Top Stories

Cosmos bracing for stadium decision while continuing to eye contingency plans

New York Cosmos Stadium (NY Cosmos)



More than two years after the club’s initial proposal, the New York Cosmos know their stadium desires remain in limbo, but are hoping to have a resolution of some kind sooner rather than later.

The Cosmos have long been waiting on approval of the club’s proposed $400 million, 25,000-seat stadium at Belmont Park since initially submitting plans in January 2013, but the proposal has remained locked in governmental discussions ever since.

Having heard little from Empire State Development Corporation, New York’s primary business-aid agency, Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover firmly believes that some sort of decision is expected to come in the near future.

While the club remains positive over the Belmont site, which Stover calls ideal, the COO admits that it would be remiss of the Cosmos to not prepare for the worst should the proposal end up failing.

“There are plan B’s but nothing that we would lock in on and say, ‘This is our first choice,'” Stover told SBI. “Everything is still in its infancy, and it’s not worth discussing because we’re not far enough along, but there are a lot of irons in the fire. As an organization, we haven’t narrowed those four or five things to one or two leaders, but, having said that, Belmont is clearly the best choice.

“We want to develop a stadium in the New York Metropolitan area. That’s the best location, and we made that decision early on. We still stand by that. If we can get an answer from the Empire State Development Corporation soon, then we’re going full speed ahead, but we have to do our due diligence. We have to be prepared should we not win the bid, but to be who we are capable of being, we need to be in our our own stadium.”

That stadium wait, nearly two years, has been a taxing one that has been full of challenges. Overall, Stover and the Cosmos are just awaiting answers so the club can proceed with a plan, whichever it may be.

“Two years is way too long for a business to be waiting for a decision like this,” Stover said. “I think anybody that’s ever run a business or been part of one can fully understand that challenges we face with that. I think that developers as well feel the same way. We all would like an answer, whatever that might be, so we can move on, whether it’s building a stadium or finding another location.

“I do think there will be a decision of some kind in the near future. What that means, I don’t know. You’ve certainly heard that from me before. I’m kind of running out of ways to say ‘I don’t know’, but I do think that, what we hear on the ground, is that something is coming soon and hopefully it’s in the affirmative for us.”


  1. By 2017 NASL is loosing Atlanta, Minneapolis ( Minneapolis might go in 2017 or 2018 in MLS) and NASL will end up with 9 or 10 teams.
    If you ask me, that’s not bad and if they keep expanding, NASL could have 15 to 17 teams by 2020 but it depends if NASL gets owners and good markets.
    At this moment NASL needs a west (pacific time zone) team and they might easily find one in Eugene, the Bay Area, San Diego or LA.
    At the same time NASL needs okc, Virginia to get their issues straighten and Atlanta might end up in the USL for.
    I just think this is the time NASL matures and makes moves to be a real D2, and expands to reach 18 teams by 2020 and cosmos won’t leave NASL until they know NASL is ready to fly by themselves.
    Practically cosmos own NASL, cosmos are NASLs daddy and they won’t separate until NASL is ready to run on it’s own.
    This is where NASL should expand= Austin tx, Boise, Eugene, San Diego, Oakland, Birmingham, Nashville, El Paso tx, Albuquerque, Vegas, reno, Omaha, Des Moines, Birmingham.
    At this moment NASL needs to commit as a D2 and when lobbying owners of new markets,just admit you are D2 and believe in pro/reg one day will come and best of all,divide into 2 conferences just like MLS and USL.
    NASL can easily have 20 teams but divide into west and east and commit to be a D2.

    • I forgot to mention If NASL commits to being a D2, then they might start getting interest from USL teams who are not MLS affiliates.
      Then NASL might get markets from USL, just like MLS gets NASL teams, simple as that but NASL needs to commit being a D2 first.
      20 teams should be good for NASL and maybe even 24 if they mature and admit MLS is better than them.
      Just have west and east conferences and play hard like a typical D2.

  2. Here’s my beef. So MLS is plucking any new NASL team with potential, the Cosmos don’t have any team who has the same ambition, and I really doubt their roster structure wouldn’t fit into the MLS salary cap, so let’s just cut the crap and join MLS, because as much as the Cosmos talk big game, NASL isn’t going to help get them there, and MLS isn’t going away. The writing is on the wall.

