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Report: Man City owner closing in on NYC MLS expansion team

ManCityOwners (Getty)


When Don Garber revealed last week that MLS was closing in on announcing the league’s 20th franchise, the chances of New York being the home for that 20th team didn’t seem nearly as strong as they had appeared in the past. Not with Orlando pushing hard to make the cut, and not with obstacles appearing to be standing in the way of a potential soccer stadium in New York.

You might not want to write off a second New York MLS team just yet.

Reports emerged on Sunday stating that Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, part owner of English Premier League side Manchester City, is closing in on buying an MLS expansion franchise in New York.

The New York Times reported that Sheik Mansour is leading the group that is ready to pay the $100 million expansion franchise fee and place a team in Queens, where a stadium will be built. The report also revealed that the MLS-driven stadium project in Queens, which had appeared to be hitting a dead end, could be completed within weeks.

These developments, if true, are a game-changer, because MLS has made no secret of preferring to put the league’s 20th team in New York City. With a financial powerhouse like Sheik Mansour leading a bid, MLS suddenly has the kind of deep-pocketed ownership group that can not only make a New York stadium happen, but would also have the financial might to build a successful MLS team.

What this development means for Orlando’s expansion plans remains to be seen, though Orlando has certainly done enough in recent months to be considered a serious contender to be one of the next cities in line for a team. Orlando was starting to look like a new favorite for the 20th MLS team, but with new, powerful ownership candidates emerging in New York, it looks as though Orlando may have to wait a while longer.

What do you think of this development? Excited to hear MLS could have some rich owners in New York City? Think it’s a mistake to add a second team in the New York market? Still hoping Orlando is awarded team 20?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If I see a man city logo on a New York jersey I’m banging my head through a wall. (Like Alexis Laila’s said this Sunday.

  2. I am a former MetroStar/RedBull season ticket holder who lives on LI. I used to love making the trek to the Meadowlands when I could tailgate and hang out with family and friends, When RedBull arena was built that ability was lost. It was the game only and it took a long time to get there. Weekend games became an all day travel event to Harrison, whether by public or private transportation. My friends and family who used to go to games just don’t have the time to invest in that. To have 2 teams playing on LI (Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk are all LI) would be great. The travel factor is cut down and I know many more people would come out, now that I have NY Cosmos tickets many of them are already looking forward to it. There is enough support to handle NYC2 and the Cosmos. Just make it so and support who you like, I will support the Cosmos, watch any team from NY, and always hate DC.

  3. $100million coming and no serious increase in salary cap…haha …$100million coming, at least the salary cap by 500k and exempt one DP from salary cap.

  4. I’d like to see the MLS follow a structure similar to the Bundesliga. It’s a league I’ve been following and I like the way it’s organized. It ensures no single entity can use a club as some personal toy and allows fans to be really attached and devoted to their club. It also keeps ticket prices extremely low, the average in Westfalenstadion is 15 euros. The Sheik clearly doesn’t care about the fans or the sport and is viewing it as an investment purely. To me, that just degrades the sport more than it’s already been degraded in Europe. I feel the Bundesliga manages profit with sustainability and creating a league really catered to the fans very well. I feel if MLS follows this, it can separate itself from the other sports here in the US and offer something really unique in the US that I think a lot of fans would appreciate. I’m not a huge fan of the naming of the teams, like Galaxy or Red Bulls, although not all teams follow this naming schematic I know and isn’t a huge deal. I think the teams should be closely attached to the area it’s in and feel less like a franchise. These injections of cash into the league by the Sheik and others, takes away the romance and long-term sustainability seen in the Bundesliga. Money plays an important role but it should be our money that goes into the league, not someone who’s looking for an investment with us fans as the source for the return on the Sheik’s investment. This seems like a short-term improvement in the quality of soccer while sacrificing sustainability, passion, and long-term improvement for the sake of someone’s enjoyment whose success is not earned. I hope I’m not the only one that feels apprehensive about this.

  5. now MLS needs to help teams by rebranding, earthquakes to san jose bay athletic, dynamo too late and they have an awful logo and name ( learn from astros) new england revolution to new england boston republic, red bull to cosmos 🙂 columbus crew to columbus city crew or ??? chivas usa to los angeles movement boys or los angeles aztlan aztecs.

  6. exactly, red bull should buy the cosmos brand or name and use the red bull money, stadium and that would be a crazy derby. someone call red bull austria and inform as soon as possible.

  7. I wonder if Red Bull would buy the Cosmos name to rebrand the team, but keep the stadium as Red Bull Arena and sell themselves Red Bull ads on the Cosmos kit. So you get the Cosmos legacy to continue in Jersey (where they played, after all) and all of the international pub/jersey sales to go along with that, and Red Bull and their deep pockets and ambition stay active in the league. Shep Messing already announces for them, so they are halfway there to credibility as it is if they can get (pay) him to be exicted about it. Best of both worlds? NYCFC and the Cosmos in MLS? Granted, I am way out on a limb here, but something to think about…

  8. New York City FC sounds cool. Sounds historic though its not. I think with big players and a shiny stadium inside the city limits of New York City will do great. The RedBulls ownership would be smart to buy the Cosmo’s name or Cosmo’s ownership buy RedBulls and stadium. Cosmo’s played in NJ for so long anyway. That would be the best overall scenario for both clubs to have success.

  9. I hope NYC2 is Chivas USA 2.0 a la Man City USA. Please adopt a different Crest and Color Scheme. And please don’t advertise Man City more tgan NYC 2

  10. It will never happen, but I’d want the team in Queens to have “Queens” in their name. I’d also want RBNY to be Red Bull New Jersey. I think a team would work as a “neighborhood” club for the over 2 million people who live in the borough of Queens. Then you’d have some local identification separate from Manhattan and the other boroughs. Otherwise, you’ve got a club and a stadium that seem too small time for a city that big. Queens folks would love to have something of their own to root for.

