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Garber, Red Bulls refute report claiming club is for sale

Don Garber 1001

Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports


The New York Red Bulls are not for sale.

In the wake of an report published on Wednesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber has emphatically shot down the notion that the Red Bulls are for sale. The report stated that the club’s ownership group would be willing to sell the rights to the team and its soccer stadium, Red Bull Arena, for $300 million, but Garber said that is not the case.

“Can absolutely assure that the club is not for sale,” Garber told the New York Daily News. “Both the owner and management team in Austria and New York are as committed as ever to Major League Soccer, the club and their fans.”

Garber’s words echo that of the statement made by the Red Bulls just hours after the report came out.

“There are no plans to sell the New York Red Bulls,” read the statement. “While interest in soccer continues to grow in the U.S. and the MLS continues to expand, Red Bull is confident now more than ever in its investment and committed to the franchise and its supporters.”

The Red Bulls also rejected the idea that a decision on Thierry Henry’s playing future has been made. The same report stated that there was no chance Henry would return to the club following the expiration of his contract at season’s end, but the Red Bulls said decisions would not be made until after the season.

“The New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry are focused on the MLS playoff race,” read the statement. “The club will wait until the off-season to discuss player personnel matters.”

New York is currently trying to reach the 2014 MLS Cup playoffs. The club currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, holding the final postseason berth, with four matches remaining in the regular season.


What do you make of Garber’s comments? Believe him? Think he is telling the truth but crossing your fingers for Red Bulls to sell the club in the near future?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I am amazed at all of the people on this board who have insider information about the business plans of a privately held Austrian corporation. What we do know is that Red Bull is heavily invested in numerous sports, including soccer teams in the US, Austria, Germany, Ghana and Brasil (all of which bear the Red Bull name), and promotes numerous athletes worldwide. We also know they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing Red Bull New York from a team with no trophies and virtually non-existent attendance in a barren Giants Stadium into a Supporters Shield winner in the best soccer stadium in the country with a great atmosphere (even when the season tix holders don’t show). The best way to judge Red Bull’s commitment to the team going forward is when Henry needs to be replaced. Until then, and barring some actual factual news, fans should just hope the players play well and make the playoffs (again).

  2. If the parent company’s stock and sales are going south, then this “rumor” makes sense. If stocks and sales are not losing, then this makes no sense.

    • Just looked it up. There is no stock. They are privately owned. Annual sales look strong. They have a 40% world market share and revenue in the billions. I bet this is just a rumor.

  3. If they are serious, spend!!!!! Petke has done enough with so little. Spend on the present and the future. the draft is under used and not perfect. Invest in a team that will comb college game better. Invest in keeping best players, keep Henry one more at the least. Spend on a true holding mid, and a CB that are top notch. Spend on u23 US players that can turn out to be long term and future DPs!!!! Spend on USL team!!! Spend, Spend Spend, improve on what’s in place but spend!!

    • Their spending has always been keyed to the value of the billboard for their main product — a beverage. As long as the team is halfway decent, the cost/benefit calculus of spending more to win more games just doesn’t work from RB’s perspective. An MLS Cup might increase the visibility enough to justify a bump in spending, but RB has evidently realized that the visibility of a team that simply makes the playoffs is not appreciably different from the visibility of a team that challenges for, but does not win, a championship.

  4. i mean, what else would they say? there was no way they would come out and confirm the reports even if they are true. guess we’ll see what happens.

  5. Not mentioned in the SI arctile that’s pretty significant as a motivator for NY Red Bull to want to sell is the continued promotion of Red Bull Leipzig which has advanced from the fifth division all the way to the 2.Budesliga in consecutive years. They are also the club that bought Terrence Boyd recently. My guess is that Red Bull is thinking a club playing in the top flight Bundesliga is a better investment than a club in MLS in regards to global marketing and they could use the $300 million plus from the sake of NY Red Bull to add quality to Leipzig and make a push for promotion to the Bundesliga.

    • there is a major issue concerning the bundesliga and that is a team cannot be owned or named by and for just one sponsor. i will NEVER understand new york….world class facility yet all fans seem to do is moan about it. then bring in OIL cash to play in a baseball stadium. the stadium has got to be worth far more than when it was built. this smells like a disgruntled employee as grant wahl’s source. for pete’s sake just allow the cosmos to buy the team and stadium and get rid of red bull and allow new york to thrive like seattle vancouver and other resurrected nasl names

  6. Garber, it’s nothing wrong by saying red bull might or not be for sale. It was and it’s still obvious that red bull has no future in MLS and garber should buy the team and take over just like they did with chivas USA.
    As a matter of fact, MLS can easily find new owners since MLS is growing and getting more exposure.