    • Only if Red Bull wants out and Cosmos wants in. I don’t think three-NY based MLS sides would be supported (at least not for the current generation). Also, Cosmos apparently do not want to share its brand with the league (at least based on the terms MLS establishes)

  3. Mr. Stover is great but the Cosmos have been waiting for so long and so silently on Belmont that … I don’t think the Cosmos are serious about this or any stadium in the New York metropolitan area. The proof is not in the pudding.

    I know the Cosmos is damned if they do (60-90 day proclamations are worse) and damned if they don’t but we’re over 730 days with nothing except for a statement about what they’re not interested in: becoming a member of MLS as we watch Atlanta (different team in same market) and Minnesota land teams there and Sacramento, San Antonio and Indy make steady progress toward that same end.

    What’s the end game Cosmos? All I hear is crickets…

  4. The Cosmos name has a glitzy and troubled history. However, it’s not worth blowing up the very business foundations of MLS to obtain. It’s ok to let the past be the past and for the Cosmos name to gradually fade away.

    This proposed stadium in suburban Long Island for 25,000 people just looks delusional.

  5. Nothing but hate and a few idiots (DS, QUIT WHINING, IGGY) who have 2 cents about a subject they’ve done absolutely no research on. The Cosmos have many fans, way more globally then any MLS team, sponsored by Emirates, local tv deals and an endless well of money. “A league thats 3rate”? What the hell are you talking about.? Doesn’t seem to be stopping Garber from plucking. BTW, the Sounders barely had an attendance of 3,500 for over 10 years in the lower leagues, not 5k. Also, NASL teams have routinely beat MLS teams in the US open cup. My memories not that well in my later years but i do recall the Cosmos spanking the Red Bulls 3-0 last year. Atlanta & Carolina also blasted a few teams (LA GALAXY), (Colorado) in the last 5 years and i believe the Rowdies nailed the Sounders to a wall just a few years ago, the first time getting knocked out early in they’re MLS days. And this list goes on. If you truly love soccer(football) in this country, you’ll support all soccer in this country, MLS, NASL, USL & PDL.
    We want this stadium built just like we want NYCFC to find a suitable home and get REDBULLS to rebrand, so that the Metros come back.

    QUIT WHINING… “I love that people love the NASL teams. I do too” √√√√. Yup, I’m sure you do.

    • I was at those Sounders games. One of the 3500. Nuf said. ( they drew a lot more for US Open Cup and some games )

      If the end game is go to MLS, I get it. Otherwise I STILL dont get it.

    • Also it wasn’t 10 years, that would only take you back to 1997. We won the title in 1996 and were around way before that in the “lower leagues” ( I still don’t consider those leagues to be lower than MLS )

  6. Great stadium, less than stellar league. I just don’t see how the team will ever be profitable playing in NASL. Mark my words, MLS and NASL will not both exist in ten years. We’re going see either a merger or the full collapse of NASL.

  7. Cosmos keep breaking my heart 🙁 why can’t they get over NASL and buy out red bull.
    Why why why why why just get over NASL and talk to garber.
    More than likely Miami will the 24th team and the race to 26,28,30 teams will be amazing hot.
    Probable expansion teams after 24=
    San Antonio but Austin might be their worst nightmare.
    Tampa bay
    Ny3 or cosmos come back.

    • How big is the Cosmos fanbase, I wonder. No doubt NYC is big enough for three pro teams, but I don’t know if the Cosmos, right now, warrant a move to MLS.

  8. thanks for the update, been a while since we heard anything on this front.

    amazing how much anger and frustration the nyrb and mls fans throw out there at any news of the Cosmos moving forward, or trying to move forward.. US and Canadian soccer need a solid D2 and something to keep the MLS-USL monopoly in check.

    This if it ever happens would be a huge step for the Cosmos and NASL. Also ya no doubt that its far from Manhattan; hopefully NYCFC takes that crowd. There are still 8 million people on LI; more than some MLS markets! soccer for everyone!

  9. Wow

    An NASL team knows how to do things right. The location is not ideal but this stadium concept is 10X better than any MLS stadium. You got all these cheap owners building $100 million stadiums and then you got a division 2 team wanting to build a $400 million stadium

    Its on step closer, Just add more seats, more of a roof, and closer to downtown

    • You forgot one important thing, no?

