CINCINNATI — The Lindner family name can be found across the Tri-State, from the Lindner Family YMCA in the West End to the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason. This is a family that knows about legacy, and that each generation has a name and a responsibility to live up to.
Carl Lindner III, the CEO and majority owner of FC Cincinnati, and his wife, Martha, spoke to WCPO about the day they cut the ribbon on TQL Stadium.
“I think the reason why the families, you know, originally got involved together to invest in something like this was the wave of legacy to our community, to help continue the tremendous trajectory of professional soccer and MLS," Lindner said. “And that, so can't wait for the first game. I'll probably cry again, or probably get emotional again at that time. But I love it when you look at the audience, and the supportive fans that we've had. There's lots of families.”
The Lindners watched as West End Pride youth soccer teams took the pitch for the first time at the stadium’s opening May 1. And what does it feel like to hear that beautiful, joyful noise?
“I think that's part of the legacy. But it's going to be our children, our grandchildren and their children,” Martha said.
His father, Carl Lindner Jr., helped rescue the Reds, and now the son has started an entire major league sports franchise in Cincinnati.
“My dad would be overwhelmingly proud,” he said. “And he's always been supportive, you know, over most things that his kids wanted to invest in or, you know, start or be involved in from a charity standpoint. So my dad would be overwhelmingly supportive and excited and proud.”
Carl’s entrepreneurial spirit comes as no surprise to Martha.
“He sees things that other people don't see,” she said. “He’s got a frame of mind for seeing things that aren't but can be. I give him a lot of credit.”
“I'm like, he's lived in his father's shadow for so many years, and finally at this point in his life, he's been able to show people that he has talent and ability also. That wasn't just handed down to him," she continued.
For Lindner, this isn't his birthright -- being an entrepreneur is simply who he is.
“I'm a calculated risk-taker. And I love to start things and be involved in things. You know, my emotions are thankfulness. Thankfulness to God, thankfulness to my wife, thankfulness to our community.”
That includes thankfulness to the fans, too.
“We have the best supporters and fans in the world,” he said. “I couldn't help but cry when I saw 4,000 supporters piling through the streets, you know, to our first MLS game. It made us unique, you know, to the whole world… But our supporters have just been off the charts and have been such an important part of launching FC Cincinnati and just a huge part of its success."