ST. LOUIS ( -- Home soccer games will mean millions of dollars in economic impact for St. Louis now that the city will join the MLS in 2022.

However Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University, said if the team can bring in 10 to 20 percent of its fans from outside the region, the economic impact could be up to $2 million per game.

“But what's a bigger impact to me is that, because this sport caters to the millennial, to the Gen-Z'ers, not only does this create an extra entertainment amenity for local St. Louisans in a sport that they love, but it could bring in companies from outside this region,” he said. “We're already doing a great job bringing in those companies, but we may do even more now that we have soccer.”

While only initial renderings of the stadium have been released, Rishe said fans can expect a stadium designed to appeal to the younger crowd.

“Stadiums these days, they have to be as tech savvy as possible. They have the utmost WiFi but in addition to that, you have to create fan engagement,” he said. “You have to create spaces within the facility that encourage communal engagement. Again, [younger fans] want that kind of action.”

For the past few years, the Blues and the Cardinals have supported one another rather than competing for sports dollars. Cards players at blues games, the Stanley Cup at Busch Stadium.

Rishe says there's room in that relationship for a third team.

“Ownership groups of both the Cardinals and the Blues, their staffs and their players will embrace the soccer team,” he said. “Soccer is such a fun, community environment there's the fan engagement that's really off the charts. I don't think the other teams are really worried about the soccer team stripping sponsorship dollars or fan attendance away because they're different sports, different fanbases.”

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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