TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there. Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored. So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD. Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements: - League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three - Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value. - Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones - 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people. - All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000 The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand. Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair? Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces. So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do? For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined. Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594) Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem. Candidate: Charleston Battery Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700) Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal. Candidate: Charlotte Independence Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314) Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion) Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021. Candidate: Hartford Athletic Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066) Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion) Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something. Candidate: Indy Eleven Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421) Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion) Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there. Candidate: Louisville City FC Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000) Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion) Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital. Candidate: Memphis 901 FC Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325) Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option. Candidate: Miami FC, “The” Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000) Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club. Candidate: North Carolina FC Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583) Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion) Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close. Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450) Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion) Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.” Candidate: Saint Louis FC Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494) Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history. Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518) Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be. Candidate: Austin Bold FC Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594) Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion) Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price. Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939) Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692) Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion) Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage. Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC Location: El Paso, Texas Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500) Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion) Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s? Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000) Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion) Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed. Candidate: New Mexico United Location: Albuquerque, N.M. Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem. Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066) Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion) Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach. Candidate: Orange County SC Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250) Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion) Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining? Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962) Time zone: Arizona Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400) Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion) Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock. Candidate: Reno 1868 FC Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion) Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it. Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion) Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface. Candidate: San Antonio FC Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000) Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion) Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf… Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561) Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million) Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support. Candidate: FC Tulsa Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion) Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark. And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our… VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field). Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight. But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League: Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Louisville City FC Miami FC North Carolina FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tampa Bay Rowdies Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC New Mexico United Phoenix Rising FC Las Vegas Lights FC Orange County SC San Diego Loyal SC Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories. Firm “yes” Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here. Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million. Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in. Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami? Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league. Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs. Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem. Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on. Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer. San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle. Cautious “yes” New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted. North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black. Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight. San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through. Cautious “no” Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in. Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue. Austin Bold FC: See the other two above. FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top. Firm “no” Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk. Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances. El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one. Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse. Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid. Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through. Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship: Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Memphis 901 FC Austin Bold FC Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Oklahoma City Energy FC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC FC Tulsa With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Madison FC Greenville Triumph SC Union Omaha Richmond Kickers South Georgia Tormenta FC Tucson Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion. USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs. USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small. USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up. And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated. Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
List of Las Vegas casinos that never opened Over the years there have been several casinos and resorts planned for the Las Vegas Valley that never opened. The stages of planning may have been just an announcement or groundbreaking. Asia Resort and Casino Where the Palazzo Casino and Resort currently stands (adjacent to the Venetian Hotel and Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center), an Asian themed casino was proposed but was rejected for the present Palazzo project. Alon Las Vegas A proposed luxury hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip on the former site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, announced in 2015. The project was put in doubt after Crown Resorts announced in late 2016 it was suspending its involvement in the development. Crown announced in December 2016 that it was halting the project and seeking to sell its investment. The remaining partner Andrew Pascal announced he was seeking other partners to proceed with the project. However in May 2017, the land went up for sale. The land was later purchased by Steve Wynn. Beau Rivage Steve Wynn, who had purchased and demolished the Dunes hotel-casino, had originally planned to build a modern hotel in the middle of a man-made lake. He later built the Bellagio with a man-made lake in the front of the hotel. The name was later used by Wynn for a resort built in Biloxi, Mississippi. Caribbean Casino In 1988, a sign for a proposed casino was erected on a fenced vacant lot on Flamingo Road. Standing near the sign was a scale model galleon. For several years, that was all that stood on the property. The empty lot was the source of many jokes by the locals until the ship, which was later damaged by a fire started by a homeless person, was torn down in the 1990s and the lot became the site of the Tuscany Suites and Casino co-owned by Charles Heers, who has owned the property since the 1960s. Carnival In 1990, the Radisson group proposed a 3,376-room hotel next to the Dunes, with a casino shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. Cascada A proposed resort that was to have been built on the site of El Rancho Vegas. The parcel is now partially taken by the Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Las Vegas Festival Grounds. City by the Bay Resort and Casino A San Francisco-themed resort was proposed for the site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. The project was rejected in favor of the Swiss-themed Montreux, which was also eventually cancelled. Countryland USA A country music-themed resort was planned for construction of the site of the former El Rancho Hotel and Casino. For some years, the El Rancho sign stood with the words "Coming Soon - Future Home of Countryland USA." Craig Ranch Station Main article: Craig Ranch Station A Mediterranean-themed hotel-casino for North Las Vegas, proposed by Station Casinos in March 2000. The project faced opposition from nearby residents, which led to the proposed location being changed to a vacant property on the nearby Craig Ranch Golf Course. Residential opposition to the new location led to the project being rejected by the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee in March 2001. Station Casinos still had the option to develop the project on the initial site, but the project was cancelled entirely in July 2001, following a weak financial quarter for the company. Crown Las Vegas Main article: Crown Las Vegas Formerly known as Las Vegas Tower, the Crown Las Vegas was to have been a supertall skyscraper built on the former site of a Wet 'n Wild water park. In March 2008, the project was canceled and the property was put up for sale. Desert Kingdom In 1993, ITT