  11. in the past 2 years i have been against NY2 (mu initial feeling), then for it (after reading all the hype), then against it (when the hype simmered), i guess soon i will be for it again as the hype comes to a climax (or anticlimax).

  12. It’s the type of owner MLS needs (deep pockets) but does MLS really want an ownership group that is currently associated with another team in another league?

    The NY2 team will be a flagship team in the league and the owner should be wholly committed to building a strong brand. My concern is that an ownership group with divided allegiances uses the MLS franchise to further the brand of their other team (See under: Chivas USA).

    • Legitimate concerns but they could also use it to power the NY team. City could send their kidos here for exp and I wonder what the salary cap rules would be under City paying part of that players salary.

      One would hope MLS has learned from the disgrace that is Chivas…

  13. i’d be fine with both. both groups have great bids. and orlando is ready to go. don’t ruin that. seems like it’s too good to turn down.

  14. Wow. This could be huge for American soccer. Although, I am curious to see how big-spending and the MLS financial rules will fit together.

  15. NY2 is huge news. Major soccer fans in NYC, queens, and Long Island that i personally know who love soccer, but refuse to travel to NJ for red bulls games. Much easier to get to Citi Field than RBA in NYC, believe me. NY2 brings more DPs to MLS which ultimately makes the league better through media and tv exposure, making other teams need to raise their quality on the field, and tapping into a major geographic area.

      • orlando and new york are very different cities that will both taking MLS to different levels. I think its MLS 3.0 once Nyc2 joins and orlando

  16. For example, I think now existing MLS teams will start looking at the new era of MLS and will rather spend and not relocate their team and actually make their team a SSS, like Columbus, DC, NE but Chiivas a whole different story.

  17. With all due respect…actually, there’s no respect due. Sheikh Mansour presides over an inherited fortune and uses clubs as playthings. Abu Dhabi has a pitiful human rights record and he’s a part of the ruling class that ensures it’s so. He’ll make no contribution to the growth of the game other than money.

    I hope MLS steers clear of the man and his ilk.

    • I don’t disagree with your human rights comment, but c’mon, we NEVER criticize white American owners for inheriting their fortunes when they own teams, and, more broadly, almost never criticize the means white owners acquire their wealth with. I don’t see anybody saying Hank Steinbrenner only owns the Yankees because of his Dad what a worthless human being.

  18. I repeat, MLS needs 26 teams by 2026, just in time when USA gets the 2026 world cup. That is the name of their master plan, MLS-26 for 2026 and maybe a new league name when MLS hits 20 teams or 26. But…….MLS will hit 28 teams by 2035, given that NASL and USL teams will have more teams and still would like to join MLS. Another point, MLS will see more foreign ownership in MLS since American billionaires love “European soccer” and American sports. So we as MLS fans need to open our eyes and see reality, MLS will expand to 24,26 or even 28 teams. We will see more foreign investors until American billionaires jump into the soccer band wagon. Why not an Asian billionaire owner on the west coast? Why not a European or South American in the southeast or a Mexican billionaire in the Southwest? Midwest for American billionaires?

    • I think it would be smarter to get City-type owners who could help the current bunch flourish — address the spending tiers developing within the league — than open new teams for rich owners every time they want to join. City may want its own sparkling new franchise, and NY is big enough to indulge it, but if we start opening second teams in most other cities, or random teams in leftover towns, I think it’s carving up the same pie more times, or diminishing returns.

      • I would love to see American owners spending money on their own city but MLS wants parity and a foreign owner would rather have parity in owning another soccer team, in order to have a money spending limit. Imagine having Barcelona’s owner, owning a team a Germany, that would be a lot of money spending. Therefore, MLS can actually live up from their parity system by having exciting foreign owners that actually like to spend and win, not like MLS owners. As for putting another team in a existing MLS market, like Chicago or Denver, not a good a idea but if worth, then do it but MLS will expand to 24 to 28 teams.

  19. Id love to see some of the young man city/out of favor man city players coming over on loan deals. They could have a really successful strategic partnership. Man city could eat large amounts of the players salary on loan so that they could preserve cap space. They’ll quickly become the team to beat.

  20. Dear Sheik Mansour,

    So I heard you like to spend money. Thanks for your $100 million dollars. Here’s your $5 million dollar budget.



    • That’s the attraction though. You can go get your high end DPs but then you’re not spending your buy-in fee on bringing in players every year like a European club.

  21. We could easily see expansion in MLS of another 4 – 6 teams in short order. One would think that the following cities could easily support another MLS Team:


    With all that expansion, what do you do about scheduling? It’s a nice problem to have, but going past 40 games really starts to get brutal.

      • Add Rochester to that list … rather than necessarily the biggest cities, look for cities that have a soccer culture already in place (and, ideally, like Rochester, a soccer-specific-stadium available — the one there has about 13,500 capacity and could be expanded to 20,000).

        I’d rather see MLS keep adding franchises in cities where there is not already an established set of major sport teams — New York excluded just because it’s such a huge market — here in Portland, there basically is no other game in town (the Trailblazers’ woes the last few years has left all of the buzz around the Timbers, and now the Thorns).

  22. I’ve said it before: whether it’s the Cosmos or this new group, this is a finger in the eye of RBNY fans. Garber wouldn’t care if RBNY folded and turned the arena into a concert venue. He’s had a NYC franchise in his sights for a decade. Assuming (a big assumption) that they get the Queens stadium approved, the NYC team will immediately become THE story and, I fear, turn RBNY into the Chivas USA of the MY metro area.

    • Liverpool/Everton. Man U/Man City. Chelsea/Arsenal/Spurs/Fulham, etc. Birmingham/Aston Villa. Ranger/Celtic. Roma/Lazio. AC Milan/Inter

      Local rilvaries are the lifeblood of most leagues. I don’t see this in any way shape or form as an insult to Red Bulls.

