SOCCER FOR A CAUSE UNVEILS PROPOSED EXPANSION OF TOYOTA FIELD TO CREATE TOP-TIER SOCCER STADIUM
SAN ANTONIO – Soccer for a Cause today unveiled a proposed expansion of the home of the San Antonio Scorpions – Toyota Field – to make it one of the nation’s premier soccer and special-events venues.
“The escalating interest in the Scorpions and professional soccer over the past two years has been mind-boggling,” said Gordon Hartman, who launched Soccer for a Cause to bring pro soccer to San Antonio and benefit the special-needs community. “We are blessed to be a franchise playing in the North American Soccer League, however we must be prepared to expand once support and investment are secured to allow for additional opportunities.
“We want to be ready to take our venue to the next level as fan and sponsor support in soccer continues to grow. The recent World Cup competition serves as a great example that the most popular sport internationally is gaining even more popularity all over the globe including San Antonio and South Texas.”
In the interest of elevating soccer to the highest professional level, District 10 City Councilman Mike Gallagher has already received the support of four fellow Council colleagues to request that the full City Council pass a resolution affirming its desire to assist in bringing Major League Soccer (MLS) to San Antonio.
“The success of the San Antonio Scorpions and Toyota Field is providing compelling evidence that a professional soccer market exists here in San Antonio,” Councilman Gallagher said. “Soccer has the same potential to transform San Antonio into a major league city as pro basketball did over 43 years ago. The opportunity to bring MLS to San Antonio not only benefits the citizens of this city but also impacts South and Central Texas and Mexico.”
Toyota Field Additions and Improvements
The cost to expand Toyota Field is estimated at $38-45 million. Designed by Pro Sports Developments (PSD) of San Antonio, the expansion envisions the addition of 10,000 seats to the existing 8,000, with 9,000 of the new seats on a new upper tier that would create a bowl-like configuration around the playing field.
“A roof canopy above the new upper-tier seating would provide shade as well as amplify the crowd noise that Toyota Field is famous for,” Hartman explained. “This would rival the fan experience and atmosphere of any top-tier soccer-specific stadium across the country.”
Eighteen suites accommodating up to 24 fans apiece would be added to the east side of the stadium, bringing the total number of Toyota Field suites to 32. Plans also call for three new clubs – the East Club with 130 balcony seats on the east suite level, the West Club with 40 observation-terrace seats on the existing west suite level and a Members Club at the southeast corner of the stadium. Club patrons and suite holders would be allowed to use a new entrance directly across from existing reserved parking.
Other proposed enhancements include concessions, restrooms and merchandise outlets on each stadium level to efficiently meet the level of fan demand at halftime; field lighting for Division 1 network broadcasting; and a team store accessible from inside and outside the stadium.
Just as Soccer for a Cause has been a “beacon of light” for San Antonio and professional sports, Hartman said, a high-powered beam of light is planned to extend from the southeast corner of the stadium high up into the night sky during Scorpions matches. The shaft of light would be seen for miles away, reminding San Antonio and surrounding areas that the home team is on the pitch. The beam of light would turn red when the Scorpions score a goal or win the match.
About Soccer for a Cause
In 2010, Soccer for a Cause mobilized community support for pro soccer and ultimately led to the establishment of the Scorpions franchise, the only one of its kind in professional sports. The Scorpions and Toyota Field – along with the nearby STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex, with its 13 FIFA-sized fields for league and tournament play – commit all net profits to Morgan’s Wonderland, which was designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone. This helps the non-profit theme park meet its operating expenses as well as expand programs and services for the special-needs community.
Hartman sold his homebuilding business in 2005 to devote – along with wife Maggie – time, vision and energy to philanthropic pursuits. They began with Morgan’s Wonderland so people of all ages with and without disabilities could come together in an inclusive, safe, totally wheelchair-accessible theme park for fun and understanding. Now in its fifth season, Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 attractions including rides, playscapes and gardens spread out over 25 acres in what once was a limestone quarry. The park admits anyone with a cognitive or physical special need free of charge.
Construction of Toyota Field began in April 2012, and the Scorpions played their first home match there a year later. On Aug. 28, 2012, global automaker Toyota announced its presenting sponsorship of Toyota Field, which is also designed to host special events, community activities and concerts. Toyota Field is owned and managed by the same 501C-3 non-profit organization as Morgan’s Wonderland.
Toyota Field is located adjacent to Morgan’s Wonderland at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive, a half-mile west of IH 35 in Northeast San Antonio.