRFC beers and New Holland is a Jersey sponsor). 

I do wonder if moving up to the USL is the right move though (if this is a five year plan, maybe).

A) As stated, GRFC has better attendance than most USL teams.

B) In it's infancy (and maybe for the next few years), I think the local player aspect is important. It's cool to see the local players around town and I think for kids (the future supporters / attendees), they get star struck seeing the players / having their soccer coaches play on GRFC, which in turn, helps grow Youth Soccer in West Michigan.

A better stadium (I love Houseman, but the concessions, track, scoreboard are definitely not ideal) would definitely help. but I wonder if paying $5M plus stadium to join the USL would really bring it to the next level? I don't think the casual fan knows the difference between NPSL, USL, NASL. So unless the jump is too MSL (which is monumental), I wonder if the economics are even worth it.

Joe

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Since this entire subject is a 10 - 20 year blueprint for Grand Action, what do we think we'll see on their priority list first? My predictions:

1) A new 500 room hotel and finding some way to expand Devos Place. If they're actively trying to attract big conferences, which usually book 3 - 5 years in advance, there's got to be a lot of pressure to start the planning process for expansion TODAY (yesterday). 

2) Restore the rapids. I think Grand Action will now take a very big role in getting this going. There's been at least 6 to 7 years of talking and investigating and it's time to move on it. I bet there's an announcement soon that Grand Action is taking the lead. It's mentioned repeatedly by the consultant as a very big asset that not very many peer cities will have. 

3) New soccer stadium. Once they find the right site, it's go time. Would this be something RDV would get involved with? In relation to Joe's comments above, this is a totally "ego" thing for city leaders. Soccer's the next big thing for mid-sized markets and they want to be in on it.

4) Soccer complex. I did talk with Kent County Parks people about the Patterson land near 28th and Patterson and a soccer complex idea. They really liked it but since it's in the city of Kentwood, they were not interested in pursuing a purchase and they tend to stay away from "turf wars" apparently. Doesn't mean that land wouldn't be perfect though. Huge number of hotel rooms nearby. Could be a West Michigan Sports Commission led effort? 

5) Trolley buses and gondolas: Meh. Go directly to streetcar when the time is right, 8 - 10 years?

 

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26 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

4) Soccer complex. I did talk with Kent County Parks people about the Patterson land near 28th and Patterson and a soccer complex idea. They really liked it but since it's in the city of Kentwood, they were not interested in pursuing a purchase and they tend to stay away from "turf wars" apparently. Doesn't mean that land wouldn't be perfect though. Huge number of hotel rooms nearby. Could be a West Michigan Sports Commission led effort? 

How many fields are you talking about for a soccer complex?

I always thought the baseball diamonds in Belknap Park were underused, why not rip them out and put a few soccer fields (pitches?) in their place?  You could even rip out some of the tennis/pickleball courts, or rearrange them to get even more open field areas to squeeze in a few smaller fields or more parking spots.  You already have a decent sized parking lot in place, there are already lights for the baseball diamonds which could be rearranged around the soccer fields, and put some bleachers going up the hill for some stadium style seating.

Plus I can just think back to my days of youth soccer, my coach would've loved to make us run up that hill as punishment for dragging ass in practice ;)

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5 hours ago, WMrapids said:

Here's an interesting comparison of soccer stadiums in our sister cities.

IMG_2748.JPG

Stadion Miejski - Bielsko-Biała, Poland

Capcity: 15,292

Cost: $20 million (renovation only)

IMG_2749.JPG

Stadio Renato Curi - Perugia, Italy

Capacity: 28,000

Cost: $4 million

IMG_2750.JPGIMG_2751.JPG

Estadio Chivas - Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico

Capacity: 46,232

Cost: $217 million

Fun fact, the team in Perugia is nicknamed "The Griffins"

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2 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

The track definitely pulls you away from the action. And the fact that they can't sell beer at games is a huge disadvantage (imagine the $$$ at $7-8 per pop). The beer companies are quite active with GRFC (Vivant has 2? GRFC beers and New Holland is a Jersey sponsor). 

I do wonder if moving up to the USL is the right move though (if this is a five year plan, maybe).

