Handicapping the MLS2ATX Vote Tonight

Note: I recently started a Patreon for those who want to help support/expand my writing content. Whatever you’d like to contribute is greatly appreciated! End plug.

Become a Patron:



Well, we’re finally here. This evening, the Austin City Council will vote on the proposal to allow Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) to construct a soccer stadium, which would allow him to move the Columbus Crew (or an expansion team, but let’s not get into that here) to Austin, presumably for the start of the 2019 season. This marks a huge turning point in this saga, which began with the announcement last October that Anthony Precourt was exploring a move to the Austin.

Sometime after “dinner,” (and I can’t be any more specific) Central Time, the ATX Council will begin discussing the revised proposal from PSV, which was release late (late) Wednesday night. For those who have only been casually following along, I figured I’d do my best to handicap this vote. If you don’t know, the ATX Council has 11 members; 10 members from Austin districts and the Mayor, all who have an equal vote. Majority takes the day. While there are several other options, the main pathways are: Vote yes (granting a pathway to secure the lease), vote no (MLS2ATX is then dead), or table/continue the manner (essentially the same as a no vote, given the apparent deadline PSV is under to get this done). So let’s take a look at each of the Council-members and the Mayor, and see how they’re likely to go. I’m going to start with the Mayor, and then go district by district.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 7.35.20 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: More than leaning “yes,” the Mayor has been an advocate for bringing a team to Austin since the beginning of this process. He recently said this about the proposed deal:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler touted the current iteration of the deal as “the best stadium deal that anyone has gotten anywhere in the country” on an Austin radio show Tuesday. As he explained to ProSoccerUSA on Wednesday, the declaration was based on city staffers looking at other cities’ recent stadium plans, which he said generally called for city governments “to write bigger checks, finance projects and give greater concessions.”

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: Yes, to the tune of over $10,000.

Final Verdict: Big “Yes.” Likely would have voted for the previous version of the deal, so this revised Term Sheet will get his approval.

Vote Change: Unlikely, unless the deal completely blows up.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 7.46.57 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: Fair to say she was skeptical (if somewhat reserved) about the deal initially. In recent days, she has raised more concerns, co-authoring an editorial outlining some problems she has with the proposal, as well as proposing amendments to the initial PSV/MLS Term Sheet.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: Likely “no” vote here.

Vote Change: Unlikely, unless PSV comes to the table with massive add-ons to their proposal, which comes closer to what Houston requested in the op-ed or proposed amendments.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 7.54.59 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: I would characterize her as very supportive of bringing a team to Austin. However, I think there is one big issue for her: 1) The Community Benefits package, within which specifically is the funding for the Metro Station. As you all likely know by now, PSV has not agreed to fund the Metro Station site. I would also wonder how she is going to feel about PSV adding a ticket surcharge which they don’t have to spend on anything (capital improvements, Metro, etc…)

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: A tough one. If the Metro Station funding is as important as she says, she has to be a “no” vote.

Vote Change: She can be gotten for sure, especially if PSV comes to the table with funding for the Metro Site.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.04.36 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: Also very supportive of the MLS2ATX plan. I initially thought he was a slam-dunk yes vote. However, he has been interested in making sure that Austin wasn’t holding the financial bag here, and at the meeting on Tuesday which went over other proposals, he was very impressed with the plans that offer to build the Metro Station.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: Yes, in the amount of about $6,125.

Final Verdict: I’m going “yes” here. I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to think he’ll vote no.

Vote Change: Possible, if the lack of Metro Station funding becomes a major issue this evening.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.13.34 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: Our first “undecided.” Casar has kept his cards pretty close to the chest. I would say he has been supportive of the principle of bringing a team to Austin, but this isn’t a cause celeb for him; he’s much more interested in affordable housing. As such, I would probably look for him to focus on that portion of the deal, which is somewhat undefined here. There is land set aside for that purpose, so we’ll need to see if that is sufficient for him.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: I’m going to go out on a limb and put him in the “yes” category, assuming the affordable housing component is satisfactory.

Vote Change: Absolutely. If it turns out the affordable housing isn’t good enough, and the other community benefits don’t stack up to his liking, he could easily go “no.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.20.40 AM.png

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: Another undecided, I would also characterize Kitchen as supportive of bringing a team to Austin. She was initially opposed to Butler Shores as a location for the stadium, and when that was removed, she seemed much more supportive of the MLS2ATX proposal. Like Casar, she has mostly not revealed which way she is leaning, but she has some concerns about the community benefits and the academy structure.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: A nominal amount ($50).

Final Verdict: Again like Casar, this one could go either way. Pay attention to the Metro Station and Community Benefits vis-a-vi girls soccer. I’m going “no” here.

Vote Change: She could absolutely flip from “no” to “yes,” if her concerns as sufficiently assuaged.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.28.24 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: My third undecided. Like the other two, he’s supportive of the principal of bring a MLS team to Austin. Famously noted after voting to move this proposal to this point that Precourt may wish he didn’t have to negotiate with the City, because they’ll “put him through the wringer.” He seems to have been frustrated with this entire process; went on a bit of a rant about his colleagues.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: I’m not sure how his frustration at his colleagues will play, but I think I’m going to put him in the “yes” category.

Vote Change: Certainly.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.34.37 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: If I could quote that great orator from the 1990s.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.38.03 AM

More seriously, this stadium would be going in her district, and she has been against it from pretty much the start. Co-authored the editorial as well as proposed amendments to the initial PSV/MLS Term Sheet.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: You’re kidding, right?

Final Verdict: See: Above photo.

Vote Change: Uh, no.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.41.38 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: She is certainly supportive of a team in Austin (though she is a self-described non-soccer fan). As this process has gone along, I think her support has waned. Co-authored the editorial as well as proposed amendments to the initial PSV/MLS Term Sheet. She isn’t running for re-election, so isn’t worried about political ramifications of her vote.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: This looks like a “no” vote to me.

Vote Change: Vote could be changed, if she likes what she hears today. But seems pretty unlikely.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.45.41 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: The Mayor Pro-Tem has been highly supportive of bringing a team to Austin. However, the issue of community benefits and PSV including the academy may really bite them in the backside here. Tovo was very concerned about the fact there was no funding for a girls’ academy here, raising the issue multiple times during the hearing. The fact that the revised term sheet didn’t address it at all could cause a huge problem.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: Oh yes, Tovo received about $7,100 from PSV contributors.

Final Verdict: I’m still going “yes” here, with a caveat (below).

Vote Change: I’m going to say Tovo could be a wild-card here, and in fact could change her vote. The girls academy issue could be a massive blunder for PSV. If they don’t have a good solution, they could lose Tovo, at which point all hell could break loose.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.52.19 AM

Leaning Yes/No/Undecided: Second only to Pool in her…less than enthusiastic response to MLS2ATX, Alter also raised serious concerns about the lack of equity in funding for girls relative to PSV’s academy proposal. Co-authored the editorial as well as proposed amendments to the initial PSV/MLS Term Sheet.

Contributions from PSV, or related associates: None.

Final Verdict: That would be a “hard no.”

Vote Change: Extremely unlikely.

So there is my review of the votes before the meeting tonight. If the deal is as it stands, AND the council members stay true to what they have said, then I’m putting this down as a shock 5-6 defeat. Of course politicians being who/what they are, could easily find a justification to get this over the line. I think a majority of them want to get to yes (I think there are at least 7 votes to be had for a “good” deal); I am just not sure PSV did enough to get them there. The Metro Station and funding for girls are just massive holes that PSV could end up falling through. We’ll see if they’ve got what it takes to patch them up, if it looks like the vote isn’t going their way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s