      • True, but I think you wiIl agree that MLS is not exactly on the same plane as the EPL or Serie A. Local rivalries are nice, but in the American sports landscape they are far from essential. I fear the better analogy may be Galaxy/Chivas USA. The bump in attendance two or three times a season for rivalry games may be outweighed by overall dilution.

  23. It took 17 years, but we have 20 teams. Now we should start relegating some of them !
    (Man, I don’t get you pro/rel people)

    I think people need to look at the NYC x2 as a way to dilute all the money/potential that is there.
    I understand cities that don’t have a team being against it, but MLS has not stopped and just because Garber says we probably don’t hit 30 teams in his days, doesn’t mean he is right. I doubt he predicted 20 teams 5 years ago.

    • I was going to say we will never have regulation/promotion, but never s a long time. Personally, I don’t see the attraction, but I can see at some point maybe 20 years from now if MLS teams are all averaging 25k+, getting good ratings, and NASL games (or some minor league) is getting 18/20K and has a foot print in major metro areas, then yes, possibly.

      It will certainly never happen until expansion is complete. Why pony up $100 million to buy a franchise (in addition to spending the rest of the money for players and a stadium) when you can buy an NASL team for $10 million and promote yourself into the top flight? The league would be cutting itself off from a major source of revenue.

      • I think the attraction is that it’s a way for us to have up to 40 teams in MLS (via an MLS2 division). Long term I think the support is there for that many teams but I don’t think you can go much beyond 20 and still maintain a good standard. Plus, this isn’t 1996. Soccer fans in this country understand pro/rel and there’s no reason it couldn’t work here eventually.

      • I read an article about the presence of fan violence in Europe compared to the relative dearth in the US, and the author concludes that fans in Europe feel like they own their team. In some instances (Barca, etc), fans literally do. In the US, fans don’t feel like they own their local franchise. American fans feel like they patronize their team. It is very much a consumer mentality. E.g. the team is like a Starbucks to which we pay money and receive a service.

        Anyway, pro/rel works well in Europe because fans’ loyalty and dedication to their team doesn’t wane when their team is relegated. Regardless of the quality on the pitch, the quality of the stadium, and so on, the fans will continue to support their team. In the US, our consumption of sport is very much reliant on “game day experience” and established rivalries. If an American team were relegated and took a big financial hit, it would have long-term affects on the team’s viability. No rivalry matches, less money for quality players and amenities, and so on. Core fan would still support the team, but casual fans would drop off.

      • I get that pro/rel is a “soccer thing” that soccer fans are more likely to appreciate than others, but I’ve always said we should ask if the NFL could support pro/rel (obviously assuming they could logistically do it with the draft, etc.) before a league most consider niche could.

      • I have to say, the arguments against pro/rel are pretty unconvincing. They remind me of when MLS started and people wanted it to have quarters so it would be like basketball and football. Or have the clock count down. Or have breakaway shootouts because Americans don’t get ties. All stupid arguments, all proven wrong.

        Pro/rel can work some day, if not today. And it’s the only way to ensure all the markets that could eventually support a pro soccer team in this country are eventually able to get one.

      • You’re overlooking money. MLS is a single-entity. I liken it to Starbucks corporate headquarters, and all the teams are individuals Starbucks franchises. The corporation will do all it can to be successful and maximize profit. Voluntarily relegating a certain number of franchises will do the opposite of maximizing profit. Without a doubt, a second division will draw less media attention, smaller crowds and less money.

      • Pro/rel doesn’t fit into the American sports or business psyche. I assume the rationale goes like this: “We’ve had a franchise system in America since the 1800s, so why would we change?” There has to be an economic benefit or incentive to get franchise-owners to voluntarily accept pro/rel.

        It’s like asking Brits to drive on the right side of the road. Sure they’re capable, but why would they? They’ve got a system and a tradition that works already.

        I personally wish we could have pro/rel, but the benefits don’t outweigh the costs.

  24. “…have the financial might to build a successful MLS team.” Red Bull also have financial might. Still not successful.

    • You could reconfigure it as, they can spend enough to compete. But in a salary cap league I don’t think money alone buys it, although LA’s money and exploitation of the rules has tiered the league to an extent. But you are right that this is not F1 where you can practically make out a check to win the trophy.

      • Don’t underestimate the value of a good coach and management team.

        All LA Galaxy has done is pay (but not overpay) for quality starters and find and develop cheap bench talent.

      • I’m a big Arena fan and I think he’s the difference between LA and NY or Houston. BUT Arena also starts out with more resources. If you pick DPs wisely, you’ve got Donovan and Keane and the other guy’s got Braun and Earnshaw, or Bruin and Barnes.

        It’s not infallibile, you can get injuries, you can pick poorly, but the teams that are spending the most like LA and NY are now routine playoff teams, and LA has won the last two, against a team that barely has 1 DP. It’s a bigger margin for error.

    • “MLS suddenly has the kind of deep-pocketed ownership group that can not only make a New York stadium happen, but would also have the financial might to build a successful MLS team.”

      Since when does having deep pockets mean anything in a league built for mediocrity of all it’s members? With so many rules in place to maintain a “even playing field” I don’t see how this guys would have any more a chance to be successful than any other team.

  25. Deep pockets are not a must like in some leagues….with the salary cap…the success of a team is not dependent on how much the owners can invest. It means the stadium might be a bigger project and can get approved with less public funds…so this might help move things ahead. The Red Bulls have a great park…it would be great if this ownership group can improve on that or even get another showcase park like Sporting’s in NY by being willing to invest a bit more than maybe needed in the stadium plans.

    Almost every big name from abroad has talked about LA and NY so getting another NY team means we will have 3 new spots for big name players…and the connection to MC might make it easier for some of these MC players for example to stay with the same ownership group and come to NY or at least they will have the funds for a few big DPs. If you are use to paying the huge wages of the MC….spending $5m-7m on a player for your new NYC team might not seem crazy at all.

