Commentary: Phoenix Rising doing the right things to impress MLS

Credit: Aaron Blau / Firebird Rising
Credit: Aaron Blau / Firebird Rising

We’re getting closer to the time that Major League Soccer officials have said that they will announce the first two expansion teams to join the league in this cycle.

And with that time coming close, a lot of information is starting to be disseminated about where Phoenix Rising FC’s bid for one of those spots is sitting.

We’ve seen team owners and top executives meet with fellow MLS clubs to see architectural designs, and we’ve seen the team hold several focus group sessions to gauge fan interest in several topics.

And in recent weeks, we’ve seen team owners come out and talk about developments with the stadium project, most recently as seen in Kyle Kepner’s article on the shovel-ready state of Phoenix Rising FC’s soccer stadium.

It’s time for us to say Phoenix is ready and in many different ways.

First, its ownership structure is as solid as any other team that is involved in the bidding process. Between owners that have restaurant experience in Berke Bakay, to Tim Reister, whose company is ranked among the Forbes’ Top 100 Global Ad Agencies that know Social Media and Google, to David Rappaport, who has brought his clientele of musicians to the group, to Brandon McCarthy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team has a diverse group of individuals hungry to bring a franchise to Phoenix.

Second, Phoenix is one of only a handful of groups who are ready to either build a stadium or have a stadium ready to go when the team would begin play in MLS. Phoenix Rising ownership has said that shovels could be in the ground within weeks of an announcement of a franchise coming to Phoenix. Other bids that could possibly fit that bill as well would include Sacramento, Tampa Bay, and possibly Cincinnati. The team could play in Sun Devil Stadium while the stadium is being built.

Third, Phoenix Rising has the structure in place that no public monies would be used in construction of the stadium. This is big in the eyes of MLS. The retaining of Goldman Sachs earlier this year shows the seruiousness that ownership is taking in this process. And by showing that no public monies will be used, it gives Phoenix a leg up in the bidding process over other cities who are still working out funding for their stadiums, such as San Diego, St. Louis, Detroit, Charlotte and Nashville.

Phoenix Rising officials have remained in constant contact with top MLS officials to make sure they are dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s in making sure they are doing what the league is looking for.

So is Phoenix Rising FC one of the top bids as the deadline is coming up shortly? We here at Firbird Rising believe so, and we endorse the bid the club has put forward to bring MLS to the desert.