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

May 21, 2013, 11:16 AM EDT

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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)


  1. tylerbetts - May 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Well … they’ve got one of the elements necessary for an NYC team to be succesful: built in hatred. Between the split ownership of City and the Yankees, and those who wanted a team in the Southern US as MLS20, there will be plenty of people who hate this team from the get-go. Rivals? Who needs rivals?

    The other steps towards making that succesful is getting NYCFC to embrace the villain image (as the Yankees do oh so well) and building them up to be succesful enough that hatred is worthwhile. Everyone loves cheering against the Yankees when they make the postseason, but it’s hard to hate them and feel good about it if they’re sub-.500.

    But that’s a very promising first start for NYCFC. Afterall, the only thing that compares to having a team to love in sports is having a team to hate.

  2. ehcrawford - May 21, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    are you sure this isn’t being set up by disgruntled york city fans?

  3. chadmoon1 - May 21, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    This is another example I think of Don Garber (Grabber?!) going more for the money than what is good for the league.
    Example 1: Chivas USA-Took the money from Chivas G owner to start an ill-begotten club in the same home as another club.
    Example 2: Flirtation with FC Barcelona starting a sattelite club in Miami a few years back.
    Example 3: NYCFC run by Man City owners. Make no mistake, this has way more to do with the $100 mil than getting a cross town rival for the Bulls.

    If he were really concerned about that but didn’t want to try to bankrupt the league by buying expensive real estate in the city, he would allow the NY Cosmos to organically grow into the 2nd NY team. Known name, stadium plan, and I’m betting it would have been a success without this new team shoved down fan’s throats. There is no way that MLS can have 3 teams in the league, so either the Cosmos have been doomed to fail, or if they can get a headstart and build there own stadium before this new debacle, the Cosmos will doom NYCFC to failure. Either way, soccer loses in NYC.

    • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Maybe I agree with you. So what ?

      This isn’t some huge sports league with a ton of money claiming they were losing money. This was soccer, where there is so little money to start with, and MLS didn’t have any of it.

      Why would you hold a grudge against someone trying to make some money for a change after bankrolling our obsession for all those years ?
      I don’t.

      Concerning the Cosmos, no one is stopping the other league from thriving, I hope it does. But it has been shown more than once that MLS seems to be the league that will be the main US league. See the Sounders for THE example on that. I used to sit with 5k fans, now it is 40k-60k.

  4. dws110 - May 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    “But maybe the masses didn’t understand the powerhouse ownership group being assembled.” – Snide and patronizing insults aside, I don’t give a flying dead rat who the ownership group is, NY2 was is and forever shall be a terrible idea. Don Garber’s first priority has always been to be loved in NY and LA, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that love (read, Chivas USA and now NY2). Actually, can we even call it NY2, what with the New Jersey Red Bulls not really being so much in NY as apparently an inconvenient transit ride away from it?

    I hate this. I knew it was coming and I still hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. The Carolinas, Orlando, Atlanta…all were better choices than NY2. MLS kept them all at arm’s length so that the Don could prostitute himself for NYC. The awesome part will be when Bloomberg’s out of office and no one wants to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows. That part will be HILARIOUS.

  5. danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    How can this not work? I mean Man City and the Yankees have deep pockets and will spend every dollar need to buy all the best talent. These guys have never meet a player salary or contract they would not agree too.

    Oh wait, what is this? MLS has a salary cap! And its a teeny-tiny cap at that! Man City and the Yankees have never had to deal with a salary cap. How long before these two lose interest in this team like Chivas has done with Chivas USA and this turns in a dumpster fire.

    And just a little bit of wishful thinking, but NYFC said they are looking for a suitable spot to play at during at least their first season. Would it not just the greatest thing ever if they had to start playing at Red Bulls Arena and then the whole Queens stadium falls through and they have to stick at RBA permanently and Cohiba Don is still without a team in NYC proper!

    • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Why would that be the greatest thing again ?

