Proposed Iron District Soccer Team Would Start Play in 2025
Naming contest underway. Team would compete in USL Championship League.
A men’s professional soccer team proposed for Milwaukee now has a start date and a league. A name, and many other components, remain to be finalized.
The outdoor team, which would play at the proposed 8,000-seat Iron District stadium in the southwest corner of Downtown, would compete in the USL Championship league. The professional league is one level below Major League Soccer. Milwaukee Pro Soccer, as the local organization is currently known, would launch the team in 2025.
The league currently has 27 teams, including nearby teams in Indianapolis, Detroit, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Memphis. A Queens, New York team is to join in 2023 and a Des Moines team in 2025. Four teams owned by MLS teams as part of that league’s second-level (MLS Next PRO) are expected to exit the league at the end of the season.
Kacmarcik already owns one professional team, Forward Madison FC. That team competes in USL League One, the next level below USL Championship.
“Based on what we’ve seen in Madison, we know that Jim Kacmarcik and Milwaukee Pro Soccer will ensure the new club is a top-tier soccer organization, providing best-in-class facilities for its players, a world-class soccer experience for its fans, and a commitment to having a positive community impact,” said USL COO and chief real estate officer Justin Papadakis in a statement.
A “Name the Team” campaign is now underway for people to suggest a name, colors and crest.
The team’s ownership group will eventually need to pay an entrance fee to the league. Forbes reported that the one-time fee had climbed from $1 million in 2015 to $12 million in 2020. Entry fees into Major League Soccer, which also includes bigger stadiums, are over $200 million.
The stadium, which would include artificial turf, would also be used by Marquette University‘s soccer and lacrosse teams. A 140-room upscale hotel is planned with a restaurant and bar overlooking the stadium. The Pabst Theater Group and national promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) would operate a 3,500-person indoor concert venue.
One key piece of the puzzle remains: how to pay for it. Urban Milwaukee has previously reported that the stadium component will need a subsidy.
S.R. Mills of Bear Development, the master developer of the district, said demolition of the former Ramada Hotel and construction of a 99-unit affordable apartment building would take place this year, but those projects bookend the entertainment complex. Until recently, Marquette University had owned much of the site, running along W. Michigan St. from N. 6th St. to Interstate 43. The rear of the site backups up to Interstate 794 and the Marquette Interchange.
Iron District Renderings
Apartment Building Rendering and Site Plan
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