    • I forgot to touch the subject of the team name if they are sold. Why? Since it’s New York and New Jersey, I think garber wouldn’t like to fail with the name.
      You have:
      Cosmos, that’s if they want MLS.
      Empire fc
      Metro cosmos
      Metro empire
      Metrostars empire
      New York New Jersey united and man united owners buy the team.
      From my point of view, cosmos is very good option or metro empire.

  7. Since this news broke on this board, on dedicated metrobulls boards, on big soccer

    the response has been almost universal hope. Almost nobody wants RedBull to stay. Clearly this hasn’t gone ignored by the suits.

    Don, do your job. Nobody wants them here.
    Dieter, look around. You’ve failed to understand the American sports market.

    Where are the throngs of die-hard RedBulls fans screaming for them to stay?

  8. If you are the Cosmos, passing up this opportunity would be a death sentence. You would solve all your problems in one fell swoop. Get the best soccer stadium in the US, a top 3 academy infrastructure, a training facility, eliminate a market competitor, get on the board of govs to push for the changes you want to see in MLS and you get a built in fanbase desperate to shed the Red Bull identity and willing to become a team with string roots and history in NY and NJ.

    Its such a no-brainer if the Cosmos are not all over this they might as well just fold now.

    • This X1000.

      If you’re the Cosmos, the path is either try to grow organically (somehow get a stadium done at the tune of $400 million, continue to win NASL every year and have success in the Open Cup to build a fanbase, try to convince MLS that it should be admitted as another team (realistically not happening in the next 8 years with current expansion plans in place)…

      …or write a $300 million check and rebrand the team as the Cosmos, with a first class SSS in place, an academy, training facility, etc. Seriously if the Cosmos have any aspiration to be more than a minor league team just buy RBNY now.

      • “Continue to win NASL every year”

        Ahhhhh, hey Rip Van Winkle, this ain’t 1980. They are in 5th currently after finishing 3rd in the spring.

        Second comment/question, why do you assume the Cosmos have $300 million. Wouldn’t they be in MLS if they did ?

      • 2nd in spring by 1 point, 5th in fall and still solid #3 in combined…so they have a decent chance of winning the championship in 2014

  9. Don is lying of course. Red Bull is moving out in my eyes. They made the push but have since really backed off in the effort. All spending is down and points to the exit doors. Here’s what a new group can do better in my opinion (I’m a RBNY season ticket holder):

    1) Be the NY Cosmos
    2) fund a legit reserve team
    3) bring back the fan experience from the first couple seasons, with a real block party with actual vendors (not stadium hot dogs)
    4) get a solid, young playmaker
    5) push them to improve Harrison PATH station
    6) beat NYCFC every game

    • Agree with everything, except I’m not so anxious to be the Cosmos. It wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me though. The rest of your agenda is spot on. The Port Authority is renovating the PATH station, although it won’t be done until 2017 at the earliest. The entrances will be far more open and modern, which should ease the postgame crush for trains back to the city. Also they are building additional entrances on the other side of Frank Rodgers Blvd. which will also help. There are also thousands of apartments under construction in the area, which will bring retail, restaurants etc. In five years, Harrison might actually be a nice place to go for a game.

      • That’s good news on the Harrison station – I heard they were thinking about it but didn’t know a date had been given. With all the development I think its only a matter of time until its a much nicer place to go for a game.

        The thing about the Cosmos is they would bring instant, worldwide recognition and authenticity to the team. In MLS, pedigrees don’t really exist and I find the possibility exciting. It doesn’t hurt either that as a youngster I liked the Cosmos.

      • You’re right. I’m warming up to the Cosmos idea, as long as the team stays at RBA, or whatever it would be called.

      • Been a supporter of this team since the first year, when i was a senior in high school. I’m pretty ambivalent about the team being owned/branded by an energy drink; truth is that all teams are pretty corporate at this point, with very few exceptions. You have to find a reason to root for the local team, and I’m not going to judge whatever reasons people come up with.

        For me I will always support the local team and would be supportive of whichever ownership group is willing to invest itself in the team and community, from players to facilities to fan experience to marketing. That’s why I was excited for Red Bull and now would be happy for someone new, if indeed Red Bull aren’t willing to continue investing at a level to be competitive in mls 2.0 or whatever.

