Op-Ed: FC Cincinnati is Welcome in Northern Kentucky
The following is written by Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Along with thousands throughout the region, I am an FC Cincinnati soccer fan.
The atmosphere they’ve created has been electrifying.
Fans from all over the Greater Cincinnati region come to watch them play. That includes Northern Kentucky.
When businesses are considering Northern Kentucky, we include FC Cincinnati in our top highlights as a major selling point.
Businesses which trade internationally and/or have employees that have grown up loving soccer, are excited to have a professional team within a 15-minute drive. By the way, that’s roughly how long it takes to drive from my house in Fort Thomas to Oakley.
If FC Cincinnati chooses Oakley as their new stadium location, you better believe that Northern Kentuckians will be there to root them on. We are part of Greater Cincinnati, and they are our team too.
That said, of course, we’d love them to be in Newport.
Newport is a great option, not just for Northern Kentucky, but for Greater Cincinnati.
As a member of the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Board, I can tell you that conventions select regions for a variety of reasons, including professional sports. To have several major sporting facilities, within walking distance, is an attraction few cities can offer.
Because of recent transportation investments in Newport, the infrastructure in place would make it an ideal fit. The state is finishing a new four-lane highway where the stadium would be located.
Those living in the urban core, on both sides of the river, would benefit from additional amenities a new stadium would bring.
From a tourism perspective, it would open doors.
Visitors don’t see a river or a different state as a divide, they only see an abundance of experiences to enjoy.
People coming into our region could walk to a Broadway show, stroll through a world class park, hop over to one of the top aquariums in the country, and attend a professional soccer game, all without getting into a vehicle.
Those tourists would be staying at our hotels, eating at our restaurants, and shopping in our stores. By “our”, I mean Greater Cincinnati, not just Northern Kentucky. Both sides of the river would benefit.
From an economic development perspective, professional soccer helps us bridge and accentuate an international presence we don’t often showcase here. The Newport site is just down the street from the Hofbrauhaus. #JustSayin
From my point of view, Oakley and Newport are really two different sites. The Newport site is more urban, and the Oakley site is more suburban. Both could work.
I’m encouraged that officials and developers on both sides of the river are working hard to be sure that we make the strongest possible presentation to Major League Soccer (MLS), and have the entire region in mind. Instead of taking a competing approach, everyone is trying to provide the best options for FC Cincinnati, this regional gem.
When it comes down to it, FC Cincinnati will make the best possible business decision.
Regardless of the chosen site, I think it is important that MLS hear us when we say, “Greater Cincinnati wants you here!” The Northern Kentucky side of Greater Cincinnati would love to have you, if folks in Ohio are unable to pull together the right offering.
Keep in mind, the Hofbrauhaus and the Aquarium originally pursued locations on the Ohio side of the river, and both ultimately landed in Newport. Things turned out pretty well for those two regional attractions.
At the end of the day, I’m an FC Cincinnati fan, and I want them to succeed. As long as they land somewhere in Greater Cincinnati, we all win.