Study says Soccer Stadium Would Give Region's Economy a Boost

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A soccer stadium in the railyard would generate $200 million in construction expenditures and $1.24 billion of economic benefit for the region over 30 years, according to a report from an economic consulting firm.

Cathy Dominico, managing partner with Roseville’s Capitol Public Finance Group, said the project also would create more than 1,700 jobs during construction. Once operating, the stadium would create 130 to 220 jobs, mostly at the stadium itself, she said.

Sacramento Public Policy Foundation, an economic development nonprofit started by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, paid for the study as part of its "Think Big Sacramento" initiative. The stadium is proposed by Sacramento Republic FC, which hopes to win an expansion slot in Major League Soccer.

During a brief presentation Monday morning at Park Tower overlooking the railyard, Dominico acknowledged that new sports venues don’t necessarily create new dollars so much as move them around. The appeal of a soccer stadium for a Major League Soccer expansion team in Sacramento, she said, is keeping soccer fan dollars here rather than going to the Bay Area.

“The absence of a facility here means they’ll go elsewhere,” she said. “There is no alternative of that type here.”

Capitol Public Finance Group’s report looked at a potential effect of a stadium with a capacity of 18,000 to 22,000 in the northeast corner of the railyard. Such a stadium would host 20 to 22 soccer games a year, along with a handful of other events such as lacrosse, college football, festivals and concerts. Dominico said the analysis assumed about 80 percent of the stadium events would be soccer.

Having a stadium drawing as many as half a million people annually would also benefit its immediate surroundings with demand for retail, restaurants, housing and even office space, according to the report. During her presentation, Dominico said the ancillary development for such a project is a strong barometer of its overall success.

A soccer stadium, contingent on Sacramento getting an MLS franchise, would cost about $150 million, Dominico said. Exact cost estimates and finalized designs are expected in the next few weeks, said Kunal Merchant, an adviser in the stadium planning process for Sacramento Republic FC.

While under construction, with a slated opening in 2018, the stadium would have both direct and indirect impact. Direct construction jobs would total 1,020, with another 735 jobs created indirectly through suppliers, workers buying local services, and other ripple effects.

After it opens, the stadium would have $15.3 million of spending impact from visitors, most of them visiting just for an event. Five percent of visitors would also stay overnight, with benefit for local hotels, according to the report.

The stadium would also generate $2.2 million in taxes for the region, with $800,000 to $900,000 of that annually for the city itself.

Dominico said after her presentation the stadium would have a multiplier effect of sorts as a destination alongside Golden 1 Center, now under construction downtown. The possibility of hosting events at one or both places would drive potential convention traffic, and in turn drive more hotel development, she said.

Releasing the economic impact study was another step in what city and Republic officials call Operation Turnkey. The goal is to complete several pre-development steps for a stadium by year’s end, in anticipation of getting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in the near future and being able to start construction immediately.