    I think more than the deep pockets though is the fact the owner knows soccer. It will be interesting to see how they leverage players or staff to help quickly grow their development efforts. Maybe younger MC players get some field time on NY like some of the Mex players are starting to do for Chivas. The exciting thing though is not getting some MC talent to potentially come to NY….but the potential for home grown US talent to go over to MC. If Geoff, Bradly, Altidore, Dempsey, or other talented US players played on an MLS team owned by a big EPL club I wonder how much easier it would be for that team to be willing to take a chance rather then have them sent to teams like Aston, Stoke, etc. to prove themselves.

    I dont know NY well enough to know how the fan base will react….from everything you read people in NY just view the travel distance as an issue in some areas to travel to NJ (I grew up in central texas where you drove an hour down the highway to go out to a nice place for dinner and thought nothing of it)….but one of the biggest issues for getting money into MLS is going to be improving ratings and the TV rights….so if a second team in one of the worlds biggest media markets will do this then I get the need for another team in NY (just look at how many EPL clubs play right in London…Spurs, Chelsea, QPR, Arsenal, Fulham, West Ham, etc)…plus since every big name who has looked at MLS has said they want to go to NYC or LA…and since Chivas isnt likely going to take anyone but big Mexican names…the second NY team could still bring good value to MLS.

    …….that said….I am still interested in seeing Orlando join…also….while Garber has league size in mind … since we cant do promotion/relegation….given the size of the US I would be fine if we grew the size so there was an East & West league with 20 teams each and they play in their division but the play-offs is where the best of each compete kind of like our own Europa League.

    • Yeah I’ve always felt like some kind of geographical divisions (east, west) would make so much sense. Travel, finances related to travel, development of local rivalries, etc. We can hope the league grows enough for that to work.

      • lol something like Eastern and Western conferences, split the league in half and put the western ones in the west and the easter ones in the east? holy crap such a good idea i wonder if its been thought of


    • You mentioned this, but there are so many things you can spend unlimited money on outside of the salary cap-youth development (especially in an urban environment unlike most teams), training and playing facilities, scouting, coaching, the caliber of DP, etc.

    • One other facet to consider is that these new powerful owners are going to have a powerful say when the next CBA is negotiated. Sheik Mansour isn’t spending this kind of coin for a franchise in New York solely to build a good MLS team. He’s doing it because he thinks he can (in time) build a global soccer brand in one of the greatest cities on earth. In order to truly accomplish that, MLS will need to begin to loosen its grip on spending a bit and considering how aggressively Man City has been in the transfer market you would have to believe that Mansour will push MLS to allow him to spend more freely. In fact, I’d be kind of surprised (shocked really) if that hasn’t been discussed at length with Garber and the league already. For those of us that want MLS to get a bit more aggressive and feel the time is right to give big market clubs a bit more freedom I think the addition of this type of ownership group can only be considered a good thing.

      The same can be said of Carlos Slim and his possible purchase of CUSA.

  26. I think Orlando needs to wait. They should be brought in as a double expansion with an Atlanta or Carolina team (or some other south-east team) as 21 and 22, that way you have a built-in regional rivalry and it cuts down on transportation slightly.

    • I think they both should be left out. Neither draws well enough as a minors team and I think the regional theories (“we need SE teams”) are somewhat indifferent to the level of local interest.

      I mean, these Canadian and NW teams we’ve been adding were all pulling 10K or better in the minors. The new batch, outside of San Antonio, is drawing 5K or less.

      To me, go from strength to strength. We have no need to risk a more stable financial league on dicerolls. Pick obvious teams. If the ownership or stadia aren’t there, sit on your hands a few years.

      • Jokes, right? Orlando drew 9.1k their home opener, and 9.6k this past weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them start drawing 10k regularly, with the quality of the team (thanks, SKC!) and the amount of attention in the local media they’re getting with the stadium situation.

    • Agreed. The current odd number of teams is lame. Once they add #20, they need to wait for 21 & 22 to enter together. It’s a long ways off, but I hope the league caps at 24. That’s already an incredibly high number, but not unlike the Championship.

  27. On one hand, it’s exciting for an EPL ownership group coming to the MLS. It shows the strength of the league. On the other hand, as a Red Bulls season ticket holder, I have serious concerns about a new franchise cannibalizing an existing one. I think MLS needs to address this before awarding a new franchise. And I’m not sure how they do that.

    • Look this NY one of the big 5 major cities in the world. It has two hockey teams, two baseball teams, two football teams, and two basketball teams. Come on they can handle another soccer team.

      • If the Cosmos truly go to Belmont (sorta Long Island if you ask anyone from queens) you could add more teams Brooklyn, Bronx, Deep or Proper Long Island, and the one they intended to have on the West Side (would cost about a billion dollars).

        There really arent enough fans if season ticket sales are what you are going for the critical mass just isnt there yet for more than 2 and a half (Cosmos in Long Island would be half until they joined MLS). But 15 years from now I could easily see another team here.

      • I’m also a RBNY season ticket holder and I’m worried about this too. NY should, theoretically, be big enough for more than one team. But if you’ve seen the attendance figures for RBA they are not too impressive. I’m afraid of my team turning into the Devils (minus all the championships) or Nets (pre-Brooklyn) of MLS.

      • No. If it were in Manhattan like the Knicks / Rangers that would be one thing but it is in Queens. There is no overlap. Also NYRB attendance was 18,251 last year which was pretty decent. The real issue would be tv. Another team could fight for tv ratings.

      • I agree there aren’t that many fans from Queens but any competition can’t help. Plus, that may be the announced attendance, or even tickets sold, but there are usually fewer than that actually at most matches.

      • It might help. Everyone loves a good rivalry. I’d say the games against the other NY team will sell very well. It might offset the minimal number of fans lost to the Queens team anyway.

