May 19, 2024
  • May 19, 2024
Pacific FC Marco Bustos

Pacific Signs One-Year Stadium Agreement

By on April 11, 2024 0 3116 Views

Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC is staying in Starlight Stadium…at least for another year.

The club – which recently called rumours of a Starlight Stadium exit ‘unfounded’ – has come to terms with the City of Langford for a one-year contract agreement that runs through the 2024 calendar year, with Pacific’s own season kicking off in a matter of days.

Discussions about the renewal began last summer after Pacific FC opted not to trigger a five-year term extension for the stadium, with the club seemingly preferring to wait for the result of a potential stadium expansion referendum before making a longer-term commitment.

It is unclear what improvements are proposed for Starlight Stadium through the potential renovation beyond a focus on expanding the stadium’s capacity to 10,000. The move is expected to cost taxpayers $4.5 million for a new prefabricated grandstand placed where the hydro pole once was. The pole itself cost nearly as much to remove.

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The expansion would, in theory, allow the stadium to host larger concerts and events. The existing venue hosted the Canadian women’s national team back in 2022, selling out a capacity crowd of 5,434 in the first seven hours ticket sales.

City staff want the next stadium use agreement signed before the potential referendum for such, however, which leaves PFC without guarantee of its construction. While staff were reportedly directed to negotiate for a five-year term regardless, for now Pacific is keeping its options open.

We’ve confirmed that as part of that, the club had held discussions with neighbouring municipalities, though Starlight Stadium has always been its primary objective.

“The City of Langford and PFC have a longstanding, collaborative partnership, and we’re excited to see the contract signed,” said Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson. “PFC brings an array of community benefits related to economic development and social impact. Council recognizes this and greatly values Pacific FC’s presence, and contribution to the community.”

“We remain committed to collaborating with Pacific FC to see them play in Langford for many years to come. Langford is Trident territory, and we look forward to cheering on PFC throughout the 2024 season and beyond.”

Both parties will return to the negotiating table later on this year to sort out what comes beyond 2024 prior to the end of the CPL’s sixth season.

Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

The new deal signed this week posits some improvements over previous contract as requested by Pacific FC, who is now set to obtain a larger share of advertising revenues, while the city gets $5,000 per match up from $3,500 for stadium usage.

The current naming rights deal with Starlight is valued at $500,000 and sees Pacific net 85% of the five-year-term payment, with the rest going to the city. That deal runs through to 2025, which is currently uncharted territory when it comes to the stadium use agreement.

The Tridents also requested to explore alternate recreational uses for the Island Training Centre, the province’s largest indoor field house: built on city-owned land and used by the community as well, Pacific use the land for a symbolic $1 fee per year. It’s coupled in with the stadium use agreement, with Langford having spent an estimated $2 million for its construction.

According to CFAX radio host Adam Stirling, PFC staff informed the city that the Island Training Centre was not performing ‘as expected’, though city councilor Lilian Szpak rebuffed that there were limits on how far a municipality could go to support private business.

Still, it seems the city will conduct a review regarding the club’s request regarding the Island Training Centre, and the public will have a platform for input there, too.

So far the City of Langford has invested in two stages of renovations for Starlight Stadium, the first of which ran a bill of some $8.8 million and added three roofed grandstands, new washrooms, water bottle stations, dressing rooms, and parking during the CPL’s inaugural season in 2019.

The second phase saw, amongst other items, the financially hefty removal of a hydro pole next to the stadium, which allowed for broadcast crews to cover games at a more industry standard angle.

A statement from the city states that staff will explore opportunities and cost for the next stage of stadium expansion that includes a potential referendum if a five-year deal is signed by the fall, though at the moment it looks like Pacific prefers to have the referendum sorted before making a long-term commitment.

See Also: ‘The Team Is Not For Sale’: Pacific Ownership Rebukes Claim That CPL Club Is On The Market

The City of Langford states that its staff will work with Pacific FC to secure the five-year agreement it had initially set out for, with the city hoping to have negotiations concluded by the end of the 2024 CPL season.

As it stands, Starlight Stadium will remain Trident Territory through to the end of the year on paper.

“Langford is our home, and we look forward to welcoming our fans to Starlight Stadium for our sixth season in the Canadian Premier League,” added Pacific Managing Director Paul Bierne. “As a club we are dedicated to continuing to use sport to make a positive impact on young people and fans of all ages on Vancouver Island.”

Pacific FC will kick off its home opener against the Halifax Wanderers on April 13

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