Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Peter Wilt Wants Footy at the Racetrack

Bring the beers and get some sunscreen from Costco because Peter Wilt wants to make a racetrack in Wisconsin the next MLS-ready soccer stadium in America.

The idea sounds farfetched: if it's possible that a soccer pitch could be constructed on a movable tray, Peter Wilt and his group, Milwaukee Professional Soccer, want to construct one on the Milwaukee Mile. It's a nifty idea, they say, because the pitch could be kept on the infield of the racetrack on the days a race is scheduled and move the pitch flush to the stands on the days a game is scheduled.

This absolutely confuses me because the last soccer team to play in Wisconsin was the now-defunct Milwaukee Rampage who played in the now-defunct A-League and who ceased to exist in 2002 for lack of financial backing.

Really the only reason I mention this is because Peter Wilt is campaigning hard for this damn stadium to exist. He's scouring the internet for public reaction to the stadium plan and posting on the blogs who make mention. Check it out:

The Offside Rules broke the story yesterday with a rational amount of skepticism and sarcasm. My Soccer Blog did the same thing, albeit with more sympathy, and soon The Offside had posted up TOR's article with some additional commentary of its own. But get this: Peter Wilt, renowned for fan-friendliness during his days as GM of the Chicago Fire, posted on TOR the next day with intimate details of the proposal and a plea for understanding. Furthermore, Thomas Dunmore, a Chicago journalist who blogs at Pitch Invasion and The Offside: Chicago Fire in his spare time, has written a piece vindicating the stadium project and Peter Wilt has posted there, too.

Wilt and the several articles chronicling his current endeavor mention that MLS has sanctioned him to pursue the project. It's now his job to determine whether the stadium would be feasible, attractive, profitable, or all three at once, and to do this he's immersing himself in public reaction and information available through the media. Posting on soccer blogs might be a backwards way of doing this, but he's capturing attention and turning what few heads he can to the possibility of professional soccer in Wisconsin. Indeed, Wilt is touting this stadium plan as "the last chance to bring an MLS franchise to Milwaukee." But if the last chance for MLS in Milwaukee is to graft it onto NASCAR and hope for the best, I think this is already a forgone conclusion.

Thomas Dunmore at Pitch Invasion and TO:CF seems to be the most authoritative source for information and developments concerning this project, so I'll be looking to him and only him for updates as time goes on. I'll post here what I discover.


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