SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State lawmakers have met with New Mexico United officials to talk about the possibility of building a new soccer stadium in Albuquerque.
President and CEO of New Mexico United LLC Peter Trevisani and Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael in Albuquerque discussed a potential arena with the Economic and Rural Development Committee officials Thursday.
United needs room to grow after it led the league in merchandise sales and attendance with more than 12,600 people each game, Trevisani said.
The team’s first season drew fans at a greater rate than Major League Baseball team Miami Marlins, he said.
The professional soccer team competed in city-owned Isotopes Park, which was publicly financed about 16 years ago, officials said. New Mexico United has two more years left on its lease at Isotopes Park.
Supporters of the team described their desire for a more permanent home.
It is important to build places that New Mexico residents enjoy and provide an incentive for young people to stay or return to where they grew up, Democratic Sen. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque said.
“If we’re going to change the trajectory of this state,” Candelaria told the Albuquerque Journal, “we have to focus on what means most to us.”
Team leaders did not specify how much money they are looking for but suggested they would want help from the city and state, officials said.
The proposed stadium could cost about $100 million with participation of other government agencies, lawmakers said.
United competes in the United Soccer League, the second-highest level behind Major League Soccer in the United States. In the 2019 season, United placed 10th in the western conference with a 11-10-13 record.