      • Because the NYRB in that large city have drawn as little as 10K some years. If this happens I think we’ll see how the respective fanbases break down, eg, whether NYRB was primarily Jersey fans or how many NYC fans the two sides are fighting over.

        I mean, you look at Chivas and there are latently 20K fans who would watch them if it was well-managed and competitive. I’ll be interested if a new NYC location incites new/local fans or merely divides the same pie.

      • I don’t think that has as much to do with the number of fans in the market as it does with the Red Bulls/Cosmos generally sucking and never winning anything. Hard to build a fanbase when you fire your coach/gm every year and continuously sign overpriced, over-the-hill talent who use MLS as a retirement league. NY simply will not suffer mediocrity, you must win.

      • I did this math (im a geek), the top 7 best attended US-based MLS cities COMBINED are about as big as NYC alone, not counting the metro area.

      • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, will they be motivated to watch a team that may not be allowed to do the equivalent of trotting out Beckenbauer and Pele? You can tell from the big ticket sales for NT games and Big Club friendlies that NY will support top level soccer. But, like say, Dallas, will they support the actual salary cap team they will get?

        I mean, who’d have expected Seattle to be the toast of the MLS, in terms of fan interest? But they draw extremely well.

    • As a RBNY season ticket holder, this does not worry me at all. Queens & Harrison might as well be in different time zones. There will be very little cannibalization of Red Bull fans (at least the ones who attend matches). If anything, it will add more media coverage to soccer since there would be 2 local MLS teams. My only concern would be more on the corporate sponsorship side. With 2 NY teams, a company looking to leverage soccer for their brand in the NY area now has 2 options instead of one. I think this is more of a short term issue, as I think (hope?) there is enough money out there for both NY teams to pull in good sponsor money.

    • The NYRB brand has gone about as far as it can on its own — this year, if they win the MLS Cup, they could take it up a notch…but there’s a limit. NYRB will probably be the underdog long-term, despite their head-start, given the other franchise’s location and big money backers, but being second-fiddle in that environment will beat where they are now.

  28. From my understanding the Cosmos are a separate group with their own stadium ambitions. The rumored name of the “Man.City” group is New York City FC.
    I wonder if the Cosmos group are bluffing with their proposed stadium or will they actually push forward regardless as they said they don’t need MLS to build a 300 million dollar stadium. Could we see 3 SSS in New York: Red Bull Arena- Hannover, NJ, new NYCFC stadium at Flushing Meadows AND a Cosmos Stadium elsewhere in Queens? If this Man.City group is awarded New York #2, I doubt the Cosmos group will quietly fade away as they seemed to be picking up steam.
    I’m not opposed to 2 teams in New York but 3???? (albeit not all 3 will be MLS).
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out!

    • Zero. NYRB are in completely different city, different state, different mass transportation. Have to cross at least two,different bridges or tunnels to get from one to the other.

      • Nice attempt at humor, but the fanbase for Orlando is there. Even being in the 3rd tier of soccer in the US, their attendance was 6,600 for league games in 2012, which was a 20% increase from 2011. Get them a stadium and put them in MLS, and they will be in the top half of attendance in MLS. Their only competition from pro sports is a consistently mediocre NBA team.

      • Yep. Orlando will far, far outdraw the Cosmos this year. Guaranteed.

        NYC is a baseball town in the summer. MLS HQ can announce whatever attendance they want but support for RB & NY2 will always be average at best.

      • I don’t think 6K is MLS-worthy. Double that and it’s the second-worst in the league, ahead of only Chivas.

        Now, 8 or 9 K might be more like it, but it’s a handful of early games into the season.

        And the key thing to me is it’s a 300K city. I’m not sure that scales upwards in the way you suggest. NYC, put another first division team in another part of town and it’ll pull 10K or so. Do I think it’ll sell like hotcakes? I dunno. But it has more potential.

        Cosmos v. Orlando, you’re talking minor league soccer in a big league town that already has a first division team,versus the only show in town that has momentum behind it pushing for a franchise; it’s not even a comparison.

      • Central FL has over 3 million people. Tampa has millions more. I haven no idea why you are basing anything on that 300k figure.

      • The metro area is the 20th largest in the country. If you go by this more objective standard, it would make more sense to have an MLS team in Orlando than in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Portland, Columbus, or Vancouver.

      • Our last two games had over 9,000. Our first game had over 6,000 and that was because we had a thunderstorm. We’ll see what the attendance is this Tuesday, I’ll be at the game 🙂

      • well given the orlando team plans on tapping into the tourism market in orlando (which is very big), specifically, brazilian tourists, and the fact that they already have a stadium ready to go, i think it would be a great team.

        i think the orlando team has a ton of potential and according to reports last week, they could break ground on that new stadium by Dec. 2013.

      • I think you’d be over-stating the degree to which people visiting Orlando already will add a soccer game to the itinerary. People will be coming for Disney and the like and you’ll be trying to corral tired people for a night game at the end of the day. Plus, my experience as a tourist abroad is that by the time you are adjusted to where you are to look for sporting events, you usually missed them. You kind of need to plan it in, and I just don’t see tourists being so excited they’ve already bought their City tickets along with the airfare.

        People make the same arguments for Vegas, but I don’t know if resort towns can consistently support a home schedule.

      • right, but if they can make these package deals, which is the plan, you don’t even have to worry about that problem.

        don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. i think the distance between downtown orlando and and disney world could be a problem for those kind of deals. and relying on tourism for your attendance is not a good model as a whole. but i think orlando will have a good local fan base, certainly enough to fill out a 20,000-25,000 seat stadium.

        NYC2 and even a NYC3 could all easily end up much bigger teams than Orlando. but i think Orlando has enough potential to not be ignored. i know adding two teams is extremely unlikely, but i’m saying i would be totally ok with it.

      • Imp. You misstated the market area size with incorrect numbers now the resort response is overdone. Is it imperative that facts are correct?

