Detroit MLS bid now proposing Ford Field as team's home

Ford family opens up Ford field to Gores-Gilbert MLS bid

The stalled Wayne County Jail where new soccer stadium might go. The stadium component of that deal is now off the table, with the proposed team now set to play at the Detroit Lions' Ford Field. The league said in a statement it continues to prioritize soccer-specific stadiums when evaluating expansion markets.

"Partnering with the Ford family bolsters our powerhouse group and provides a ideal stadium solution in the heart of Detroit's central business and sports and entertainment districts", said expansion bid point man Arn Tellem, who works for Pistons ownership. "Over the last two years, we have invested significant time, effort and resources into our bid to bring MLS to Detroit. After careful study and analysis, we concluded that the downtown location of an MLS stadium is paramount to an MLS team's success". The league also plans additional expansion in 2022.

Detroit's bid group touted Ford Field as an improvement to the potential Gratiot stadium, citing the National Football League venue's location, size and recent $100 million refurbishment.

The group leading Detroit's MLS expansion bid announced on Wednesday that it is bringing in the Ford family as co-owners, and that it will use National Football League venue Ford Field as its home stadium. "As discussions with MLS progress, we look forward to working with Dan, Tom, and their respective organizations, who collectively embody the collaborative spirit at the heart of Detroit's rebirth". And Gilbert and his partner, Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, are multi-billionaires who appeared willing to make the sort of commitment MLS covets. The bid initially focused on the site of a suspended jail project downtown as a potential spot for a new soccer venue, but the group announced Thursday that Ford Field - home of the Lions - is now the preference. The Motor City native owns a lot of property in his hometown and was hoping to engineer a complicated land swap that would see his company finance a new jail and justice center elsewhere in exchange for the Gratiot site.

"From the time we started working on the Gratiot site, we have always been focused on the importance of a great mixed-use development at the gateway to downtown Detroit, soccer was just a potential component of our vision", said Cullen. We have made clear to the County that we are still fully committed to moving forward with our proposal to build out a new criminal justice complex on Warren and I-75. "We are also fully committed to a mixed-use development on the Gratiot site that will be an economic driver for our community".

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