The Yankees and England’s Manchester City announced Tuesday that they will form the newest Major League Soccer team, the New York City Football Club (NYCFC). Manchester City will play an exhibition match in the Bronx against Chelsea FC (the team from London, not the West 20s) this very Saturday, May 25. But a far more explosive question is where the new New York team ultimately plays.
The release says that NYCFC will have an interim home in 2015 but that it is “committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York.” Candidate No. 1? Flushing Meadows Corona Park, already a battleground between local groups and the U.S. Tennis Association.
It’s far from a done deal. A spokesman at City Planning told Brownstoner that any proposal would require a seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which would involved input from the local community board and borough president, followed by votes by City Planning and the City Council. He declined to comment further on the proposal because it hasn’t been officially submitted.
Stadiums are inherently tied to the public sector. Virtually all pro teams extract some sort of tax abatement as part of a new stadium deal, with the argument that the thousands of future spectators will lead directly to consumer spending and new jobs. But studies haven’t supported the claims that arenas lead to an overall net benefit. And this proposal comes at a time when Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous venues in the world, is trying to secure its own future.
Ferran Soriano, head of Manchester City, issued a cautious note regarding development:
“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…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.”
“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…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.”
What do you think?
Photo: L-R, Randy Levine of the Yankees, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Ferran Soriano of Manchester City, via NYCFC