      Build it for a team that has fans. I don’t mean this as a rip on someone’s team, I love that people love the NASL teams. I do too.

      I mean this as a “what the heck are they doing?”

    • There’s no stadium “concept” – it’s just an artist rendering that they cooked up years ago. They have no real design, no location, no funding, and certainly no fan base that would come anywhere close to filling a 25,000 seat stadium. We can keep talking about Cosmos as a brand, but the generation that is forming the backbone of the current soccer fan base in this country has little to no recollection of their handful of successful seasons 30 years ago. I wish the team no ill will, but let’s call it what it is – a moderately talented team in a (basically regional) second division league with no tv contracts that hasn’t always been on solid ground itself. The idea that the Cosmos are going to win the US Open Cup (which, sadly, has no viewers or fans) and jump into worldwide consciousness is an absurd pipe dream.

      • You make good points and you had better believe Don Garber and MLS don’t fall for any of this BS. They are getting 70 to 100 million from every team, and they are all dying to get into MLS. NFL owners and all sorts of rich investors put real proposals to spend their money on this league.

        And some Cosmos corporate people think MLS will be persuaded somehow to alter themselves or bend over backwards for the Cosmos? All the work over the past 20 years MLS has done and anyone rational thinks the Cosmos brand is worth more? Sometimes people with money are just as out to lunch as the rest of us. This is one of those times.

  10. when i was a boy, i never saw the cosmos play. i only ever read about them or saw pictures. i think it’s awesome that they’re back. i hope they get their stadium and let the cosmos legend continue for a new generation of kids to see. two thumbs way up for the cosmos and everything that they’re doing.

    i guess some people must think that it’s pointless because they’re not in mls. personally, i couldn’t care less if they’re in mls or not. they’re still the cosmos. they are in a league of their own, imo. they transcend leagues. (think: harlem globetrotters)

    • That’s the mistake Cosmos ownership is making. They are only as interesting as the league they are in.

      I’m here in NYC and would love to have the Cosmos back in the top flight. But they overplayed their hand and now sit with little muscle behind their moves. Rather than having the name be another distant memory in a few years (which is the course they are on) they better do something big. The attention span of their current owner (and sponsor) is a function of months in my opinion. The deep pocket people move on quickly from busts to try and find the next boom.

      • With the attempted exodus of every NASL team to MLS, the Cosmos are going to be forced to play the Washington Generals every week in front of a sparse crowd, in their 400 million palace, in the suburbs.

    • I saw many of their games. They didn’t fit in what US Soccer at all. Huge hoopla and media attention. It was good not to fit in back then. Not be on the verge of bankruptcy, etc.

      Now it would be much better to fit in. They still don’t

      I don’t get the whole thing. They have no fans, outside of online MLS haters, and they are going to build a $400 million stadium that only seats 25k. Why ?

      What am I missing ? It has to be something big.

    • I hope some of the readers outside New York really read this man’s post and understand that a lot of the Cosmos’ appeal is just being a “Normal” team.

      No billboard for a product.
      No multi-team “football group” all wearing the same kit around the world.

      Just a team with no strings attached, like most of the other markets.

      I know a handful of guys too young to remember the old Cosmos who go to Hofstra just because they want a normal team, not because they hate MLS or love Ted Westerveldt

      Just a normal team in the biggest market in the country

    • “when i was a boy, i never saw the cosmos play.”

      Then everything you say is based on the over hyped legend that was the “Cosmos”. For a couple of years, they were Pele and some other old Europeans who partied like rock stars and beat up teams made up of journeymen.

      The only thing correct here is the (Think: Harlem Globetrotters) reference, because for a couple of years, the Cosmos were a show, like the globetrotters. For the rest of their existence, they were just another struggling NASL franchise trying to make it to next year. There is no legend, only hype.

    • I’m nnnnnot sure comparisons to a team with no league stuck in a nightmarish, half century long, groundhog’s day repetition of make believe/play-acted games is altogether complimentary or what Cosmos is going for. Then again…. I can’t say I have a clue what the end game is. If I ever see Savarese call for the ol’ confetti in the water bucket gag, I’ll beg for forgiveness/know you are on to something.

