Is what is happening in the city with FC Cincinnati cool? Yes. Does it mean we’re ready to facilitate another major league professional team in Cincinnati? No.
When aliens finally touch down on Earth (they probably already have, tbh), if they want to know what Cincinnati is like, I would just give them a quick snapshot of the past 18 months. Our beautiful city, so sick of disappointment in our teams that play real sports, will always try to find solace in the “next big team” that calls Cincinnati home. As a lifelong resident of the Cincinnati area, minus the 4ish years at Ohio University and a few more years in Columbus, I’ve seen this love story a handful of times. We’ve seen it with Arena Football League 2, some weird minor league basketball league that had the Cincinnati Stuff (I went to a few games to see Melvin Levett), and now FC Cincinnati.
We even saw it during the Cincinnati Cyclones’, an ECHL affiliate of various teams not named the Columbus Blue Jackets (which is a crock of shit, but that’s a blog for a different day), Kelly Cup runs in 2008 and 2010. US Bank Arena was packed and people had hockey fever. Did a bunch of people wearing scarves with generic crowd chants start declaring Cincinnati was fit for an NHL franchise? Nope.
Part of me wants Cincinnati to get an MLS bid so I can be right, because we all know what is coming. FC Cincinnati will become an MLS team and people will be ECSTATIC. The new stadium will be built, people will try to say Cincinnati finally has a team to be proud of (how soon they forget the rich and proud history of the Reds), and then the inevitable happens. FC Cincy struggles to be competitive, attendance drops, and before you know it everyone is trading in their blue and orange scarves for whatever gear lacrosse fans wear.
I’ll admit, I was happy when FC Cincy sent the loser Columbus Crew fans with their tails tucked back up I-71 a few weeks back, and it was even cooler when they knocked off the Chicago Fire on a national stage. But just because my ten year old neighbor’s knothole team beats the eleven year olds, doesn’t mean they’re both going to sixth grade next year.
People who have rational thoughts agree that a huge part of FC Cincinnati’s success to fill Nippert Stadium is the stadium itself. It is a good location for the bulk of FCC’s fanbase (hipsters and college kids) and even though Clifton’s traffic can be a pain in the ass, it has nothing on heading down to The Banks or, God forbid, crossing one of our many inconvenient bridges. Will the same fans make the trip across the river, or into another part of Cincinnati once a site is decided upon? Maybe at first. But since Cincinnati is a weird dynamic of small town and big city values, the people in charge try to use patchwork to “fix” the city’s mass-transit issues. The Cincinnati Bell Connector (or the stupid f*cking streetcar, if you commute downtown for work) will not do anything to help this since it’s about as useful as the train at Kings Island that takes you on a loop around the park with a stop at Soak City.
My pride in my city is too strong to want to see another team struggle and become the butt of jokes (unless you’re Xavier, who can this portion of the blog has been removed for legal reasons).
Knowing the ugly truth about what is on the other side of this initial excitement and young love with FC Cincinnati is painful. I just hope everyone else sees it before it’s too late.