        Economic impact studies have been made and the gate count at Disney is not a central factor. In all, these thoughts are specious.

        Cheers! 😉

      • I can see that marketing pitch now:

        Visit Orlando, and while you’re here why not see some vastly inferior football played by a team you don’t care about played in unbearable weather, for a price higher than you pay at home?

        And I don’t mean to specifically bag on Orlando (ok, maybe a little, I do hate the place), but I just can’t see any tourism support for any team aside from some mega-marquee teams (your Yankees and Lakers and major EPL teams).

      • It has little to do with tourism. Central Florida has the people, money, and interest. It is a market larger than 3 current MLS teams.

        As for the weather, the fans will be covered England like and games can start in March. Summertime is as hot and humid as it is in Philly or NY, and the Fall extends beyond Oct.

        We would appreciate your support. Cheers! 🙂

    • This the de rigeur comment from people who’ve never been to the NYC metro area or tried to make that commute from Queens to NJ. They are not really local to each other and attendance at one has ZERO relation to attendance at the other.

  29. Any chance they’ll also buy the Cosmos name?

    Whatever you think of the former and current incarnation of the team, I don’t think MLS could get better hype and media penetration than 20th year anniversary of the League, new logo for the league and the 20th team as the Cosmos in a 300 million stadium in Queens all clustered together…

    • From my understanding the Cosmos are a separate group with their own stadium ambitions. The rumored name of the “Man.City” group is New York City FC.
      I wonder if the Cosmos group are bluffing with their proposed stadium or will they actually push forward regardless as they said they don’t need MLS to build a 300 million dollar stadium. Could we see 3 SSS in New York: Red Bull Arena- Hannover, NJ, new NYCFC stadium at Flushing Meadows AND a Cosmos Stadium elsewhere in Queens? If this Man.City group is awarded New York #2, I doubt the Cosmos group will quietly fade away as they seemed to be picking up steam.
      I’m not opposed to 2 teams in New York but 3???? (albeit not all 3 will be MLS).
      It will be interesting to see how this plays out!

      • as a dc united fan, i will end up disliking this team either way. but new york city fc is good. i like it. new york city sc would be cool too.

      • The Cosmos have already announced their stadium plans, and it won’t be in NYC. You’ll have to take the LIRR to get there.

    • I was wondering the same thing. I think having the Cosmos would be great for MLS. Three teams in the NY market could be a bit much right now. NY City FC, Cosmos and the NJ/NY Reds it or not the Big Market teams are probably needed to grow MLS.

    • MLS and Garber severely undervalue history and authenticity – so this team won’t be Cosmos. I think this is a huge missed opportunity.

      • I agree. Having grown up in the New York metro, with the Cosmos, I can say that this name means a lot still, in ways that New York City FC never could. Yeah, there’s the belief that young hipsters will want the English-sounding name, and the future is always with the young. The young dig tradition, too. Nothing would beat the COS-MOS cheer. Or, having the connection to Pele and Beckenbauer.

      • So straight from $40mm to $100mm for the new franchise fee? Not too shabby.

        How is that determined anyways? MLS basically just sees what they can get in terms of bids? Or is it a preset fee?

      • Rubbish. The current owners of the Cosmos mark severely overvalued the brand. It just isn’t worth much outside of MLS. The Cosmos retro t-shirt fad has passed and now they face the realty of being a D2 club playing at Hofstra.

      • Wrong. Cosmos name is known around the world.

        I agree with the first post here that they should buy the Cosmos name. Otherwise its great to have all that money but it will be missing any kind of authenticity.

      • Last summer they were selling Cosmos shirts right along side Man U shirts and Olympic stuff in the Manchester airport. Struck me as weird. But there you go.

      • If you are saying Cosmos merch was on sale at Ross – that is meaningless. Could be dozens of reasons – none has much meaning in this discussion.

        Truth is, ask any soccer fan in the world who the NY Cosmos were and they’ll know. That’s invaluable to MLS.

      • And once fans see the new Cosmos with Hunter Freeman and some other garbage, you’ll never hear about the Cosmos again. The Cosmos are Pele. And without him or a player of his caliber, they are worthless.

        The Cosmos died 30 years ago.

      • Totally right Drew. Totally sick of hearing about the Cosmos. The team folded thirty years ago. There is no “connection” to the overrated past where Pele played a few games for them.

    • Cosmos is a name associated with NASL and failure. It might be the least failed and stained name of the bunch, but I’d rather have New York “City” FC, a name currently associated with success, than revive a NASL name.

      Plus, if the sheik is paying this much for a team, he can call it whatever he wants, within reason. [Although I’m going to remind people that the greedy desire for expansion fees was one of the downfalls of NASL, whose ownership saw $ signs with each new team, not figuring in the vulnerability of adding weaker and weaker teams to the league with each fee, and how the failure of poorly chosen teams can affect the perceived credit and bankability of the rest, including the ones that weren’t risky.]

    • wont be the Cosmos. a Queens MLS team existing alongside a NY Cosmos NASL team is much much more likely than a Cosmos MLS team.

    • Good point, despite the vitriol that i see in this thread. I think one point to be made is that it appears that both entities, Cosmos and the above investors, are bidding for the same stadium. They both say that they want to put their stadium in Flushing Meadows park.

      • Sorry, not quite so interesting. The proposed stadium for Cosmos is in Belmont park, and the Citeh group is aiming for flushing meadow.

      • I have a fever today so I apparently cant think. Thanks to everyone in this thread that pointed out that Cosmos will be starting their season at Hofstra.

  30. I’m a NYRB fan. I’d rather some really rich dude puts his money behind DC United. We can’t deny they’re the most decorated team in MLS. They deserve a world class stadium.

  31. Very cool. A NY2 team lead by this group would be pretty cool.

    What makes me happy is seeing how there are so many clubs around the country that seem to be coming on strong. They’re all playing in soccer-specific stadia, drawing pretty good crowds, developing supporters groups, putting a good product on the field, etc.

