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New York Cosmos in dialogue with Don Garber, announce new deal

Jun 4, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT

Cosmos AP

The New York Cosmos were very busy today, as they announced a new sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines in a special press conference in New York City.

Brazilian legend and Honorary President, Pele, announced the deal as reporters gathered to hear about the future plans for the NASL franchise.

“This is a big day for the future of the New York Cosmos,” Pelé said. “It’s wonderful to be part of such a pre-eminent soccer family.”

While club Chairman Seamus O’Brien addressed the media and was bullish on the future of the Cosmos. “When we do get to the top again – and trust me, we will – we will stay there long past my lifetime.”

But perhaps most intriguing was O’Brien’s comments when asked about MLS. The Chairman revealed that he is in constant dialogue with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and that New York City could handle having three professional soccer teams.

So that is pretty good news for MLS fans, as previously it was thought the Cosmos and MLS had not been in talks about any potential linkup.

But can NYC really handle three MLS teams?

Let’s take London as an example. The metropolitan population is 15 million, New York’s is 18.8 million. London has 13 professional soccer teams, who are all well supported with over nine teams getting crowds of 20,000 plus on average. So New York can surely handle three teams?

(More: Three good questions for Cosmos club Chairman Seamus O’Brien)

Obviously well all know about the other sports in the US and NYC that affect attendance figures for MLS teams, so unfortunately it won’t work like that.

In London soccer is the main sport, there isn’t much else. So probably not the greatest measuring stick. But the lure of the Cosmos would certainly attract around 20,000 fans every game once they have a permanent soccer-specific home and if — a big “if” — they are an MLS club.

Three MLS teams in NYC is feasible. It would be absolutely wonderful to see it happen.

Hopefully those wheels seem to be in motion with O’Brien and Garber in constant contact. But it could be quite some time before that happens.

  1. creek0512 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    It would be even more wonderful to see MLS expand to NEW regions. MLS’s largest hurdle is that it remains inaccessible to large portions of the US. Only 15 US metros claim MLS teams, compared to 31 in NFL, 27 in NBA and 26 in MLB. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard: “I would follow MLS if there was a team nearby to support.” I’ not oppossed to another NYC club, but fans in the South and Midwest won’t care about the league until the have a club to get behind.

    • wandmdave - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      This. I do care about the league but more as a feeder for the USMNT rightnow. If the nearest MLS team wasn’t 6 hours away I’d be a season ticket holder though.

    • wandmdave - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      This. I do care about the league but more as a feeder for the USMNT right now. If the nearest MLS team wasn’t 6 hours away I’d be a season ticket holder though.

  2. mdac1012 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I live in NY, and I don’t believe it’s anywhere near feasible. To use London as an example is completely off base. There is absolutely zero correlation between the success of teams in London and the possible success of teams in NYC. The Cosmos would be a novelty in the beginning and even if they did take off, it would most likely be at the expense of one of the other franchises.

    Just because the Cosmos say they have an open dialogue with Garber, doesn’t mean they are headed to MLS anytime soon. Especially with NYCFC starting up in a couple of years, Garber and MLS want that franchise to succeed and bringing in the Cosmos could steal a lot of that thunder.

    • valiantdraws - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Cosmos are fairly infamous for trying to portray things in a more positive light. They’re talking to Garber? So what? I really don’t think MLS will let them in unless RBNY or NYCFC leave. At this point, they’re full of themselves.

      Also, Mr. Prince-Wright, I’m curious as to how you’re an expert on projected soccer attendance and marketing. You’re *certain* they could attract 20K a game? Really? We haven’t even seen whether or not they can attract 10K for games they have yet to play. Plus, you offer absolutely NO support for this conclusion, other than implying that the team’s history is enough of a draw. Your journalistic naivete really shines through sometimes, and this is one.

      • Joe Prince-Wright - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        I am not so sure they will be let in either. Just intriguing that Don Garber is actually chatting with the Cosmos after some of the negative comments between the two parties in the past.

