The Soccer Desk

MLS Announces New York City Football Club

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Start spreadin’ the news. After months of talk and speculation, Don Garber and Major League Soccer finally announced today what will become the league’s 20th franchise, New York City Football Club, which will be owned not just by Manchester City, but Major League Baseball’s most storied and iconic team, the New York Yankees.  $500 million dollars later (100 for the team, 400 for the stadium), NYCFC expects to hit the field for the 2015 MLS season.

Earlier this month,The Soccer Desk reported that Major League Soccer had registered the nycfc.com domain name, making it seem like an announcement was imminent.  Manchester City and MLS would announce their partnership and NYC2 would be official.  Well, that’s what happened, with one rather large addition in the New York Yankees, a partner in this operation that no one expected.  

According to ESPNFC.com, the Yankees hope to have an active participation in the day to day operations of the club. Although the Yankees will be be one of the major partners in the operation of the club, it’s Manchester City who will be NYCFC’s majority owners.  It is possible that the matches will br broadcast over the Yankee owned YES Network, though Yankee President Randy Levine said in a conference call with media earlier today that the option had not yet been discussed.

Commissioner Garber’s main hope for this new club is to not only bring MLS to New York City proper, a market that has over 19 million people, but to also give the New York Red Bulls, who currently play in Harrison, New Jersey, some much needed relevance.  The Red Bulls would have an inner city rival for the first time, something many think the team was in dire need of.  Much like the Manchester Derby, New York will finally have a derby of their own.

The question now is, where will New York City FC play?  No matter what, the team will play in a temporary stadium until their new home can be built, with some rumors circulating that they will start out play in Yankee Stadium.  This seems rather unlikely as the MLS regular season coincides with the MLB regular season, and there are bound to be all sorts of scheduling hiccups.

No matter where NYCFC plays to start off their season, there is still a $400 Million dollar stadium to be built and the idea, at least for the meantime, is to still build that Stadium at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.  With the 13-acre plot of land still being negotiated for, Manchester City and the Yankees could either choose to continue talks there, or move on to a different location.

When it comes to the kind of marketing this new team brings, the two partners can’t just throw a stadium anywhere; it will have to be a location that will let the team thrive, attracting the New York City market to want to come there.  

Red Bull Arena may be a nice stadium, but it’s dumped in a horrible suburb of Newark, NJ.  The amount of time and energy MLS and Garber have put into the Queens project still makes it the most attractive location for the planned 25,000 seat stadium.

The Soccer Desk will have continuing coverage of all the news surrounding New York City FC, and will be talking to Dave Martinez from Empire of Soccer about the league’s 20th team on the June 3rd edition of the TSD Podcast.  Stay tuned.

(photo courtesy of Major League Baseball)