    It’s exciting that this NY2 possibility may be strong enough that strong clubs like those in NASL and USL Pro have to stay in the lower divisions where they can eventually build a case for proper pro/rel in our soccer system.

    • How long do you think the oil/etc. is going to last?

      One of the strongest teams in the country is Seattle, that plays in a football stadium on turf and draws the biggest crowds of all. The SSS is all well and good but I think long-term quality owners and attendance matter more. I think you’re buying the party line, which suits the league’s desired image and the revenue wishes of its SSS owners.

      Pro/rel really only works when you have so many franchises that you can ignore its temptations and casualties. Particularly when it’s one franchise per city — two tops — we’re not in the same position of treating teams as disposable. EPL can send down QPR because there are two other SW London teams and plenty of loyals fans to follow their teams on down.

      • When somebody writes checks for the $100 million fee and $340 million for the stadium you don’t care what bank the funds are from. That is nearly half a billion dollars for an MLS club!

      • It depends what we do with the $. NASL failed in part because the new expansion fees trickling down to the pre-existing teams became an incentive to expand and expand and expand beyond what was wise. Once the weaker teams start folding people start to question the overall integrity of the enterprise…..Miami, Tampa. The closest we’ve come to that in like 15 years was quietly moving San Jose to Houston.

      • Your earlier point is really important-we have this romanticized image of pro/rel letting really small markets a la Villareal make their way to the top but in reality the trend is for teams to aggregate in the big cities.

        Beyond the diminishing utility each additional team in NY in MLS brings to John the Soccer fan in Brooklyn, it also is a bad business model for a growing league. The franchise system allocates teams so (at least theoretically) there isn’t overload in one city. NY loves its american football, but 5 teams in NY wouldn’t be maximizing the possible resources the NFL has, maybe 3 in NY, 1 in San ANtonio, one in LA would be better.

      • People underestimate the sheer fervor supporting English football. You have 90-100 “League” teams — plus the lower rungs with many many more — within a country the size of Florida or Louisiana. There are probably a dozen teams in London alone, if you count the Orients and Barnets and such that many of the big club bandwagoners overlook.

        With all that to play with, you can ship teams up or down, another team with its own history replaces them, you move on. Every so often a team moves (Wimbledon) or implodes, but particularly considering most Americans are bandwagoning the Big Clubs, I don’t think people have to ponder the consequences. When’s the last time ManU or CFC went down? Decades? The modern reality of pro/rel is a group of QPR type teams that yoyo every few years, or Reading teams that go right back down.

        As it is they have to hand out parachute payments, so traumatic is the drop. All those people being released after the season? It’s not necessarily because “the players want first division football” — although the elite might have it in their contracts — it’s that Reading can no longer support EPL wages. Smaller TV deal, smaller gates, less merchandise sales, smaller sponsorship.

        If we were looking to England for examples to emulate, I’d suggest something more like Swansea. Modest stadium, team on a budget, dedication to a style of play that is attractive soccer. Ironically, not that much different from ourselves. But for all I care the Big Club mentality, the pro/rel temptations that have imploded clubs like Pompey, we don’t have the fanbase and ownership and resources for that yet, and I don’t know if we should replicate it if we could. Do most MLS fans want to start the season playing for 2nd? Or 5th? Or to not go down? That’s the English world.

      • Seattle is an outlier, yes they play in a football stadium but they also draw 40k to games. No other MLS team playing in a football stadium has ever done that, and I doubt Atlanta would either.

        But I agree with you on Pro-Rel, its far too soon. Only when there’s, say, 35-40 fully professional and successful clubs in the USA would it even be feasible, then you’d have to change the mindset of alot of owners. That’s a LOOOOOONNG way away from happening.

      • Not even then my friend. Think about it, would sheik mansour give MLS $100 mil with the possibility even remotely that 20-30 years from now that they would be playing in the NASL? Don’t think so.

      • I think Seattle disproves the conventional wisdom that there is one, SSS road to success. Dallas has a new SSS and until this year they were a struggling team with bad attendance who had lost their stadium sponsor. Columbus was the very first and they go up and down.

        It’s a set of factors including ticket cost, lease cost, fan interest, atmosphere, etc. If the football stadium is not empty and disheartening, and there is a sweetheart lease/access deal (or you can play for free), I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for soccer. The Rose Bowl is basically our Azteca, no???

        One reason I bring this up, is saddling someone with $300 million SSS stadium debt for a $100 million franchise fee is not necessarily sustainable. Some of the more rosy financial projections for NYC2 may not be factoring in what interest will be like if it ends up $50 a ticket (to cover the mortgage) and still a cap league.

      • I look at it exactly the opposite. The reason these oil rich countries and groups spend outrageous money now is because they are investing in the future. You think they’d buy into a league where the potential wasn’t huge? Some day MLS clubs could be valued at well over $100 million (I think the Galaxy already are). And being able to have a home base in America for Man City for summer training camps and international friendlies will only build that brand’s profile here.

        It’s a shrewd business move, one that will continue to pay dividends once the oil has dried up.

      • Exactly right. Think about the cost to purchase a football club in a major, major market in one of the top leagues in the world. It is going to cost far, far more and New York is arguably the valuable market in the world.

  32. No comment directly on this development, just…a feeling of “Wow!”

    We have a EPL-owner sheik buying the 20th team, with others that would like to join.

    I remember scouring the Boston Globe every day for news of the new team we were putting together, the big signing of “Pepe” Galdarisi, the first Cup in the torrential downpour that flooded Boston…

    A lot of people reading this don’t know of those days…trust me, we’ve come a long way!

