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Notes from today’s big announcement on MLS, NYCFC the Yankees and the rest

May 21, 2013, 1:23 PM EDT

  • MLS officials thought they were preciously close in negotiations with New York City suits on league plan to develop a 25,000-seat facility in Queens, just east of Manhattan. The facility, at a price tag of around $350 million, would be attached to the park which is already home to the Mets’ Citi Field and to the National Tennis Center, where tennis’ U.S. Open plays out annually. It has recently bogged down and now … well, we’ll need time to see how today’s massive news impacts everything.
  • We are all getting some social media driven whiff of how Manchester United fans will not support the new club due to its attachments with the Red Devils chief rival. You know, in a city of more than 8 million, that’s unlikely to make much of a dent.
  • Major League Soccer has been quite careful to keep expenses in check, to keep from wandering down the destructive lanes the old North American Soccer League imprudently chose. So far, so good … although there has long been push from the AEG ownership corners to go bigger. Always bigger. Now, due to the involvement of free-spending Manchester City and the Yankees – who have always defined “free spending” in American sports – and due to David Beckham’s potential arrival into the MLS fray, you have to wonder if the lean to “go big” is becoming some kind of unstoppable force?

(MORE: Manchester City and Yankees will own new MLS expansion club)

  • I cannot possibly imagine this is good for the Cosmos, a club working hard to make an impact in domestic soccer from its lower place on the totem pole, in the second tier of the U.S. pro soccer structure. The upstart club is scheduled to launch its inaugural season in the North American Soccer League later this year.
  • As’s Grant Wahl points out in this piece, we’ve known for some time that Manchester City and owner Sheikh Mansour were interested in sinking some of their abundant oil money into MLS. The surprise today was the Yankees.
  • Yes, having more high-profile franchises in MLS will add further pressure on existing franchises to get their messy houses in order, mostly as it relates to facility development but also to essential ownership structure. Yes, we are looking at you Chivas USA, D.C. United and New England Revolution.
  • Clearly, some team in the 10-team Eastern Conference will need to move to the West, which currently has just nine teams. Which one?

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

(MORE: Implications of the ‘sister-club’ relationship between City and NYCFC)


  1. danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Houston was in the West, then moved East and I would bet they move back West. Keep them on the same side with Dallas.

    I think that is imperative to keep the league salary structure fairly consistent in the future with what it is now. Slow and steady growth the best path even though it is not the sexiest one. If they want to go bigger they should focus more on the lower and middle range of salaries than the higher end.

    And you scoff at New York area Man U fans not wanting to support the team, I would think a number of other PL fans would feel the same. And then take into account Mets fans that would want nothing to do with a Yankees property and you could lose what is a decent amount of potential supports for a MLS team . Now if the Red Bulls can pull those fans in there is no harm no foul on this.

  2. scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Yea Houston in the West only makes sense. Both teams in Texas really could use that help of increasing the rivalry and thus continuing growth of the fandom in the state.

    Arguments could be made for SKC, but I think only if another eastern club comes in the future such as one in Florida. But SKC really does help boost the East a bit as well, at the moment.

    • danielofthedale - May 21, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      I think the next two teams will be from the Orlando, Miami, Atlanta trio. If that is the case then SKC would be the make way to the west to keep the two conferences level.

  3. larryharry59 - May 21, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Also NYRB are a huge loser in this. Not only do they not play in NY but the new NY team will have games on YES network and over the air MY9 similar to the Yankees and Nets. Those games on free tv will be key to NYCFC overtaking NYRB with more fan support.

    • geojock - May 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      I dont see it that way. NYRB will gain as much or more fans/exposure than it will lose…whether it’s as NYCFC’s fierce rival, less ‘trendy’ alternative, or NYCFC’s whipping boy…

  4. geojock - May 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    I dont know any team is as obvious as Houston. They started in the west. They have geographic rivalry with Dallas. Having played Seattle several times in USOC, regular season, and knocked the Sounders out of the playoffs, Seattle has no love for Houston. San Jose has always been bitter after the move. And Houston always wants to get a crack at LA.

    • scottp11 - May 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      And there’s no doubt whatsoever that one very significant aspect of the success of Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, aside from all the other obvious ones, is the great rivalry they’ve allowed to flourish with one another.

      I think DAL-HOU should be allowed to have some of the same benefits as the whole “Texas” thing, region, identity, etc. is indeed similar to “Cascadia” as well. DAL-HOU have a LONG way to go to ever be near the NW clubs, and likely never will get there, but there’s still so much room for growth.

      On a similar note, I think the NYCFC thing will help out with NYRB and the Northeast, as well.

      • geojock - May 22, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Houston really just needs to get Dallas on board. Houston used to do an ‘Orange Out’ in Dallas every year. Cool for Houston, embarrassing for Dallas. The move to the east killed that in that Houston only is at Dallas every other year.

  5. ndnut - May 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I hope SKC moves, as that would increase my chances of seeing a Sounders game. (Play the team closest to me on a date I can go, then I will get down there!)

  6. dhagentj - May 21, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    New York loves winners, so I imagine that Manchester United is right there with Barcelona as the most popular world club in the five boroughs. I could see the City partnership making a decent dent.

    • scoocha - May 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Yeah, I wish that Man U was involved here instead of the Citizens.

  7. chadmoon1 - May 21, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    This kills the Cosmos before they can even get started, unless the Queens stadium falls through and the Cosmos build a good stadium and suck out the new NYC team’s fan base.

  8. chadmoon1 - May 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    And I hope that happens. Then what will the Commish do, keep 3 teams in NYC?

  9. charliej11 - May 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    The idea that Man U supporters, the most casual of all the casual Euro fans, will really follow a team rather than just front run with a winner is laughable.

    This is a real league, not the Euro joke leagues. It requires real fans, not Man U fans living in NY. Your team might lose. They might stink for a few years…remember the Red Bulls in 2009 ?

    Wooing casual fans like the ones that follow Man who pretend they are part of the club is a very stupid idea.

    Focus on real fans…the kind you see still attending Chicago games this year.

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