Sheraton purchased the Desert Inn casino, and had announced plans to develop the large parking lot into a Balinese themed resort to complement the Desert Inn. The project was never developed and the site is now the location of Wynn Las Vegas. DeVille Casino After building the Landmark Hotel and Casino on Convention Center Drive and selling it to Howard Hughes, developer Frank Carroll built the DeVille Casino across the street from the Landmark at 900 Convention Center Drive in 1969. Chips were made for the casino (and are sought-after collectibles), but the casino never opened. The building was renovated in 1992 as a race book parlor named Sport of Kings which closed after nine months. It became the location of The Beach nightclub, which was demolished in 2007 to make room for a planned 600-unit tower that was never built. The land sits currently empty. Echelon Place Main article: Echelon Place An announced project by Boyd Gaming planned to have a hotel built on the property of the former Stardust Resort & Casino. Construction was suspended on August 1, 2008 due to the Great Recession. In March 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the proposed site for $350 million to the Genting Group, which is redeveloping the project as the Asian-themed Resorts World Las Vegas. Fontainebleau Las Vegas Main article: The Drew Las Vegas Located on the Las Vegas Strip and originally known as Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Construction began in 2007, and the resort was to include a casino, 2,871 hotel rooms, and 1,018 condominium units. Construction on the $2.9 billion project ceased in 2009, the year of its planned opening. Investment firms Witkoff Group and New Valley LLC purchased the unfinished resort in 2017. In 2018, Witkoff and Marriott International announced a partnership to open the renamed project as The Drew Las Vegas in 2020. The resort will include a casino and three hotels totaling nearly 4,000 rooms, with the condominium aspect removed from the project. Harley-Davidson Hotel and Casino A resort themed after the motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was proposed, complete with hotel towers shaped like gigantic exhaust pipes, but was never built. Jockey Club Casino The Jockey Club is a condominium and timeshare resort at 3700 Las Vegas Boulevard South. It was planned to have a casino, and chips were made for its use, but the casino was never opened. Kactus Kate's By April 1994, Gold Coast Hotel and Casino owner Michael Gaughan was interested in building a hotel-casino in North Las Vegas, at the northeast corner of North Rancho Drive and Carey Avenue. In January 1995, the city planning commission approved the rezoning of the land for use as a hotel-casino. The resort, to be named Kactus Kate's, would be built by Gold Coast Hotel/Casino Limited. The hotel would include 450 rooms, and the casino would be 105,000 sq ft (9,800 m2), later decreased to 102,000 sq ft (9,500 m2). The resort would be located directly north of the nearby Fiesta and Texas Station resorts. In December 1998, Coast Resorts, Inc. received approval from the planning commission for a use-permit relating to the undeveloped property. In November 2000, the planning commission unanimously approved a two-year extension on the permit, giving the company more time to decide whether it would build Kactus Kate's. Because of a 1999 Senate bill that placed restrictions on casinos in neighborhoods, Coast Resorts had a deadline of 2002 to build the casino. The hotel would measure over 100 feet (30 m) high, and Coast Resorts was required to notify the Federal Aviation Administration of its final plans, due to the site being located less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from a runway at the North Las Vegas Airport. In January 2001, Station Casinos purchased the 29-acre (12 ha) site for $9 million. Coast Resorts president Harlan Braaten said, "As we saw the competitive nature of that area intensify, in terms of the size of competing facilities, we just felt we would have to build something much bigger than we had intended to compete with Texas Station and Santa Fe Station. It was just going to be a very expensive project, and we didn't feel the returns would be that good." Station Casinos planned to sell the property as a non-gaming site. Las Vegas Plaza Main article: Las Vegas Plaza Not to be confused with the Plaza Hotel & Casino. This was to have been modeled after the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The project was announced shortly before the demolition of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, where the new hotel would be built. Las Vegas Plaza was cancelled in 2011 due to the Great Recession. London Resort and Casino This announced project was to have been themed around the city of London, and featuring replicas of the city's landmarks. The project was to be built on land across from the Luxor Hotel and Casino. A second London-themed resort was to be built on the former land of the El Rancho Hotel and Casino. Neither project ever began construction. London, Las Vegas This was a proposed three-phase project using London as its design inspiration. When completed, the 38.5-acre (15.5 ha) property would have featured 1,300 hotel rooms, a casino, a 500-foot-tall (152.4 m) observation wheel named Skyvue (partially constructed), and 550,000 square feet (51,097 square meters) of restaurants and shops — all of which would be architectural replicas of various British landmarks and neighborhoods. The project was to be constructed on land across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, where — as of November 2019 — the partially-constructed Skyvue still stands. The wheel was to be "Phase I of London, Las Vegas". Montreux Resort This Swiss-themed resort was to have been built on the