The soccer dream is not dead in St. Louis — only now it's banking on the power of the crowd instead of the public purse.
At least three GoFundMe campaigns currently active on the crowd-funding site are seeking to raise $60 million for a Major League Soccer stadium in St. Louis — hoping to replace the funds that would have come from the city's business use tax in a ballot proposition rejected by voters last night
One of the campaigns was formed in February
. It has yet to draw a single donation, but remains active.
The other two were formed yesterday. One also has zero donations
. But the second, formed by a man named Cody Steffen, was trending last night and had earned $1,705 as of press time
According to the Q-and-A Steffen provided on the campaign, donors would see little downside — if the full $60 million isn't raised, he'll kick the money back.
"If the goal is not reached or the money earned can not be put towards helping fund an MLS Stadium, we will give the donors back their donations," he writes. "Unless the donors see fit to donate the money to a St. Louis based charity (preferably a soccer based charity). This is of course tricky because we would all have to agree on one, which we can all come together as one and decide what is in the best interest of the donors, which we can all discuss once we cross that bridge. (Your charity suggestions are welcome in the meantime if we decide to go this route.)"
And if it sounds crazy to raise $60 million through donations and online fundraising, well, just think about this: It would only take 300,000 people donating $200 each to make it happen. There are 2.8 million people in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. If at least 300,000 aren't nominally interested in soccer, does the game really have a chance here?
Also, one would imagine all those superfans who were so active in the days prior to Tuesday's vote would kick in well in excess of $200. So really ... quite doable.
Now, the bigger problem might be that the investors group that had pledged to kick in the other
$95 million to land a team and build a soccer stadium is now saying they'll disband
. Will they come back to the table if passionate soccer supporters can raise the public portion?
Some fans refuse to stop dreaming.
Others? Well, let's just say everyone's a comedian.
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