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Report: New York City FC to call Yankee Stadium home for three (!!!) years

Apr 14, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT

Yankee Stadium will be converted into a soccer stadium for NYC FC during the season. Yankee Stadium will be converted into a soccer stadium for NYC FC during the season.

One-off soccer and hockey games are one thing, but the New York Times is reporting that Yankee Stadium will serve as host for the first three seasons of New York City FC soccer matches.

There are so many complications to consider here, not the least of which is the near-concurrent schedules of Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball. And certainly there’s little question the Yankees will hold sway over the building.

The report details many of the problems of building a park in New York, and it isn’t the most shining of details for how NYCFC is operating early in its existence:

The question of where the team would play its home games has hovered since it was announced last May that the club would join the league, delaying plans for everything from marketing and advertising to season ticket sales. The team has frequently promised a decision — it told the league in January that it would have a plan in 30 days — but has consistently missed even those self-imposed deadlines, to the frustration of M.L.S. officials and prospective fans.

The report, from NYT’s Andrew Das, David Waldstein and Ken Belson, points out that exhibitions at Yankee Stadium have involved temporary grass being put over the dirt but that’s not a full-time solution.

Here are the only quotes in the report:

“Technology has gotten to the point where I think we can turn it around pretty quickly,” said Yankees’ executive director of nonbaseball events Mark Holtzman.

“Baseball is clearly the No. 1 priority. We wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at any risk; there’s a major investment here in the players. At the end of the day, we look at these opportunities very carefully, and we wouldn’t get into these opportunities unless we were confident in the end result.”

Well, having an executive director nonbaseball events is a good step.

If they’ve got a good solution to sharing the pitch without destroying it, I’m sure myriad minor league clubs would love to hear it (let alone the grounds crew headaches that would come with flipping the field over and over and over again).

  1. vtravi00 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    This is going to be a mess. I said when they announced team that there was no way they would be able to build a stadium in NYC. I live in boston and it is impossible here. In NYC it is ten times worse. The fact that they gave a team to someone without shovels in the ground is a huge mistake. This has chivas usa type disaster written all over it.

  2. footballer4ever - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    It’s pathetic for MLS, a football league I follow and care for, to allow this events to develop. So much for wanting to have a second football club in New York, yet MLS or “NYFC” is not able to build and showcase the league in a better way than to play their football in a baseball stadium. What a disastrous way to begin and build up on false expectations. Yes, this has chivas usa written all over it and worse.

  3. dfstell - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Not looking good….

    I’m not going to be quite as alarmist as some other folks. I do think that if they get an awesome stadium in a great location 5 years from now, everyone will soon develop pleasant memories of the good old days in Yankee Stadium.

    But, it does illustrate the challenge of building stadia in city centers. It isn’t easy anywhere. Even little 5,000 seat minor league stadiums in small markets are a challenge. And it makes sense. These are expensive pieces of real estate to occupy with a large building that has is only used 20-30 times per year.

  4. talgrath - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    So, instead of sharing a building at an existing (and pretty nice) soccer stadium just outside of NYC, they’re instead going to play soccer on a baseball field…makes complete sense.

    • mfishkin - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Don’t you see? A club can’t promote itself as “The City’s Team” and play outside the 5 boroughs.
      Red Bull Arena took 10 years to build. 10 YEARS!
      There’s no way, I’ve I’m RB, that I’d allow a groundshare.

  5. kryptock - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Then they should not be playing.

  6. jdfsquared - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    One of Garber’s few mistakes, in my mind, has been his over-eagerness to get this NYCFC thing done. A presence in NYC proper may indeed be critical to the league’s overall success (tho even that assertion seems debatable when put against having representation in all regions, something that has been recently and confidently addressed).

    But if NYCFC is indeed the most visible club in the league, what good does it do MLS to have it viewed as inherently inferior to other sports, even in its own building?

    He should have waited until the stadium worked itself out. (Tho I can hear the counter-argument that no stadium would materialize without an actual team to put it in. Ahh!! Tough one.)

  7. babatundew - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    This is an absolute disgrace. They are so desperate to stay in NYC that they wont start off in an NJ stadium like Red Bulls Arena or MetLife Stadium while their stadium is being built. To put it in an MLB stadium, where the field is made for a sport with a completely differently-shaped field, is an abomination. Plus there will be issues with grass on the sand and the smaller field dimensions. It makes it unattractive for European stars to play.

    From the beginning, I said that NYCFC will fail because NYC fans of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and the New York Mets, who want to give MLS a chance, will not make NYCFC their second team to support because of the owners -Manchester City and NY Yankees.

    Let’s hope that I’m proven wrong

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