ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The proposal for a new publicly owned venue in Albuquerque that would provide a permanent home for USL Championship club New Mexico United took another step forward on Monday night as the Albuquerque City Council voted 7-2 in favor of placing a ballot measure on the bond request made by the club and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller on November’s ballot.
The $50 million bond, which would be set aside from a tax revenue bond measure, would provide funding for a venue seating an initial capacity of 10,000+ seats with the potential to expand to 15,000 seats, in addition to other amenities including a Cultural Center as part of the broader project.
“The discussion tonight went a long way towards myth busting some of the unfortunate untruths and misconceptions that have risen up regarding the stadium bond proposal,” said Keller following the meeting. “Whether it’s going to see a United home game, a high school tournament, or our favorite artists fill an arena, we believe an Albuquerque multi-use stadium will be an asset that New Mexico can be proud of, creating opportunities for affordable family fun for decades to come.
“Now it’s up to the voters. We look forward to continuing to have productive conversations with the public about the bond proposal, protecting historic neighborhoods, and ensuring that, like Isotopes Park, families across the city benefit from the project.”
New Mexico United led the Championship in attendance during its inaugural season in 2019 with an average of 12,693 fans per game during the season. United spent the duration of the 2020 season on the road due to local health protocols, but this season fans have continued to flock to Isotopes Park. This past Saturday night’s game against El Paso Locomotive FC drew a season-high 10,418 fans as the venue has reopened to full capacity.
The club has already raised $8 million to put towards the cost of the venue, initially estimated between $65-70 million. Additional private funding will also be used for the venue, which received strong local support in a poll conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. earlier this year. Albuquerque residents responded in favor of the new stadium by a margin of nearly 3-to-1, with widespread support being registered among respondents who identified as male, female, Hispanic, Anglo, age 18 to 34, age 35 to 49, age 50 to 64, as well as across all levels of income, education, length of residence in Albuquerque, and region of Albuquerque residence.
That support was also reflected in comments by the City Council members and residents who provided online and in person comment at Monday’s hearing.
“I think this is a good deal for our city and that we ought to let voters participate,” said city councilor Pat Davis.