property of the former New Frontier Hotel and Casino, but was ultimately cancelled. Moon Resort and Casino Proposed by Canadian developer Michael Henderson, this is a planned 10,000-room, 250-acre (1.0 km2) lunar-themed casino resort. Gaming experts doubt it will ever be built in Las Vegas, simply because the space planned for it is too large for the Las Vegas Strip. NevStar 2000 Further information: Craig Ranch Station § NevStar 2000 Proposed by NevStar Gaming in 1998, the NevStar 2000 entertainment complex in North Las Vegas would have included a hotel and casino, but the project faced opposition from nearby residents who did not want a casino in the area. The project was cancelled when NevStar Gaming filed for bankruptcy in December 1999. North Coast/Boyd Gaming project In May 2003, Coast Casinos had plans for the North Coast hotel-casino, to be built at the southwest corner of Centennial Parkway and Lamb Boulevard in North Las Vegas. The project would be built on approximately 40 acres (16 ha) of vacant land, surrounded by other land that was also undeveloped. At the time, the North Las Vegas Planning Commission was scheduled to review requests for zoning changes and approvals for the project. The project was not scheduled to be built for at least another four years, after completion of a highway interchange at Lamb Boulevard and the nearby Interstate 15, as well as the completion of an overpass over nearby railroad tracks. Bill Curran, an attorney for the land owner, said, "We're going through the zoning changes now so everybody knows what's going to be out there." The North Coast would include a casino, a 10-story hotel with 398 rooms, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a parking garage. In June 2003, the Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to approve preliminary applications necessary to begin work on the North Coast. Boyd Gaming, the owner of Coast Casinos, announced in February 2006 that it would purchase the 40-acre site for $35 million. Jackie Gaughan and Kenny Epstein were the owners at the time. Boyd Gaming had not decided on whether the new project would be a Coast property or if it would be similar to the company's Sam's Town hotel-casino. At the time, no timetable was set for building the project. In March 2007, the project was put on hold. At the time, Boyd Gaming had been securing construction permits for the project but decided to first review growth in the area. Construction had been scheduled to begin in mid-2007. In August 2013, Boyd Gaming sold the undeveloped property for $5.15 million. Palace of the Sea Resort and Casino This was to have been built on the former Wet 'n Wild waterpark site. Conceptual drawings included yacht-shaped towers that housed suites, a casino resembling the Sydney Opera House and a 600-foot (180 m) tall Ferris wheel-type attraction dubbed a "Sky Wheel". It never left the planning stages. Paramount Las Vegas A casino and hotel and condo resort with more than 1,800 units that was planned by Royal Palms Las Vegas, a subsidiary of Royal Palms Communities. The project was to replace the Klondike Hotel and Casino at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, beside the Las Vegas welcome sign. The resort was approved in October 2006, but an investor pulled out of the project in August 2007, and the land was put up for sale in May 2008. Pharoah's Kingdom Pharoah's Kingdom was planned as a $1.2 billion gaming, hotel and theme park complex to be built on 710 acres (290 ha) at Pebble Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, five miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. Construction was approved in October 1988, with Silano Development Group as the developer. The project would have an Egyptian theme, including two 12-story pyramids made of crystal, with each containing 300 suites. The hotel would have a total of 5,000 rooms, making it the largest in the world. The 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) casino would include 100 table games and 3,000 slot machines, while an RV park, mini-golf, a bowling alley, and a video game arcade would be located beside the casino area. Three of the project's various pyramid structures would house the 50-acre (20 ha) family theme park. Other features would include sphinxes, man-made beaches, waterways resembling the Nile river, an underwater restaurant, a 24-hour child-care facility, a 100-tenant shopping promenade, and a repertory-style theater that would be overseen by actor Jack Klugman. Additionally, the resort would feature an 18-hole PGA Championship golf course, and a monorail located within the theme park. The project would have one mile of frontage along Las Vegas Boulevard. Frank Gambella, president of the project, stated that financing was in place, with groundbreaking planned for March or April 1989. Gambella said the project would be financed by several entities, with the money coming from a Nevada corporation, suggesting the entities would be grouped together as an umbrella corporation. Gambella stated that the project could be opened by Labor Day 1990. The resort was expected to employ 8,000 people. Following the completion of the resort, Gambella said a complex of 750 condominiums would be built on the land along with 900 retirement-care apartments. The project was cancelled shortly after it was announced, as authorities became suspicious of developer Anthony Silano's fundraising efforts for the project. It was discovered that Silano and his associates hacked into the Switzerland bank accounts of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos following his death in 1989. Silano pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges. Another Egyptian-themed resort, Luxor Las Vegas, would open on the south Las Vegas Strip in 1993. Planet Hollywood Resort (original