        In some ways I have more trouble with Cosmos than Red Bulls, though (hear me out):

        –Red Bull kept more or less the previous color scheme, when you shouted it Metro and Red Bull could sound pretty similar (I like many still change Let’s go Metro) and while Red Bull is corporate, it didn’t feel like rooting for a different team.

        –Cosmos feels like a different team. I know some are nostalgic for it, but most of the fanbase moving forward (ie anyone my age, 36, or younger, certainly) won’t have grown up with them. So now it’s not just new ownership but a different soccer brand. Yes, it’s nice to have history but it’s someone else’s history. For better or worse this franchise’s history is ours, even with different names and owners.

        So I’m rooting for new ownership but not the Cosmos. End of day I will come out to root for whatever they call the team playing in Red Bull Arena, though, and hopefully we’ll win an MLS Cup before my 2-year-old goes to college.

      • I see your points and can understand your being against Red Bulls being bought out by Cosmos. The past couple decades have given the area some big figures – Petke is a good example. Juan Pablo Angel is another.

        But if they sell then anything could happen. A new owner may very well want a clean slate and not be anchored to any RBNY/Metro history – let’s face it, one Supporter’s Shield in all that time is not much.

        Either way I want a championship too so I’m with you there.

      • WHEN the team is sold not IF, it will need to be rebranded. Going back to the Metrostars name is not a realistic option. ITA agree about the Cosmos pedigree. Cosmos season ticket holder during their entire Giants Stadium run (’77 through ’84). You bring back the Cosmos name and I’m making five hour one way trips to matches. Look how much keeping the brand names Earthquakes, Timbers, Whitecaps, and Sounders has helped those teams.

      • My wife’s family is Brazilian and the first time I met my father in law and spoke Football he told me he was a Cosmos fan and he asked me how they were doing in the league that year. It was 2010 and I didn’t have the heart to tell him they hadn’t played a real game in 25 years. He’d never heard of the Galaxy or Ny Red Bull or any other MLS team but he could name every one of the Cosmo greats playing on those teams in the 70s and 80s.

      • Ok so the Cosmos will help us capture the market consisting of foreign football fans who pay absolutely no attention to US soccer.

      • I’m not totally against the Cosmos idea, I was a fan as a kid, but it would NOT bring “authenticity” to the team. There is no connection to the team from the 70’s, no continuity. It would just be the purchasing of a brand name.

      • Well in a league like MLS with little history, the Cosmos current incarnation has as much if not more authenticity as any other. They still fly in Pele for the big events. Not too shabby.

      • Just what would bring authenticity to the team? Pele? Beckenbauer, Carloss Alberto, Chinaglia?

      • Building their own history would bring authenticity. You can’t buy and market yourself into authenticity, especially using the accomplishments of an organization that really has nothing to do with the current organization save for a purchased name.

    • Troy,

      First of all the D is what needs improving.

      But aside from that. I don’t think you can throw away the current, even if there was a bit of a rebrand in there, to the Cosmos. The years of frustration will make the win that much greater to the ones that I care about the most. The real fans.

      I get the feeling you are bringing in the whiners. Although having their precious little gem in MLS, where Don the Devil will currupt and ruin all, would be funnier than heck…staying with the 20 year history and building on it is my first choice.

      • The D is shaky, no doubt. But our playmaking is not consistent either. I think we would agree that the bench is not deep.

        I am not sure how I am bringing in the whiners though. If I didn’t bring up the Cosmos then someone else certainly would. At the end of the day they’re a huge part of the soccer story in NY. They aren’t going anywhere and MLS is the only option for them.

        Whatever team plays in Red Bull Arena is who my team is. They could revert to Metrostars, be bought out by Cosmos, or have Oprah Winfrey buy the team and call them the Oprahs….I won’t change allegiance in the end. But the Cosmos going there is a good idea in my eyes.

  10. The whole Red Bull branding experiment was a disaster from the beginning just like Chivas USA. There is no authenticity to that organization at all. Hence the reason why that cannot sell out a 25,000 seat stadium across the river from NYC. Pathetic if you ask me.

    • It is pathetic. I agree. But a lot of blame is on the local soccer fans. That stadium + Henry and Cahill + a team that made play-offs 4 years in a row and won SS should be enough to sell out a 25k stadium every game.

      • Because it’s your local team. And the only local D1 team as of today. You also support the players who as far as I can tell give it their all independent of what Austria is doing or not doing

      • He’ll have issues with NYCFC eventually. It’ll be something different like “oh those oil oligarchs are just so soulless” or “the Yankees only care about baseball”.