A) As stated, GRFC has better attendance than most USL teams.

B) In it's infancy (and maybe for the next few years), I think the local player aspect is important. It's cool to see the local players around town and I think for kids (the future supporters / attendees), they get star struck seeing the players / having their soccer coaches play on GRFC, which in turn, helps grow Youth Soccer in West Michigan.

A better stadium (I love Houseman, but the concessions, track, scoreboard are definitely not ideal) would definitely help. but I wonder if paying $5M plus stadium to join the USL would really bring it to the next level? I don't think the casual fan knows the difference between NPSL, USL, NASL. So unless the jump is too MSL (which is monumental), I wonder if the economics are even worth it.

Joe

So the first example I'll give is a bit anecdotal, but Cincinnati had an NPSL team that drew 600ish out to games. As soon as big money got involved and they brought a USL team to town, they started averaging 17,000 a game. Going full pro does matter, not just the fact that fans will know the difference, but once you get your own stadium and a big advertising budget, people will start coming out of the woodwork to go to games.

The other big plus (along with the added revenue of beer and concessions) is that it is a longer season, so not only is it more games, they are spread out so it isn't an every weekend or twice a weekend thing. It becomes more of an event when the team is only in town every other weekend.

Sacramento built their stadium for $3,500,000, granted it is very bare bones, but they nearly filled it every game. They sold 175,000 tickets over 15 home games. If you average $20-$30 per person between tickets and concession, you are looking at enough revenue to pay for the stadium within a few years. That doesn't even take into account renting out the stadium for other events or merchandise sales for the team.

Lastly, it is about 95% confirmed that USL will make the jump from Div 3 to DIv 2. The current Div 2 league is on its last leg and won't be around for much longer. This puts USL as an even more prestigious league if you are able to advertise it is directly under MLS. That combined with its growth rate and the fact it will be more like 17-19 home games by the time we join, it seems like a good investment to me.

 

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1 hour ago, mielsonwheels said:

How many fields are you talking about for a soccer complex?

I always thought the baseball diamonds in Belknap Park were underused, why not rip them out and put a few soccer fields (pitches?) in their place?  You could even rip out some of the tennis/pickleball courts, or rearrange them to get even more open field areas to squeeze in a few smaller fields or more parking spots.  You already have a decent sized parking lot in place, there are already lights for the baseball diamonds which could be rearranged around the soccer fields, and put some bleachers going up the hill for some stadium style seating.

Plus I can just think back to my days of youth soccer, my coach would've loved to make us run up that hill as punishment for dragging ass in practice ;)

They mentioned a 12 - 20 field complex to attract large tournaments (and for locals to use). That's about 25 - 30 acres, figuring 1.7 acres per field plus spacing between them and spectator areas. Belknap Park ballfields are maybe 10 or 11 acres? 

I played soccer right up to until high school and our coach used to make us hang from the crossbar if we missed the goal during shooting drills with the goalie. Good times. :lol:

There's a great depth of knowledge on a variety of topics on this forum. I love it. 

 

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If only MLS would embrace the concept and operate like the English Premier League and others with a system of promotion and relegation.  That would have the potential to be awesome for this hypothetical USL team from Grand Rapids.  

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On 12/7/2016 at 10:43 AM, Pattmost20 said:

So the first example I'll give is a bit anecdotal, but Cincinnati had an NPSL team that drew 600ish out to games. As soon as big money got involved and they brought a USL team to town, they started averaging 17,000 a game. Going full pro does matter, not just the fact that fans will know the difference, but once you get your own stadium and a big advertising budget, people will start coming out of the woodwork to go to games.

The other big plus (along with the added revenue of beer and concessions) is that it is a longer season, so not only is it more games, they are spread out so it isn't an every weekend or twice a weekend thing. It becomes more of an event when the team is only in town every other weekend.

Sacramento built their stadium for $3,500,000, granted it is very bare bones, but they nearly filled it every game. They sold 175,000 tickets over 15 home games. If you average $20-$30 per person between tickets and concession, you are looking at enough revenue to pay for the stadium within a few years. That doesn't even take into account renting out the stadium for other events or merchandise sales for the team.