plans) Not to be confused with the current Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Originally planned to open in the late 1990s on the site of the Desert Inn, it was to be one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas. Because of the bankruptcy of Planet Hollywood Restaurants, the hotel was never built. However, in the 2000s, a group of investors bought the new Aladdin Hotel and Casino and remodeled it with a modern Hollywood theme. Playboy Hotel and Casino A proposed casino resort themed after Playboy magazine was rejected in favor of a nightclub and suites built at the top two floors of the new Palms tower. The planned location for the Playboy Hotel and Casino, on the Las Vegas Strip, was later used for the Cosmopolitan resort. Santa Fe Valley Main article: Santa Fe Valley Santa Fe Gaming, which owned the Santa Fe hotel-casino in northwest Las Vegas, had plans for a second Santa Fe property in 1996. The Santa Fe Valley would be built on a 40-acre (16 ha) lot in Henderson, Nevada, adjacent to the Galleria at Sunset mall. The start of construction was delayed several times because of poor financial quarters for Santa Fe Gaming, and because of the company not yet receiving financing for the project. Site preparation started in July 1998, with an opening date scheduled for December 1999, but construction never began. In 1999, the property was sold to Station Casinos, which sold the land a year later for use as a shopping center. Shenandoah Hotel and Casino A project by Wayne Newton. Although the hotel operated for a short time at 120 E. Flamingo Road, the management was unable to get a gaming license. After years of floundering it was sold to a Canadian company and became Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino. Silver City proposals By January 2000, Luke Brugnara was planning to build a San Francisco-themed resort on the site of the closed Silver City Casino. Brugnara intended to give Silver City a multimillion-dollar renovation, with plans to have a fully operational hotel-casino by 2002. In March 2001, Brugnara's request for a gaming license was rejected. In May 2002, it was announced that Brugnara had sold the casino while retaining six acres located behind the building. In 2003, Brugnara was planning to build a 24-story, 304-room hotel and casino resort on a portion of the Silver City property. The resort, to be named "Tycoon", was to be designed by Lee Linton, with an expected cost of approximately $100 million. Starship Orion International Thoroughbred Breeders (ITB) announced plans to demolish the El Rancho and construct Starship Orion, a $1 billion hotel, casino, entertainment and retail complex with an outer space theme, covering 5.4 million square feet (501,676 square meters). The resort was to include seven separately owned casinos, each approximately 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters). Each potential casino owner was to contribute up to $100 million to own and operate a casino within the complex. The complex would have included 300,000 square feet (27,871 square meters) of retail space, as well as 2,400 hotel rooms and a 65-story hotel tower. ITB hoped to begin construction later in 1996, with a planned opening date of April 1998. Sunrise This was to have been located at 4575 Boulder Highway. Property developer Michael Mona Jr. built the hotel-casino and stated that he was going to break tradition by starting a "casino without a theme". He failed to get an unrestricted gaming license when suspicions arose concerning his associations with alleged organized crime figures. Chips were made for the casino, but were never used. The building was opened as Arizona Charlie's Boulder. Titanic In 1999, Bob Stupak was planning a 400-foot-high (122 m) resort themed after the RMS Titanic, to be built on a 10-acre (4 hectares) property he owned near downtown Las Vegas. The resort would have included 1,200 rooms, 800 of which were to be used for timeshares to help finance the project. That year, planning commissioners rejected Stupak's request to change the zoning to allow for a hotel. The project was later planned for the former site of the El Rancho Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip, but was rejected by the Las Vegas City Council. W Las Vegas Main article: W Las Vegas W Las Vegas was proposed in August 2005, as a $1.7 billion joint project between Starwood and Edge Resorts, with a scheduled opening in 2008. The project would include a 75,000 sq ft (7,000 m2) casino and approximately 3,000 hotel, condo hotel, and residential units. The project was cancelled in May 2007, after Starwood pulled out of the deal. Wally's Wagon Wheel Wally's Wagon Wheel was to be developed by Walter Weiss through his company, Magna Leisure Partnership. The project was proposed for 2200 South Boulder Highway in Henderson, between Wagon Wheel Drive and Roberts Road, near Henderson's Old Vegas western theme park. Manga Leisure Partnership purchased the 15.5-acre property in late February 1988. Weiss, at that time, had tentative plans for a western-themed, 112-room property known then as the Wagon Wheel Hotel and Casino. The Wagon Wheel was expected to cost $15 million, and financing had yet to be obtained for the project, which Weiss expected to open in early 1990. The project, which would include a 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) casino, was to be built in two phases. By October 1991, Wally's Wagon Wheel remained unbuilt due to difficulty obtaining financing. That month, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to give Weiss more time to make progress on the project. At that time, the project was to include 204 hotel rooms and would be built on 13.30 acres (5.38 ha). Weiss noted that the nearby successful Sam's Town hotel-casino opened with 204 rooms, and he