      Some US Soccer fans are a very bizzare bunch. From ripping on national team players non-stop to rooting for the biggest league to fail. Wow.

      • danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Having one “New York” team play in New Jersey has not done any harm to the league, having a second would not hurt MLS either. Garber has shown that he cares more about putting a team is his back year (He is a Queens guy after all) than whats best for the league. There is no team in the Southeast, Xolos is steadily taking over the San Diego market, no real presence in the Upper Midwest, but lets put a second team give New York a second team.

      • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        NO, he cares about 100 million dollars and the biggest market in the US. Do you not get it ? A team any where else is worth 50…this is double that, why ? Same reason NY has Henry with not many fans attending. A small percentage watching in NY is a big amount elsewhere.

  6. dws110 - May 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I will bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that the Queens stadium deal will fall through. No doubt in my mind.

  7. charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I hate the names of these teams. So if they get a ladies team in NY, it should be NYCFC also ?
    Try getting a name, an identity, something to rally around, something cool. Sounders is taken.

    Go NewYorkCityFootballClub

  8. miketoddryan - May 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    NYC & Soccer don’t really go well together.. at all.

  9. drewvt6 - May 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    If you’re the red headed step child of two parents is that like a double negative?

    Maybe the recipe for success in New England is to get John Henry and Fenway sports on board so they can begin ignoring the Revolution on a full time basis.

    Something smells fishy. Garber has abandoned the recipe that has lead to successful expansion teams in the past 10 years.

  10. scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    I like it. Call me crazy, but I have no real problems with this. For me, there simply must be a team located in inner NYC or a very nearby borough. They messed up long ago putting a team in NJ and with an odd corporate name that has no relation to the region or people. The branding is all wrong. Personally, I do kinda like the Red Bull thing, alliance, kits, logo, etc. But I can see where it just fails, overall and specifically for them.

    While letting the Cosmos grow organically isn’t a bad thought, that name really means so little now to the target demographic for MLS of 18-35 year old males. Start new and fresh. Don’t slap on a silly fightin’ mascot-y name, just keep it at NYC FC. Simple, bold, classic and already has built-in identity, in a round-about way.

    I realize the Sounders, Whitecaps, Timbers, Cosmos and others have some history behind their mascot names, so I guess it’s cool. But there’s no need to invent one for this new team. No one else in the world, really, does this and I like to go forward without them when applicable. Such as RSL, FCD, SKC, NYCFC, etc.

    This is much more of an obvious call than doing the Southern US experiment, for now. Whether it’s Miami, Orlando, Atlanta or wherever. Too many uncertainties and if there’s a place that has a worse track record of soccer support thank NYC or even pro sports in general, it’s Florida and Atlanta. The Sun Belt has proven to be too uncertain, nearly across the board and this is coming from a Texan and FCD supporter!

    Besides, Chivas will be gone very soon and that could very well be the team in Florida or elsewhere.

    • dws110 - May 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Here’s the problem with not doing the “Southern experiment” now: 20 has long been bandied about as a plateau number. 20 teams is sustainable, balanced, easily workable. Putting 20 in NYC effectively closes the door on markets like Atlanta, St. Louis, Orlando, the Carolinas, Las Vegas, etc. for the foreseeable future.

      That’s one of my problems with NY2; it shuts out the southeast, a viable and healthy soccer market. Does anyone think an MLS club in Atlanta or STL draws less than Chivas does? Sheesh, I could be marketing director for a club in Atlanta and make it work, and that’s saying something.

      Not to mention the rousing sucess MLS has demonstrated in partnering a franchise with a foreign club (*cough *Chivas* cough*).

      • scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Well that’s what I mean, Chivas could/should very well go to one of the places you listed. It will happen, make no mistake about it. Might even happen before NYCFC gets off the ground!

        But, seriously, think of yourself as a fat-cat, in a suit, in a tall building. You’re going with oil and Yankee money all day over the Carolinas or Las Vegas or Atlanta or St. Louis. Easy.

      • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 9:26 PM

        Anyone that thinks that 20 is the final number needs their head examined. MLS will blow through twenty very quickly….I would be willing to bet an announcement inside a year.

  11. bobinkc - May 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    So Man City is going to own a chunk, eh? What about all the griping about Chivas USA being nothing more than a farm team for Chivas? I realize that soccer in the good ole US of A is nothing compared to English and European soccer, but why is the MLS prostituting itself to provide another farm team, this time to England? Oh, well, I guess money still talks and bullpooh still walks.

  12. geojock - May 21, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    $100m buy-in is impressive. I wonder what that number does to value the other teams in the league. What did the last couple expansion teams pay?

    • danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Montreal paid $40 million I think. I think future non-Beckham expansion fees will be in the $60-80M range. The Don said a couple of times that the $100M was higher because it was for NYC and that is one reason why they were so hell bent on them as team 20.

  13. scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Any whispers of scrapping the divisions and opening up the table, with home-and-home for every club? 20 is such a perfect number :-)

    • danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      MLS has said they are never going back to the balanced scheduled. They want to have teams play there “rivals” more and cut down on cross country travel costs. As much as I would like to see a single table, it will never come back.

      • scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Oh geez, I really wasn’t aware it was that officially spoken on.

      • danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM


        He said this last season sometime during one of his press conferences/Q&A. Now is it possible that the league changes it mind? Just don’t count on it, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future.

      • scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        Oh well, one thing at a time. 20 clubs is the first order of business. Chivas should be next. Maybe salary cap, DP, the DP rotation or whatever it is, can all be addressed first, I suppose.

      • chadmoon1 - May 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        And that’s what is dumb about it: FC Dallas in West. Our rival, Houston in the East. So much for that idea.

      • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        Scott, if you are waiting for MLS to change, quit. Not happening. 20 teams was not a target, many more is. Salary cap isn’t temporary, it is permanent. Pro Rel is not happening ever.ever.ever.

        MLS is perfect the way it is…and it isn’t changing.

  14. mlsconvert88888 - May 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I don’t know a whole lot of the ins and outs of the business of soccer, but it seems like over the last 5 years the pacific northwest has shown the MLS the blueprint for creating successful expansion teams. Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver aren’t huge media markets, but they had an established club history, and so upon elevation to the Major League, there was already a strong established support for the teams, which translates into more people at the games, which means better atmospheres, which means games are funner to watch, which means it is good for the league as a whole. I mean Portland, probably one of the smallest markets in the league, pretty much sucked balls last year, and yet they still kept selling out games and putting on good shows for nationally televised games, which was good exposure for the league.
    So, that 100 million expansion fee sounds great and all, but is it possible the league just sold itself short in the long run, and we’ll be stuck watching teams play NYCFC in front of empty seats, because nobody really gives two shits about NYCFC?

    • chadmoon1 - May 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Another reason to let the Cosmos grow into NYC’s 2nd team.

  15. brad9000 - May 21, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    And now I have honestly lost all interest in MLS. I’ve been struggling to find a way to stay interested in you for so long, but I give up.

    • charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      GOOD BYE.

  16. simonbruyn - May 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Will be interesting to see the impact of this team on the salary cap. IMO you have big time investors dropping 100 million dollars on a team and likely a billion or so on a new stadium/parkland/etc. I can’t see them being okay with a salary cap limited at 2 million for this sort of investment.

    this feels like more than a new franchise, maybe a potential turning point in this league and how it functions.

  17. charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Seattle with the best stadium in MLS by a mile and a half, spent about half of a billion, now these guys are going to spend 1 billion.

    Very weak arguement for your agenda to get rid of the salary cap. Not really even a good try.

  18. cranespy - May 21, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    cmon……MIAMI…..they have a brand new “gently used” stadium….

  19. mikesta2323 - May 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    I honestly think this is great for new york and for mls

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