Lastly, it is about 95% confirmed that USL will make the jump from Div 3 to DIv 2. The current Div 2 league is on its last leg and won't be around for much longer. This puts USL as an even more prestigious league if you are able to advertise it is directly under MLS. That combined with its growth rate and the fact it will be more like 17-19 home games by the time we join, it seems like a good investment to me.

 

So nobody had any comments on my predictions? I could be totally wrong, lol. 

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On 12/7/2016 at 11:20 AM, wingbert said:

If only MLS would embrace the concept and operate like the English Premier League and others with a system of promotion and relegation.  That would have the potential to be awesome for this hypothetical USL team from Grand Rapids.  

North American soccer doesn't use this system at all.  It goes beyond the MLS. 

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So if a USL team is brought to town, would GRFC as an NPSL team remain? Would it dissolve and the USL team becomes the only GR soccer team? Or would GRFC BE the USL team but with wealthy ownership?

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46 minutes ago, GRLaker said:

So if a USL team is brought to town, would GRFC as an NPSL team remain? Would it dissolve and the USL team becomes the only GR soccer team? Or would GRFC BE the USL team but with wealthy ownership?

GRFC would be the USL team, with slightly different ownership.

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45 minutes ago, GRLaker said:

So if a USL team is brought to town, would GRFC as an NPSL team remain? Would it dissolve and the USL team becomes the only GR soccer team? Or would GRFC BE the USL team but with wealthy ownership?

There's an MLive article in the thread which says Grand Rapids FC is looking at what it would take to move to the USL, which would include some sort of change to the ownership structure. eg. it would seem pretty easy for the founders of Grand Rapids FC to retain some ownership with someone like, say, Dan DeVos, coming on board. I'm just speculating, but the DeVos kids have been very active with Midwest United (where the coaches / founders of GRFC work), so I'm sure they already know each other. And Midwest uses MSA Fieldhouse (formerly MVP) which is owned by a DeVos (Cheri).

One of the DeVos girls plays Soccer at Wake Forest.

Joe

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5 minutes ago, Pattmost20 said:

GRFC would be the USL team, with slightly different ownership.

They do this often in soccer where the franchise moves up as an expansion team, but only really in name.  Front office may remain too,  but the roster is flipped. 

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44 minutes ago, wingbert said:

Some soccer stadium relating reading if you are interested...

Minnesota United Set To Break Ground on $150M Soccer Stadium

Stadium costs are all over the board. Sacramento built a bare bones stadium for $3.5 Million, Columbus built their stadium for the 2016 equivalent of $40 million, Indy Eleven proposed a very nice looking stadium for $82 Million, D.C. is planning on spending $300 mil. And that doesn't even get into NFL stadiums that have been trending towards the 2 Billion dollar mark. I know it is a variety of factors like land cost, amenities, etc. but I feel like a decent stadium in GR could be built for $20 mil. The Crew stadium in Columbus seats 22,000, I just can't see spending that kind of money on an 8000 seat stadium, rather see less amenities and more seats.

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1 hour ago, wingbert said:

Some soccer stadium relating reading if you are interested...

Minnesota United Set To Break Ground on $150M Soccer Stadium

That would also be for an MLS team, not USL. If this were to be a go with Grand Rapids I would see it being quite a lower cost. If they were to invest some money into it, though, it could rehab an entire neighborhood, kind of like what Detroit is doing with the new arena "neighborhood."

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not to beat a dead horse too far off topic here but if GVSU were to make the jump up, the improvement funds required would be minimal but there would be a great opportunity to collaborate on a soccer/football stadium and improvement to the Van. saw this the other day....

http://herosports.com/news/d2-programs-make-the-jump-to-d1-valdosta-gvsu-indiana-pa

 

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I like it, but I can't see it.  Grand Valley needs to make the jump to 1-A otherwise they're just a big fish in a little pool.  Oh yes expenses would increase but to help offset that would be to upgrade Lubbers for both sports.  Working around the alcohol question could be done but it would take some effort to get done. Do the improvements there first to see how a higher level franchise works out in Grand Rapids. Then in 5-10 years if a single use stadium is viable then procede further. We have been very fortunate with the Van Andel Arena, I know we would not be as blessed with a soccer stadium this early.