believed his project would be successful if he opened with the same amount of rooms for good luck. By the end of 1992, Weiss had still not acquired financing for Wally's Wagon Wheel. At the time, the project was the largest of five casinos being planned for Henderson. The three-story project was to include 200 rooms, two restaurants, a theater lounge for country and western entertainment, and a large bingo room. Weiss stated that groundbreaking was scheduled for May 1993, with an expected opening in June 1994. The hotel-casino would employ approximately 600 people upon opening. Weiss met with nearby residents to discuss the project, and he had the original design changed to include a larger buffer zone between homes and the hotel-casino. In November 1994, the Henderson Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Weiss' requested zone change as part of the redesign. The project, at that time, was to include a one-story casino and a four-story hotel with 400 rooms. In December 1994, the Henderson City Council rejected Weiss' plans for a 200-foot (61 m) buffer. In July 1997, the unbuilt project received its sixth extension from the Henderson Planning Commission for a use permit and architectural review. In August 1997, the Henderson City Council approved the sixth extension, but denied Weiss' appeal for a one-year extension, instead giving him six months to make progress on the project. Up to that time, $1.7 million had been invested in the project by Magna Leisure Partnership. As of 1998, the project was expected to cost $80 million and employ at least 1,200 people, and the proposed site had increased to 19 acres (7 ha). At that time, Weiss stated that he was close to obtaining financing for the project from a casino operator. The project was never built. Wild Wild West Not to be confused with Wild Wild West Gambling Hall & Hotel. As of 1993, Station Casinos owned a 27-acre (11 ha) site on Boulder Highway with the potential to be developed as a casino. The site was located across the street from Sam's Town hotel-casino. In January 1998, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. announced plans to purchase Station Casinos, which had intended to sell the land prior to the announcement. By March 1998, Station Casinos was planning to develop a hotel-casino complex on the land, which was occupied by a vacant strip mall. The complex would be known as Wild Wild West, with local residents as the target clientele. Crescent's purchase of Station Casinos failed in August 1998, and Station Casinos subsequently slowed its plans to build the project. By the end of the year, the project had received approval from the Clark County Planning Commission for a 273,000 sq ft (25,400 m2) casino and a 504-room hotel. No timetable for construction was announced, and Station Casinos had already decided by that point not to start any new projects prior to 2000. Station Casinos sold the undeveloped land for $11.2 million to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in April 2004. World Port In 2000, Howard Bulloch, David Gaffin, and their partner Tom Gonzales transferred ownership of the Glass Pool Inn property to their group, known as New World, with plans for a megaresort. New World purchased several other nearby motels to accumulate a 77-acre (31 ha) parcel located on the Las Vegas Strip and east of the Mandalay Bay. In January 2001, plans were announced for World Port Resorts, a megaresort consisting of hotel-casinos, a convention center and a fine arts facility. The project was to be built on the 77-acre (31 ha property, a portion of which was occupied by the Glass Pool Inn. World Trade Center To have been located at 925 East Desert Inn Road. Leonard Shoen, co-founder of U-Haul truck rental, purchased the property of what had been the Chaparral Hotel & Casino in 1996, renovating it into the World Trade Center Hotel. A gaming license was applied for, but when it was discovered that two of Shoen's closest partners were convicted felons, the application was denied in 1998. He withdrew his application, and died in a car crash in 1999 that was ruled a suicide. Cards and gaming chips were produced for the World Trade Center Casino, but were never used. The property has since been demolished and is now a parking lot, part of the Las Vegas Convention Center Annex. World Wrestling Federation A casino resort themed after the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was proposed for a property near the Interstate 15 freeway across from Mandalay Bay. The project never went past the proposal stage. The land where it would have stood is now Allegiant Stadium. WWF also proposed to open the project on the property once used by the Clarion Hotel and Casino, which was demolished in 2015 to become a parking lot. Xanadu In February 1976, the Clark County Commission approved the 23-story Xanadu resort, to be built on the Las Vegas Strip at the corner of South Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The resort would include approximately 1,700 hotel rooms and a casino, as well as convention facilities, a showroom, dining, and indoor tennis courts. The resort was to be developed by Tandy McGinnis – of Bowling Green, Kentucky – and his Xanadu Corporation, and would be built on 48.6 acres (19.7 ha) owned by Howard Downes, a resident of Coral Gables, Florida. The Xanadu would feature a pyramid design, and was expected to cost $150 million. It would have been the first themed mega-resort. Much information and many artifacts of the project are housed at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas library. The Excalibur Hotel and Casino ultimately opened on the property in 1990. See also Category:Defunct casinos in the Las Vegas Valley List of Atlantic City casinos that never opened
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