        That’s why when Red Bull Arena is full like it was against the Sounders, its great because its people who really want to be there. Not fair weather fans like this guy.

      • Amen Troy.

        I like where we are at right now. The whiners stay home and away. Just where we need them, just where we want them.

        Do you have a solution for websites though ? That is the million dollar question.,

      • People show up to see the sounders at RB stadium?.. Why don’t they show up to see RB week in week out.. ? half the time I see Rb on TV the stadium is a ghostland..

        That is the definition of fair weather.

        Soulless club is right

      • you dont have to whole-heartedly support it, but you’d think there would be more interest in just seeing the game being played, players etc. That is in part the fault of RB for doing almost 0 marketing

      • People make it seem like its so easy to fill up an MLS stadium. Besides the newer teams, no one is killing it with attendance.

  11. “Both the owner and management team in Austria and New York are as committed as ever to Major League Soccer, the club and their fans.”

    Why should an assurance that RB is “as committed as ever” give me any comfort? Soem would say that’s a pretty low bar.

  12. I imagine a significant portion of that price is the stadium. there are teams in the ‘big four’ leagues that wouldn’t cost $300 million.

    • Forbes latest valuation for RBNY was $114 million. So yeah, the majority of that price is the stadium. $300 mil would be a cut-rate price, I believe RBA cost $200 mil to build.

      • Not a bad deal considering the work and time it takes to build a stadium and get road and infrastructure done by the government. A new owner can make an additional 8 million per year in stadium and shirt sponsorships. My only concern as a new investor is NYFC.

        Overall Garber has done a great job. However, the worst thing he’s done is allowing two teams in NY and LA. Maybe the markets can support both, maybe not. Why take the risk when so many other cities want a team?

      • It’s not a bad deal, which is why I think the denials really mean – “$300 million? Did I say that? Noooo, I meant $400 million!”

      • Because whenever MLS gets two successful teams up and running in NY and LA it will be huge for the league’s bottom line and especially for future TV broadcasting negotiations.

  13. Vergara also emphatically denied that Chivas was for sale as well. Sure.

    Garber can say whatever he wants, but there is a LOT of smoke here:
    -JdB resigning unexpectedly at the beginning of the year
    -Zero marketing of the club in the NYC area
    -Cancelling the USL Pro reserve club
    -Not filling the third DP slot
    -Making season ticket holders renew at a very early date

    Sounds like cut investment to me and prepare for a sale.

    • There are signs up for this weekends game in NYC. So wrong.
      Season ticket sales for all the other teams started just as early.
      There never was a USL pro club.

      • They always try to get people to renew early, that’s no different than in the past. You also don’t have to renew early, I think you have until the end of October at least to renew and still keep the same seats although they offered incentives for people to renew sooner.

        The rest is accurate though. The team had announced plans for a USL Pro club, like Galaxy did this year and several MLS clubs plan to do next season. This is something that will be essential going forward but the club decided to skimp and backed out of it.

        There may be signs up somewhere in NYC promoting the game, but the overall lack of marketing and lack of an English language radio deal are infuriating. The club has done a pathetic job promoting itself and this is one of the reasons for the disappointing attendance. As far as I’m concerned, anything less than a full house every week is disappointing.

        The third DP spot has been unused since Marquez left. More skimping and cost cutting. This summer’s big signing is Damien Perrinelle?

        Ownership is inept and I can’t wait for them to sell. The only benefit they brought was money and if they’re turning off the cash spigot, they can’t sell soon enough as far as I’m concerned.

      • The writings on the wall. At this point it’s a business decision, Red Bull has yet to see a profit from their ownership stake, lost $6.3 million last year. Also, it’s been noted that Red Bull is lookin reduce it’s investments in Soccer properties.

      • There was very little to zero marketing in 2013 probably 2012 as well.
        I renewed this year about the same I have renewed the previous 2 season
        There wasn’t a 3rd DP last season either
        They had the option to have a USL PRO team in 2014 as well but they didn’t get there act together in time

    • Red Bull need to prove they want to stay!! They need to spend! keep Henry, look at all the buzz the jeter and Landon retirement created. Keep him at least one more season. Spend on upgrades in key roles, a holding mid, a cb, a top notch AM to play on left float central. better right back and left back!!! RBNY needs to spend on getting u23 US players that will be MLS best in years to come as well as creating a top notch team to comb college game, and USL team for academy players to play on. Spend RedBull Spend!!!!


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