Experts Question Economic Analysis Behind Butchertown Soccer Stadium

The decision earlier this week to delay a vote on a financing piece of a planned soccer stadium development in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood will likely make time for skeptical city leaders to scrutinize the deal.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news release Tuesday the postponement would “give the Metro Council additional time for review.”

Some of those questions will likely focus on the legitimacy of an economic impact study submitted to the council last week. The study was paid for by the soccer team and says the project would bring millions in added tax revenue and thousands of jobs.

But some experts say the predictions are unrealistic.

And others question the study’s integrity because it was completed by a company with close ties to city officials. That company could also stand to benefit if the development goes through.

Frank Scott, an economics professor at the University of Kentucky, suggested the relationship could pose a conflict of interest.

“That might call into question the credibility of the research purporting to justify spending public money on this project,” he said.

Councilman Kevin Kramer said it’s these types of issues that concern him about the project.

“There’s something there that someone doesn’t want us to find,” he said. “I just don’t know what it is.”

Substantial Economic Benefits — At Least On Paper

City officials, soccer team executives and fans have clamored for a dedicated soccer stadium for two years.

The team — Louisville City FC — plays in the United Soccer League, a second-professional league behind Major League Soccer. They play home games at Louisville Slugger field, but soccer executives claim the agreement to play there is not sustainable.

Mike Mountjoy, one of the team’s owners, told a Metro Council committee earlier this month the team “lose[s] money every time we play.”

To remedy this, team officials have lobbied for a soccer-specific stadium since they began…

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