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Kansas City Wizards announce building kickoff for soccer-centric stadium

Kansas City Wizards ownership group OnGoal, LLC announced Tuesday that approval has been granted for a state-of-the-art soccer-centric stadium for the Wizards and a nearby youth-soccer complex.

Construction is set to begin tomorrow at the stadium site, located across from Nebraska Furniture Mart and The Legends in the Village West district of Kansas City, Kansas. The Wizards, a founding member of Major League Soccer (MLS), will become the first Major League professional sports team to play its home games in the State of Kansas and the 12th MLS team to play in a venue built for specifically for soccer. Kansas City is preparing for its 15th MLS season, with the League expanding to include 16 teams.

"This is a great day for soccer in Kansas City," OnGoal CEO Robb Heineman said. "After a lengthy process to keep the team in the metropolitan area, OnGoal and the Kansas City Wizards are thrilled to receive final approval for our stadium and fields complex. There are so many people to thank, including Mayor Reardon and the Unified Government, Governor Parkinson and countless others. Our vision will now become reality for our supporters and organization. We have designed the first authentic American soccer stadium that will showcase and help grow the beautiful game of soccer, while providing all of the modern amenities expected from a modern American sports facility. The stadium has been designed to deliver the highest-level guest experience in an intimate, loud and intimidating atmosphere to build a true home field advantage for the Wizards."

The Wizards stadium is part of a larger $400+ million project developed by OnGoal and LANE4 Property Group that will help fulfill the initial vision of the Village West project. Additions will include a world-class tournament field complex with 18-24 fields for major youth sporting events and an office complex for Cerner Corporation expansion. The soccer facilities are projected to host more than 300 event dates with over 800 events annually, drawing more than 2.5 million attendees to the area. The Wizards stadium would also play host to concerts, international soccer matches, American football games, rugby matches, lacrosse games, field hockey events and more. The field complex would be an attractive host to major national and regional soccer tournaments due to Kansas City's central location in the United States and the surrounding development at Village West. The complex will also host other tournaments and sporting events for men, women and children and in multiple sports.

"We are excited to have the Kansas City Wizards' home in Village West," Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon said. "The addition of major league soccer and a new Cerner office campus helps fulfill the vision of our community to create a true regional destination. The creation of new jobs in support of major league soccer and in the field of health care technology is extremely important to Wyandotte County and the entire Kansas City region."

Construction will begin Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT at the stadium site. Media members are encouraged to contact Rob Thomson at OnGoal for information on obtaining B-roll and photos from 1-3 p.m. CT.

The stadium will be located in the Village West area, which is in Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas at the northwest corner of the intersection of I-435 and I-70. Village West draws over ten million visitors a year and is comprised of specialty stores, unique retail, entertainment, hotel and dining venues and includes major destinations such as Nebraska Furniture Mart, Kansas Speedway, Cabela's, The Great Wolf Lodge, and Schlitterbahn Vacation Village. In addition, International Speedway Corporation and Penn National Gaming received approval for a Hollywood-themed casino and hotel at the Speedway. The tournament field complex will be located adjacent to the Kansas Speedway, west of the proposed stadium, on State Avenue.

According to a study conducted by CSL International, 3,000 new jobs would be created during the construction of the project as a whole and another 3,960 new jobs would be created annually due to operation of the stadium and youth soccer complex. According to the report, approximately $59.5 million in net new tax revenue would be generated for Wyandotte County and an additional $85.8 million in net new tax revenue would be generated for the State of Kansas over a 30-year period. Annual operations of the project are estimated to generate approximately $3.0 million in net new tax revenue for Wyandotte County and $4.3 million in net new tax revenue for the State of Kansas.

MLS is experiencing a period of unparalleled growth fueled by the construction of soccer venues and expansion into new markets. MLS has added five clubs to date since 2005 with Philadelphia Union entering the League in 2010 and Portland and Vancouver joining in 2011. Over that same time period, MLS teams have opened five new soccer-first stadia. Two additional soccer-first venues are scheduled to debut in 2010, with the New York Red Bulls opening Red Bull Arena and Philadelphia Union opening their new stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.

"We applaud OnGoal and the State of Kansas for creating an innovative partnership to bring a world-class soccer stadium to Kansas City," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Lamar Hunt's vision to build true homes for the soccer community began more than 10 years ago and we will now have a minimum of 12 clubs playing in stadiums built for built for MLS teams by 2011. This new stadium will provide the appropriate environment for our fans to enjoy the beautiful game and give young players the opportunity to dream about playing on that field for the Wizards someday."

The Wizards have played home games in CommunityAmerica Ballpark just down the street from the new stadium site for the last two seasons, drawing an average crowd of 10,377. CommunityAmerica Ballpark's capacity for soccer is 10,385. Fans who renew their season tickets or purchase new season-ticket packages will retain an early priority number that will determine seat locations in the new venue. To renew season tickets or place a deposit for new season tickets, call the Wizards at 888-4KC-GOAL.

Kansas City was introduced as one of the 10 charter members of MLS on June 6, 1995 and played their first game, a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, on April 13, 1996. The Wizards have captured all three major championships available to MLS clubs in their history, the 2000 MLS Cup, the 2000 Supporters' Shield for having the best regular-season record and the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Wizards played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. from 1996-2007. OnGoal purchased the Wizards from Hunt Sports Group and the late Lamar Hunt in 2006.

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