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1 hour ago, SEsideguy said:

We have been very fortunate with the Van Andel Arena, I know we would not be as blessed with a soccer stadium this early.

That's why I believe a stadium with multiple uses should be built. Soccer is still burgeoning in the United States and a single-purpose stadium might not be the best investment.

Let's just hope that if plans do pan out, we get a better name than Little Caesars Arena. 

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Meijer Field. Spartan Stadium. Switch Stadium... I'm glad I created the Grand Vision 2.0 topic, I have big dreams for this city. :lol:

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19 hours ago, SEsideguy said:

I like it, but I can't see it.  Grand Valley needs to make the jump to 1-A otherwise they're just a big fish in a little pool.  Oh yes expenses would increase but to help offset that would be to upgrade Lubbers for both sports.  Working around the alcohol question could be done but it would take some effort to get done. Do the improvements there first to see how a higher level franchise works out in Grand Rapids. Then in 5-10 years if a single use stadium is viable then procede further. We have been very fortunate with the Van Andel Arena, I know we would not be as blessed with a soccer stadium this early.

The large expenses don't NEED to happen for GVSU to move up a division, but the move up would certainly generate revenue to justify improving facilities. Not sure exactly what you exactly what you mean by "very fortunate" about the van?  Yes it's one of the highest grossing arenas in the country, but it's still not complete, still considerably smaller and/or outdated compared to comparable sized cities like Omaha, Des Moines, Little Rock, Greenville, ect. I think having a minor league/professional affiliate could share a new multipurpose stadium with GV and GV could also use the Van for needed events. 

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30 minutes ago, GR8scott said:

The large expenses don't NEED to happen for GVSU to move up a division, but the move up would certainly generate revenue to justify improving facilities. Not sure exactly what you exactly what you mean by "very fortunate" about the van?  Yes it's one of the highest grossing arenas in the country, but it's still not complete, still considerably smaller and/or outdated compared to comparable sized cities like Omaha, Des Moines, Little Rock, Greenville, ect. I think having a minor league/professional affiliate could share a new multipurpose stadium with GV and GV could also use the Van for needed events.

I think a market study should be done to determine how many non-student/alumni locals would attend GVSU athletic events if they were Division I and playing the likes of the Dakotas, Youngstown State, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Oakland, Detroit Mercy, etc. If a Division I athletic program in the city would generate enough ticket sales and advertising dollars, the extra cost of increased scholarships (36 in D2 to 63 in D1-FCS in football alone) and increased travel may be offset. More people in the stands equals more corporate sponsor money. As it stands now, GVSU now has the largest video board in Division II and the third largest in the state. That was paid for entirely by advertising dollars.

So yeah...I would VERY interested in seeing a study done to find that out. That would require forward thinking leadership in the athletic department though...I'm afraid that currently doesn't exist.

Here is a picture of the video board just to give you an idea of the power of increased exposure/sponsorships.

IMG_0647.JPG

Edited by GRLaker

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No doubt that it is the Van Andel 3/4 Arena, but like stated it is financially successful. It sure beats driving to Wings Stadium, East Lansing or Muskegon for entertainment.

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Build/renovate a new stadium on the Houseman Field property.  You could fit the Portland Timbers Providence Park on the Houseman property and you'd have plenty of room left over.  Move the high school track to another location. 

If the goal is to have a USL or Div I-II quality soccer/football stadium it seems like it could be accomplished at Houseman.  It would require a public/private partnership that doesn't yet exist.  GRFC simply 'rents' the field for match days.  I don't see, though, why a serious rebuild of Houseman couldn't include a facility that allows for Pro sports level consessions AND allows for a space that High Schools or Colleges could use for Football/Soccer, which don't allow alcohol sales.  

That kind of partnership exists at other stadiums!  Oregon State share's Providence Park in Portland.  The MLS bid in San Diego is designed around a partnership with the local College, which would own half the new MLS stadium and use it for their Football games.  

I think we can have a first class USL venue here without spending $50million and redeveloping mutliple blocks downtown.  

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