Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced today that they will add a 2oth team and second in the New York market. The New York area of course already has the Red Bulls club. The name decided upon for the new team is New York City Football Club, or NYCFC, and will begin play in 2015.
Garber says he thinks that providing a rival within the metropolitan area will help elevate MLS’s profile in New York City. In turn, this would only help the rest of the MLS by raising the leagues national profile.
“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” Garber said in a statement released by the league. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”
Interestingly enough, Major League Baseball powerhouse, the New York Yankees, and Barclay’s Premier League team the Manchester City FC teamed up to bring the idea of a second New York team from proposal to actuality.
“New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base,” said Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City. “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”
“We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in the New York market and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York — and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy,” said Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the New York Yankees. “Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, will be the point person in leading the effort to launch and establish the team on behalf of the organization,” Mr. Steinbrenner added.
“Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage — in New York City,” said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for. Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City’s other professional sports teams. Increasingly, sports events and activities — from the NHL playoffs to the MLB All-Star game to the SuperBowl — are spurring economic growth, as our investments in new arenas and infrastructure are paying off.”
Where will they play?
The plan right now is to have NYCFC playing in an interim home until they establish or build a more permanent one. The Red Bulls currently play in their arena in New Jersey, near Newark. Still part of the New York City metropolitan area. But the NYCFC want to find or build a home within New York and are eyeing a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (you might recognize it from Iron Man as home of the Stark Expo area, or from Men In Black). But let’s be honest, that is getting close to the outskirts of Queens, away from Manhattan. The 7 train from Times Square ends in Flushing.
It could set up an interesting crosstown rival though, since they’d be on opposite sides of Manhattan. Maybe a Oklahoma/Texas like rivalry game played on neutral ground like MetLife Stadium, or Yankees Stadium.
“New York City FC will have a permanent home in the City in the great traditions of New York sports and world soccer — a home that must be a sports, commercial and civic success,” Soriano said. “But in considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York. Only in this way, can the Club truly represent the City whose name it will carry.”