The Maryland Stadium Authority voted Tuesday to approve a $100,000 feasibility study to examine the financial viability of building a soccer stadium that could be used to lure a Major League Soccer franchise.
The study, after a lengthy negotiation between the city and the Maryland Stadium Authority, will be paid for entirely by the city of Baltimore. In September 2009, Mayor Sheila Dixon wrote a letter to the Maryland Stadium Authority asking that it consider a 42-acre waterfront Westport project as a potential site for a soccer complex that could hold between 17,000 and 20,000 people and be used to lure D.C. United into making Baltimore its permanent home.
Dixon became intrigued by the idea after M&T Bank Stadium hosted a sold-out exhibition match in July 2009 between A.C. Milan and Chelsea. A similar feasibility study done by the Maryland Stadium Authority in Prince George's County determined a soccer stadium would have between $65 million and $80 million in economic impact on the area, but the Prince George County Council unanimously voted down a proposal because of concerns over the cost, estimated to be close to $195 million.