When a well respected sports website lists the 5 top Major League Soccer teams most likely to move to a new city and puts the Philadelphia Union on the top of that list, you should kinda figure there’s something going on.
When that well respected sports website refers to an article from our well respected sports writer at the Delaware County Daily Times, Matthew DeGeorge, those website guys have done their homework. DeGeorge reminded us in his front page story back in March…
…there’s a stadium that stands empty more than 300 days per year, whose only interaction with Chester is the quarter-mile stretch of Route 291 between ramps to Route 322 and Interstate 95. Parking lots have been turned into fields (that the Union exclusively use), and the club has revitalized a storage annex into a team facility (that is closed to the public). And as for commerce, the closest thing to a free-standing business is the cafeteria that serves the Wharf Building, a Class A office space whose occupancy has swelled but whose influence remains constrained.
In other words, even with a soccer team, the stadium barely gets used. There’s nothing going on around the stadium. There’s nothing to lose by leaving. And, if the Union leaves, the cafeteria that serves the Wharf Building is in no risk of closing just in case you’re looking for a great place to eat during a workday.
I have a feeling there’s about to be a whole lot of finger pointing going on around here in the not to distant future. Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, who was State Rep Kirkland when it was decided to bring the stadium to Chester, was in total opposition to the stadium idea as it was crafted. He saw it as a bad deal for the city of Chester. And DeGeorge reminds us that even Delaware County Council had their universe rocked…
When Delco’s portion of a $30 million contribution was decided, it met a rare dissent from County Council member Andy Lewis, the first dissenting vote on the then uniformly Republican body in decades.
In DECADES? The all Republican held county council had not had a dissenting vote in over 10 years and it took the soccer stadium to break that record.
Kirkland and Lewis are going to be wagging their finger like a Dikembe Mutombo GEICO commercial (since I can’t refer to the NBA because of taunting rules).
I guess Delaware County will have first dibs on what will become of the stadium. Temple football can hold up on plans to move out a bunch of North Philly locals and play in Chester. The stadium is the perfect size for their crowd as their fans bring no home field advantage inside the giant Lincoln Financial Field. The high school state football, soccer, and lacrosse, tourney can come here. We can keep the college Rugby, lacrosse, and other soccer events. We can install a running track and rival the Penn Relays. If a concert promoter is looking for a new venue to stage outdoor shows, this could be it.
I kind of see everyone doing nothing, though. Despite being a 10 year old gently used big ole empty stadium with some of the most gorgeous site lines in America, we still have to deal with the fact that it’s in Chester where everything goes to rot.
Hopefully, we can get less fingers wagging and a few fingers pointing toward some reasonable solution to making money with the stadium after the Union leaves.
I probably shouldn’t sound so certain they’re leaving. Yet, I have a feeling we’ll be referring to this post sometime in the near future.