It’s official: Manchester City and the Yankees will own and operate Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team.

35 Comments

Major League Soccer has told everyone for two years that a second team in New York City would soon become the league’s 20th franchise – and that dogged drive to make it happen did not always sit well with fans or media, many of whom wondered if expanding the league’s national footprint wasn’t more important.

After all, wasn’t there already a team in New York?

But maybe the masses didn’t understand the powerhouse ownership group being assembled.

Major League Soccer today announced that English Premier League club Manchester City, a recently fortified club now flush with oil money, and Major League Baseball’s powerful and influential New York Yankees will own and operate the league’s newest expansion club.

Branded as New York City Football Club (NYCFC), the league’s 20thy club is expected to kick its first ball in 2015.

“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement issued this morning. “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.”

Assuming NYCFC does get going by 2015, the league’s 20th club will require an interim venue, pending a permanent home.

(MORE: Notes and other thoughts on today’s huge announcement)

Major League Soccer had attempted to get ahead in the venue game, working for more than two years to secure land and develop a facility within the city, helping distinguish this club from the New York Red Bulls, who have been with the league since its inaugural 1996 season but has always played in New Jersey. But the land and facility discussions long under way with community and business leaders in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens remain bogged down. That leaves MLS officials continuing to search for suitable sites.

This is unlikely to make fans happy in other markets thought to be in contention for Major League Soccer’s next expansion, including Miami and Orlando, which have moved aggressively over the past months to position themselves for a run at No. 20.

Garber said almost two years ago that Major League Soccer’s expansion fee for the second New York club would be $100 million.

(MORE: Why MLS was so focused on New York as the 20th market)

(MORE: Yankees, City, MLS officials plus NY mayor Michael Bloomberg set to discuss details tomorrow)

 

MLS set to announce plans for 20th team in New York City

1 Comment

Major League Soccer has announced that in four to six weeks it will unveil plans for a new stadium in New York City to house the league’s 20th team.

Commissioner Don Garber discussed the plans while talking with reporters at halftime of Wednesday night’s contest between Toronto and Montreal at BMO Field. In the conversation Garber informed the public: “We are deeply engaged with potential ownership groups and we’re hopeful to be able to announce a 20th team within the next [four to six weeks].” The winning ownership group is expected to pay an expansion fee of $100 million.

Garber had previously indicated that the league hoped for something definitive on an expansion franchise in Queens by the end of 2013. He reiterated that desire on Wednesday, noting MLS’ progress in getting a deal done. “We’re making progress,” Garber said of talks with New York City. “We continue – you’ve heard this for the last year – but we continue to negotiate with the City of New York and meet with local political folks and community leaders to get support for the stadium we hope to build in Flushing Meadow Park.”

MORE: MLS expansion updates from Commissioner Garber

When asked if the New York Cosmos were going to be the 20th team, Garber refused to answer instead saying that he and MLS support what the NASL is doing. Garber did claim, however, that he believes MLS will continue its expansion beyond 20 teams by the end of 2020. But 30 teams? That would be too much of a leap. “It’s hard to imagine we’d have 30 teams,” Garber said. “The other major leagues are around that size, they’ve been around 100 years.”

The league and the City have previously been engaged in negotiations to build a stadium on a ten acre site in the Queens-based park with the goal of having a team begin playing there by 2016. On Thursday, Garber spoke again on the issue with the Associated Press, informing reporters that there are no other possible sites for a new stadium. “If we get this done, it will be in Flushing Meadow Park. There is no Plan B.”

While New York is the league’s preferred choice for expansion, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta have all been linked as possible MLS expansions while USL Pro side Orlando City recently secured a $8.2m downtown parcel of land where they plan to build a new soccer-specific stadium.