      • Watched as many games as I could on TV, attended Mutiny games and was the 1996 and 1997 MLS Cups and couldn’t agree more (:

      • Not really, every team is allowed 3 DP’s not every team will use 3 DP’s. And if they do will the DP’s all be the same level. Plus through the young DP’s as well. I don’t like the idea of 4 MLS super teams. But if a few teams take advantage of DP’s and others won’t it might happen

      • In a league with playoffs you will still get the occassional upset, low-spender champion.

        Rapids fan here, by the way. We laugh at your DP-fueled titles! We did on the cheap with one guy scoring while on his butt and the other nearly destroying his entire career for our cause! Mwahahahaha

      • You’re overlooking the past two years. LAG outspent everyone, used all their DP slots, and won. Until they upped DPs from 1 to 2 or 3, you might have had a point. But once you can fill 1/3 of the team with DPs it starts to have a different impact, IMO.

      • All due respect but NY’s failure boils down to Marquez. I think it does matter whom you spend the money on, and I think Arena is incrementally sharper on that. But my response would be that NY’s spending has made it a perennial playoff team, at which point it is usually LAG, Seattle, and NY (The Big Spenders) and Houston and RSL (The System Teams). I think ultimately if a big spender plays its cards competently, it’s hard for teams like Houston to keep up. Which is why I feel like harping on each acquisition and coach’s decision we make, because we have to be hyper-efficient to keep up. LA ran our well-drilled squad off the field last final because our offense lacked its firepower, which is bought by using exceptions to the cap rules that we usually can’t spend.

      • It’s not just Rafa. RB spent a bunch on Cahill and only got some results last weekend. 3 DPs just doesn’t completely tilt the competition because you never know what you get with a 30+ y.o. DP.

      • But the difference in DP’s is significant. While small market teams like Columbus and Portland can attract DP’s, the cannot do the same marketing for the DP’s as a team like the Galaxy can do. The Galaxy have some powerhouse agents etc, representing the Galaxy. No wonder when Euro Stars say the want to come to the MLS, the number one market they wasn’t to enter is LA.. It is easier to bring a KaKa or Lamaprd to LA as not only can they match (or come close to) a European-like salary range, BUT they can also generate significant revenue through marketing. Beckham was still one of the highest EARNING soccer stars on the planet when he was at the Galaxy, not because the Galaxy were paying him more ( in the end of his time with the Galaxy they were paying him less) BUT his marketing earning driven by the sponsored revenues brought him far more riches that he could ever claim in Columbus.

        The Galaxy last year, concluded a deal for local television rights that was almost as big or bigger than the MLS received for the whole League. A lot of this money will never be seen unless the Galaxy come up with a new DP they (and Time-Warner) can generate revenues from.

        While MLS teams may aspire to parity, through the salary cap and the number of DP’s, it will be that some teams will be more equal than others. This is because some markets are bigger than others and can be exploited by the home teams through non MLS revenue generation.

        This will always allow the teams located in big markets to attract the stars and ultimately generate revenues for the local team but for the MLS as well.

        This is why the second team IN NEW YORK and not New Jersey is so important to the MLS. There are too many large Markets the MLS need to acquire. They NEED a team in SAN DIEGO and in the large markets in the South.

        We have more Large, Rich Cities, than any other place on earth. The Pro League her in the US know this. The NHL expansion into the sunbelt was not to get snowbirds a chance to see hockey, but to capture those revenue markets.

        And so it will be in the MLS. There will be the naive that think that parity in the League can be maintained through salary caps and revenue sharing. This is a myth. There will always be big market teams with big names and bigger salaries. These teams ar not successful because of money thrown at them, but because of the people behind them who know how to build franchised that pay off financially as well as winning Championships.

      • LA not only had 3 DPs, but also LD who should have been a DP as well as some sort of magic cap fixing juice. It’s still tough to get good DP’s in the league. Most of them are well past their primes, which means that you have to have great workers throughout the rest of the roster or you’ll be run off the field. Even with all their advantages, LAG barely made the playoffs last year. DPs are only a minor advantage and often turn out to be a disadvantage.

      • Apologies for getting the LD info wrong, but I feel my other points are valid. With 11 men on the field, I don’t think having 3 players of a higher skill level who are also older and have a reduced work rate, makes much of a difference. It makes them more fun to watch, sure, but not much else. Keep in mind that the DPs also have a $368,750 cap hit. They’re not free. That’s over $1M in cap money if you use all 3. You have to really work some magic if you’re going to fill in a solid team around those guys using only 2/3 of your cap. It’s a huge hindrance. Even LA is probably going to have to get rid of Omar after this year. The only way to be successful is to have the DPs AND a great academy, AND to draft well in order to place good but cheap players around the DPs.

      • LAG won b/c they have the perfect mix of TOP DP talent (most teams don’t have good DPs), the best American manager ever, probably the strongest youth system in the country, and great draft selection.

      • agree dan. comes down to the organization for me from the top on down and its commitment to winning

      • At the same time, the forced parity in MLS makes being competitive in CCL that much more difficult. How are we supposed to make that next step in our evolution if our clubs can’t consistently win against Mexican clubs. I don’t want a big 4 type of scenario, but at the same time I don’t want to be playing second fiddle to Liga MX for the foreseeable future neither.

    • Carlos Slim wants Guadalajara, not Chicas USA, if he does buy Chivas de Guadalajara I’d expect Chivas USA to be sold off or folded. Either way, MLS wins, as we get Vergara out of MLS.

      • He amy have wanted Guadalajara, but getting Chivas USA was a bonus and he is too shrewd of a business-man to throw away opportunities. Yes, he might sell CUSA, but there are many unfulfilled US markets to go after (besides LA) Slim comes from an immigrant family and LA and the US id filled with immigrants and Slim knows marketing.
        The near failure at CUSA was due to the intransigence of the Chivas Guadalajara owners wanting to imitate the culture at G-C. This was a strategy doomed to failure in the US. I think Slim, if he chooses to keep CUSA will do a major re-branding of the team

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