PPL Park in running to host MLS All-Star Game, but deal isn't done yet

Could the Union host the 2012 MLS All-Star Game? (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

A guest post from Kerith Gabriel of the Daily News.

While PPL Park is in the running for a chance to host the 2012 MLS All-Star Game, the decision to award the stadium hosting rights has not been etched in stone, contrary to a recent report that the Union have already won the bid.

The Union-centric soccer blog Broad Street Hooligans claimed (and then retracted somewhat) that a Union employee witnessed a text on the cell phone of a Union official that read the club has been awarded the match, to be played on Aug. 1.

But nothing is officially done yet, according to Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz.

While the team is lobbying to host the annual midsummer spectacle, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has yet to notify Sakiewicz of a final decision.

Other candidates include the expansion Montreal Impat's Stade Saputo, Sporting Kansas City's Livestrong Park, and the Vancouver Whitecaps' newly-remodeled BC Place.

Furthermore, a league spokesperson told the Daily News that a set announcement regarding the specifics for the All-Star Game is "yet to be determined." and that "it probably wouldn't be [made] until early February."

That is not just because the host club has yet to be determined, but also because the ideal date and time for broadcast rights-holder ESPN also aren't finalized.

"We have certainly made it known to the commissioner our extreme interest in hosting the event here in Philadelphia, but we are still waiting to hear back," said Sakiewicz, who is currently in Florida at the MLS Combine.

Sakiewicz noted that he did speak with Garber, who is also at the Combine, but only in an informal fashion.

"I've spoken with the commissioner, but there has been no official announcement from the league to our organization that we won hosting rights," Sakiewicz said.

One major stipulation this season is Garber's desire to have the game hosted in a soccer specific stadium. That ruled out any chance of moving the game to Lincoln Financial Field.

PPL Park officially seats 18,500, but has a capacity of around 22,000 when counting standing-room space on the upper concourses.

Another minor caveat could be that last year's All-Star Game was held at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The league may want to take the game somewhere farther west this year.

But that hasn't swayed Sakiewicz one bit.

"We are very confident that PPL Park would be a great venue for the All-Star Game," Sakewicz said. "It's something personally that I want to come to our building, I think it would be great for our city, and I know our fans would really take to it. But right now we are still waiting just like everyone else to see which way the league decides."