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MLS in Queens? Officials may have settled on NY site

Jun 27, 2012, 10:29 AM EST

Queens

Major League Soccer keeps inching closer to that second team in New York – the one they hope becomes a media tipping point, helping to snare more attention from the major content provider players.

A story in today’s Wall Street Journal says MLS officials will now train their efforts on a beaten-down plot of land in Queens.

If true, the league is finally acquiescing to the reality of the situation. I have heard all along that the site at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park has long held “most-coveted” status on pursuits of a second New York club. Public concerns over usage and parking and such were throwing up obstacles.

Mostly, though, the financing looked impossible; the land there was simply too expensive. (Way more expensive, apparently, than an eight-acre plot now dominated by a concrete pool full of stagnant water. Lovely, eh?)

An MLS ground in Queens would give the league a presence near other prominent sports homes, like baseball’s Citi Field and tennis’ Billie Jean National Tennis Center. So, there’s some appeal to that.

Nothing is settled, of course. The section of Queens as an MLS destination seems to enjoy some local political support, always a good start. But these things can come unglued in about 28 different ways. It can become someone’s political football, or the NIMBYs can make a stand or someone can block stadium efforts to leverage other pursuits, etc.

Still, giving up the Pier 40 dream and moving on to more realistic pursuits could represent real progress, at least.

  1. herrstanton - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    While I at least understand the league’s motivation for putting a second team in New York City (media exposure and the need to be seen on par with other major American sports leagues who have multiple NY teams), I can’t help but feel that MLS is still putting the cart before the horse here. While the Red Bulls have a great new stadium and draw a decent crowd, they are certainly not drawing the sort of passionate crowds that teams like Portland and Seattle draw day in and day out. Every time I watch a Red Bulls match on TV, it seems that their stadium is half empty.

    Putting a second team in New York therefore raises the question? How much would a second team undercut support for the Red Bulls? Are those Red Bulls fans who live in the city going to continue to make the trek all the way down to Harrison or will they decide it’s easier for them to just hop across town and support the new team in Queens?

    Lastly, are you putting a team in a city at the expense of possibly capitalizing in a market elsewhere? The Fusion aside (who played in Ft. Lauderdale, not Miami), I think Diego Forlan was correct when he said that putting a new team in Miami would attract a lot of attention in the Latino community. Personally, my hope is that my hometown of Detroit will get a team. While the city’s image plays a factor in why it won’t get one, it would almost certainly be successful if MLS was to put one downtown (or even in the suburbs). Detroit fans will support any team playing there and there is a strong soccer community throughout the state (check out the support Detroit City FC has received so far). And since this league is focused on building rivalries, it is hard to argue against having DETvCHI, DETvTOR, and especially DETvCOL.

    • drchale - Jun 27, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      Well, no offense to Diego Forlan, but I doubt he knows the struggle that MLS had in Florida. The support for MLS just isn’t there, despite a gigantic latin community. Just like in the case of Chivas USA (and FC Dallas), much of the latino fanbase already has a team they support “back home,” and with lots of games from central and South America available on TV, there’s little incentive for them to support the local team.

    • joeyt360 - Jun 29, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      You have to understand, the landscape in NY is very compacted. Most of the heart of the support for this new team would come from Queens, Nassau County, and smaller parts of Brooklyn and East Bronx. Most of those people consider it way too much hassle to go to Jersey. And you’re still talking 5 million + people in just those boroughs/counties. If/when MLS grows as a league, the location is just far enough east of town that the Red Bulls and NY2 will have about a 50/50 chance at any Manhattanites that become interested.

  2. ndnut - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    COL is Columbus, not Colorado, right? Either way, MLS wants NY so they can go after the big media fish in Bristol, CT commonly referred to as the EASTERN Sports Programming Network. Right now they cannot see the forest through the trees, going after the big dreams before building a solid foundation strong enough for two teams in that market. Detroit, the Southeast, the Twin Cities, all of these markets deserve MLS teams as their respective teams get the support to warrant such action.

  3. ndnut - Jun 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    What about Orlando City SC? They get support.

  4. kjmlarsen - Jun 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    For those interested, this Flickr stream has a pretty good look at the area as it is currently. Looks like an influx of development funding could do the area some good: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hetteix/sets/72157629118829334/

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