        Not pretending to be some kind of attendance guru either my friend. But just my opinion that I think they could draw large crowds.

        Cosmos jerseys are all over the place, the brand is booming and I am going to stick my neck out on the line, again, and say if they have a soccer-specific stadium and are playing in MLS one day, they will get over 20,000.

        Respect your opinion but don’t quite think you read the post correctly.

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Very true. Mentioned in the piece that “In London soccer is the main sport, there isn’t much else. So probably not the greatest measuring stick.”

      Having lived outside of London for many years, and NYC too, they two cities are not alike in terms of soccer.

      How relevant do you think the Cosmos will be now NYC has 2 MLS teams?

      • chadmoon1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        The Cosmos have a 3 year window to make themselves more relevant than NYCFC. If they can get moving on a stadium, build it and get fans to come, and if the Flushing Meadows stadium deal falls thru for NYCFC, then they could usurp the MLS team before it ever gets off the ground. Then maybe the Don will have to elevate the Cosmos and leave NYCFC in the dust bin.

      • mdac1012 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        Joe, a couple of points. First, the Cosmos coming to MLS. Garber has made a major commitment to making the new NYCFC franchise a success. With Man City and the Yankees committing the money and resources that they will be committing for the new franchise and what they are going to have to go through with the city for a stadium deal, I can’t imagine Garber undercutting that effort by allowing the Cosmos to become a franchise in MLS. The Cosmos name still carries a little weight in NY and them coming into MLS would completely overshadow NYCFC. I would have to imagine that the Yankees and Man City, who are not stupid business people, have at least a verbal agreement that no other NY franchise is going to be awarded anytime in the near future.

        To the second point of NY being able to support three teams and the Cosmos getting 20,000 a night. The Cosmos, I think would survive if they came to MLS, but it would be at the expense of one of the other franchises. With the Red Bulls essentially being a New Jersey team, and not having the money that City will have behind it and not the name recognition that the Cosmos have, I think NYRB would be the odd team out. They don’t draw in great numbers now and that’s with them being the only show in town and having an all time player in Henry. The Cosmos would be a novelty in the beginning and at first would draw huge! But in NY, there is too much competition for your sports attention and money. Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, there are not enough hardcore MLS soccer fans to sustain a 20,000 a night number. There would be some big nights at “Cosmos Field” but a random game against Real Salt Lake, in the middle of the season, is not going to excite too many people.

      • schmutzdeck - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Having grown up in New York, I guess it depends on where the stadiums will be.

        Where if NYFC supposed to play? Yankee stadium?

        If the Cosmos play in Queens or Brooklyn, I’m not going to the Bronx to see games. I’d rather go to Brooklyn, especially if they are on a good subway line.

  3. charliej11 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    In talks with MLS : We tweeted him a question during a Q/A
    Jersey sponsorship : They bought us free jerseys, we took them.

    This is NASL we are talking about, we followed it for years. We were alone for years. Championships, we celebrated with 5k of our closest friends.

    Any idea that this is somehow more than that is really kind of crazy.

    • wesbadia - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      This isn’t the 1970’s anymore.

  4. griffinjohn - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    First thing first, there is currently one MLS team in the market and they can’t average 20K per game.
    That said, I would ask the PST guys to read their own blogs, a week or two ago they handicapped the next wave of potential expansion cities and easily got to 10, if I remember correctly, without a peep said about a third NY team. Some combination of Miami/Orlando/Atlanta gets you to 22 and fills the southeastern US gap. After that, focus on filling the Midwest gap. You do that and you have a truly national league representing America’s best cities. I truly believe 24 is the goal and it will happen sooner rather than later.

  5. dws110 - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    20k every game? That’s a joke, right?

  6. ricecloudnine - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    How very New York-centric of you to call it absolutely wonderful if it happened. There a other regions that could use a team before New York even got a whiff third top flight team.

    • dws110 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      PST is definitely showing a NY bias lately.

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