The ongoing preparations for New York City FC’s entry into MLS continued today, when they forged a union with Hyundai A-League side Melbourne Heart through parent club Manchester City. It is a controlling share, according to the club’s web site, and the ownership group of National Rugby League powerhouse outfit Melbourne Storm will have a minority stake (20 percent) in the club.
“We are excited about the opportunity to make Melbourne Heart one of the most successful football clubs in Australia and throughout the region,” said Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano to reporters today. “We believe the strong sports culture of Melbourne combined with the football and commercial expertise within our consortium will make for a powerful combination both on and off the pitch.”
“We are excited to be a part of this unique project,” added Bart Campbell, Chairman of the holding company Heart Consortium Group and chairman of the Storm. “It is our shared ambition to replicate the model that City created with the New York Yankees around New York City FC and for both organisations to benefit as a result.
“Partnering with City to co-invest in Melbourne Heart will further strengthen the sporting landscape in one of the world’s greatest cities and bring a range of new capabilities to AAMI Park. We are grateful to [Melbourne Heart FC Chairman] Peter Sidwell and his Board for creating a Club with such obvious strengths and potential.”
“The Board feels that with the successful establishment and evolution of the Club over the last four years, Melbourne Heart now stands on sound commercial and financial foundations,” Sidwell said. “The Board feels that the next phase of the club’s development can be most fully realised with this new investment and the associated benefits that the enthusiasm of the consortium will bring.”
Currently, Melbourne Heart sit at the bottom of the 2013-14 A-League ladder, with a 1-5-9 record (eight points).