If MLS gets on board, Sacramento Republic wants to be ready, and the USL club continued its “Operation Turnkey” in attempts to bring a MLS expansion team to the California capital by unveiling renderings of a new proposed stadium.
The preliminary stadium renderings show a soccer stadium, which is designed by HNTB, that fits with international design, even if different from the rest of North American stadiums.
“Sacramento will set the tone for the next generation of MLS stadiums,” says Scott Captsack, HNTB’s director of design. “The design harnesses the passion of Sacramento Republic FC fans and draws inspiration from top European and South American soccer stadiums in ways that few, if any, MLS stadiums have ever done before.”
The potential new venue would include the steepest seating rake in MLS, a grass pitch, a full wrap-around bowl and roof and walls of fans, as seen in Germany and Argentina.
During the process, the club asked HNTB to create the best home pitch advantage in the league while celebrating Sacramento and drawing inspiration from the world’s game.
“I’m thrilled to unveil a stadium design worthy of our fans and community,” says Sacramento Republic lead investor Kevin Nagle.
The steep rake, closed bowl and continuous roof all aim to concentrate fan noise back to the pitch. To celebrate Sacramento, the exterior was inspired by the star in Republic FC’s crest, a symbol celebrating the city’s location as the capital of California. The building will also have “tree-like structures” at the stadium’s perimeter to tie to Sacramento’s “City of Trees” nickname and the site’s proximity to the historic Railyards district will direct construction material choices.
To draw worldwide inspiration, each of the four distinct stands will have an individual identity. The stadium’s East Stand will attempt to mimic the “wall of noise” seen at Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion. South American supporters have inspired the idea of the local supporter groups entering the stands together and assembling socially before and after the match.
At this point it remains up to MLS if this new concept becomes a reality.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.