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Believe it when you see it: New York Cosmos propose $400 milllion stadium

Jan 16, 2013, 1:05 PM EDT

The renderings (below) look pretty cool, but this is a team that’s still yet to play a competitive game since its relaunch, and having brought in the likes of Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones for name value (as well as played an exhibition in a Paul Scholes testimonial), it’s fair to say that the New York Cosmos tend to go for sizzle and then worry about substance.

And this art is sizzling. There’s a field with a huge serpentine corridor extending down, making the whole facility look like a galaxy of its own. While it wouldn’t be in the “heart” of New York (like the Queens facility Major League Soccer’s looking to build), the Long Island location at Belmont Park’s race track could still be highly accessible. At least, it should be far easier to get to than the transit-challenged Red Bull Arena (AUTHOR’S NOTE: Or perhaps my memory failed me, see comments).

Soccer fans, here’s your hypothetical team’s hypothetical stadium:


It looks amazing, but I really can’t stress this enough: This facility may only exist in Imaginationland, and unless you and three of your friends know a cartoon with a hot air balloon, you’re not getting there. New York’s Empire State Development Corporation still has to approve it, it will cost a proposed $400 million …

And the people who are building it don’t have an actual team. Yes, I know the Cosmos are supposed to play in the new NASL later this year. And I know history, biggest brand in U.S. soccer history – blah, blah, blah. This is still not a team. It’s only a brand. And we’re talking about $400 million stadiums.

So if you’re a municipal development entity and you’re trying to figure out how best to use your most valuable resource (land), would the hypothetical nature of your tenant be a problem? Let alone the fact that they’ll play in the second division, may compete in the market with two first division teams, and (given MLS may have two New York-based teams) have no viable route to the first division? These seem like issues, no?

But the art work’s cool. They want to open it in 2016.

Here’s another shot:


  1. pmacd82 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Definitely would not be more accesible than Red Bull Arena as there is no mass transit that gets off nearby.

    That being said, maybe a hell of a lot easier to build in Long Island and if they can get this thing built while MLS is dealing with NYC bureaucratic nonsense, it may force the league’s hand.

    • Richard Farley - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      Thanks for the info! I’ll add a note to the post.

      • jerichowhiskey - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        In that area, it’s probably more important to people who drive so parking will probably be a bigger issue than mass transit. Even so, with LIRR and buses running in the area, it should do fine in that department.

  2. charliej11 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Is this expandable, because it doesn’t look like it ?

    So if NOT you are going to build a stadium for the fastest growing situation in the world ( US soccer ) and you build a 25k stadium ? Stupid.

    For 400k ? Wow.

    When they build the best soccer stadium in the world, the Sounders Stadium for $360 ( $430 with Events Center next door ) ? Triple wow.

    Wow, I thought these guys might pull this off, but they are not very bright. They must be counting on a LOT of other revenue ? Doesn’t make ANY sense….at all.

    If you are going to spend $400 million, build a real stadium.

    • wesbadia - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      That $400M is clearly not all spent on the stadium itself. As the second rendering shows, there will probably be extensive development around the stadium site that eats up a large chunk of the total.

      And, if the VSI Tampa stadium project is any indication, the entire project site will include practice facilities, academy facilities, sports medical facilities, and anything else that’d make this plan so appealing to a soccer organization. One thing you have to remember about this kind of stuff is that these renderings depict the ideal scenario of the client. It’s a wish list. They rarely get built in the same capacity, at least at first, and are usually staged over many years. That’s basic design and planning.

      And what is this supposed Sounders Stadium you talk of? I’ve heard scuttlebutt about it, but it was pretty much dismissed as a pipe dream.

      • valiantdraws - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        I believe that reference is to Century Link field.

      • wesbadia - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        Then that reference was not very clear, nor did it make much sense…

    • jerichowhiskey - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      O’Brien estimates the stadium will cost around $200-240 million with the rest for development surrounding it including a community park, restaurants, stores, etc.

      • charliej11 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:33 AM

        Oh well I guess if you take into account what Paul Allen did for that part of town, he probably owns it all now and it could easily have doubled maybe tripled the actual stadium investment..maybe more.

  3. pensfan603 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    The sad part is the MLS have no way of stopping this.The cosmos will do what they want when they want. I dont know if the mls will just decide not to work with the cosmos and get another team to work inside New York, or if THey wll be forced to work with the cosmos.

    • charliej11 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:30 AM

      Why is that sad ? It is private money, not MLS, money.

      • wesbadia - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        So, MLS money isn’t private? That’s news to me.

        Neither NY2 nor Cosmos stadia will be financed with much private money. NY2 will probably be getting landgrants from the city (for Corona Park) as well as tax breaks, and Cosmos look to necessitate some sort of public funding or tax break system as well. Hardly any stadium is built using private money anymore.

    • wesbadia - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      It’s been very much in the open that the Cosmos brand was never the “go to” franchise for MLS. I’ve read almost everything Garber has said about NY2, and none of it indicated the Cosmos would be the way they went. And that was evident when Cosmos joined NASL this past fall.

      There will be three NY teams (possibly four if USL gets back into that market like they want). And they’ll represent different districts of the metropolitan area, which is more in line with most parts of the world. The Cosmos will have to stand on their own two feet in the NY sports market. If I had to guess, the Cosmos will give more competition to NY2 than either of those will give to NYRB. But no matter how it turns out, upcoming USOC tourneys will be a hell of a thing in NYC.

  4. dfstell - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:56 AM

    I love this. Who knows if it’ll work out, but I really like the more entrepreneurial model of soccer in the rest of the world where if an owner has a dream they can go for it: build a field, create a club, start in the lower levels and work their way up.

    I think it’s like restaurants. MLS is McDonalds. If you buy a McDonalds franchise, you might make a lot of money and have success, but no one will ever say you have the best restaurant in town. The more entrepreneurial model allows for a LOT of chaos and failure, but it’s also where you get your 5-star restaurants. I know that when MLS started, our soccer market couldn’t endure that volatility, but perhaps we can now. MLS would be wise to just let the Cosmos do what they want and see what happens.

    • wesbadia - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      I like this concept.

      One thing you can’t take away from other leagues is that they had the advantage of having most of their top clubs started before sports became a profession at the turn of the last century. American professional soccer was economically forced into a different model. Like it or hate it, that’s the reality.

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