According to Jeff Gamage in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Union are developing plans to expand their stadium size - and incredibly, there isn't a single mention of Villanova and the impact it could have on the Big East expansion dilemma in the article.
Union officials are envisioning a three-phase process that would bring the seating capacity of the stadium up to 30,000, coincidentally the numbers that Villanova has been pushing for all along. The first phase would bring seating from 18,500 to 20,000, the second phase to 27,000, and the third phase to 30,000. If plans continue to move forward, construction could start in 2014.
While many will point to Villanova's interest as one of the main reasons for the increase, it should be noted that the Union are one of the best selling teams in Major League Soccer, so the increase totally makes sense for them too - and gives Villanova a leg to stand on if they were to split the cost of the increase, which is estimated at around $25 million today.
A larger stadium for a team that already sells 97.8% of it's seats (in a league that averages just over 75%) will also help generate attention for larger events, such as bigger international soccer games, and the recently completed College 7's Rugby Tournament.
Good news for Villanova fans, even if they aren't directly mentioned in the article. The stadium was one of the biggest sticking points, and it looks as if concrete plans are beginning to form. The timeline may not be the most encouraging, but it wasn't going to get much better than what they're talking about anyways.