  11. Have a vision people, the Cosmos are playing a high stakes poker game. If everything falls their way – Stadium,Attendance,Quality players,Championships,Open Cup Championships – it will cheapen what MLS is in every single way, which will force a serious discussion in America. I know non of you even wanna go down that road, but it’s the truth. I am also realistic, it could go the other way entirely and blow up in their faces. Time will tell.

    • Discussion about what? MLS giving owners more of their own brand’s rights? MLS doesn’t need the Cosmos. Cosmos needs MLS.

      Only if Red Bull was dying to get out of their ownership of the NY team would Cosmos have any hand at all. Then they would likely be one of many vying for a team in a primary market.

      • Most likely his discussion follows the lines of killing MLS and it’s structure.

    • I think time told already. The Sounders played in a 70k stadium in the non-MLS league and won….they still only drew 5k ish, with no TV and no fan fare.

      They left for MLS, to make enormous money and huge fan fare.

      We will see.

    • Agree, this is clearly their goal. It’s probably a long shot at this point, but it’s what they have.

      *IF* the Cosmos can put together a team that’s actually on par with MLS teams, then it creates an uncomfortable situation for MLS. But what the Cosmos really need are a half dozen NASL teams doing that, and that’s not happening. Unless they find a handful of rich investors who are willing to come in and lose money on NASL teams for a while, nothing will change. If they pull that off, then it forces MLS to actually deal with NASL on semi-equal footing.

      In the mean time, MLS will do everything they can to pick off NASL teams and cities as soon as they look like they might amount to something. Half the reason Minnesota was announced as the next expansion team over Sacramento is because it hurts the NASL.

      • Maybe. Mostly they just need a rival. Any kind of rival…somebody else with the money and will to spend and spend what they want putting together players. Yeah, it’d turn Cosmos/Rivals into Celtic/Rangers (well, before Rangers went belly-up, anyhow), and Real Madrid/Barca, and most of their games would look like Harlem Globetrotters matches, but if you get two big dogs just spending insane amounts of money, fans will show. Right now Cosmos are an outlier.

        NASL doesn’t aspire to be any kind of balanced league, but does it really have to be? It just needs about 15+ teams and needs to show that if you come in with sufficient amounts of money, you get fan interest and put butts in seats. After that, you do your provin’ in the US Open and CONCACAF Champions League and Copa Libertadores…and I think that’s the long-term plan.

      • That’s fair enough. It’s hard to imagine who that rival would be though.

        The only thing I can think of that could work is if someone dropped a boatload of money into the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. I thought for about 5 minutes that might happen when Ronaldo got involved, but as soon as he talked about actually *playing* then it starts to just look like a vanity project.

        The lack of a viable MLS team in Miami means that area is still kind of fair game. But again, you’d need someone to just back up a truck full of money, which isn’t likely to happen.

  12. Sad to say — I am old enough to have been a big Cosmos fan back in the 70s — but the club now is merely a brand without any real substance, like an aging film star getting ready for its next close-up. I just don’t see how any amount of promotion is going to lift them from their current status as a decent team in the second division.

    • I agree. This situation is because the twp parties cannot come to agreement. The introduction of NYC FC pretty forecloses on Cosmos joining MLS. Second, building a stadium in Hempstead, Long Island will only hurt. At least Harrison is easy o get to on a quick path ride from NYC.

      • Don’t think for a second that if Cosmos somehow totally changed their ideals and decided to accept the MLS mantra of single entity, Don Garber wouldn’t jump frantically at the opportunity to have three NYC teams.

      • Yeah, I think dropping that kind of money around on a stadium and team – that is the only end game in all of this that makes any sense. Plus The Don will be all about it for two reasons – 1) it gets that 3rd big team in NY (which is totally doable) and 2) it’s another nuggie to a little bro that is acting too big for his britches (NASL).

  13. Sorry but building a stadium at Belmont Park and reigniting the Cosmos as a “global team” are diametrically opposed. Why on this earth would they spend hundreds of millions on a stadium out in suburbia?

    • to play in a league that is 3rd rate, and has no other teams close to this level of ambition. Others that are lower divisions and ambitious want to move out/up (Sacramento, San Antonio, Minnesota, etc.).

  14. The artist’s rendering makes the stadium look like a giant letter”P.” “P” for posers. Second division wannabe posers.


Leave a Comment