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It’s official: Austin to get Major League Soccer franchise

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Austin will get a new Major League Soccer franchise, ending more than a year of brokering and deal-making that began in late 2017. At a fan and media event Tuesday afternoon at Rustic Tap on West Sixth Street, MLS commissioner Don Garber made it official, announcing that the team will begin play in spring 2021. The Austin FC will play in a 20,000-seat stadium set to be constructed on the city-owned parcel known as McKalla Place, which is located near the Domain. The use of city land for the stadium – in a deal that will see the club’s management group finance the stadium but not pay property taxes as part of a 20-year lease with more than $8 million in rental fees – caused months of debate. Ultimately, City Council approved the term sheet in August by a 7-4 vote, with city staff and the team’s management group completing the lease agreement last month. In a news release following the announcement, Austin Chamber Board Chair Brian Cassidy said, “Today we formally became home to a major league sports franchise: Austin FC. We are thrilled with the culmination of more than a year of hard work, collaboration, and commitment across our community. Congratulations to Mayor Adler, City Council, Anthony Precourt, Major League Soccer, and the community of activists and soccer supporters that made today a reality.” At the announcement ceremony Mayor Steve Adler proclaimed Tuesday as Austin FC Day.

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