It looks like the New York Cosmos will be playing in the Flushing Meadows area of Queens as Major League Soccer is close to securing permission for a $300 million, 25,000-seat, state-of-the-art soccer-stadium there according to a report by the New York Post.
The stadium, which would completely financed by the league, is awaiting approval from city and state officials but so far both have been very supportive. If the legislation goes through, it is expected that construction could start in 2013.
“I definitely think this could happen in 2013 and it will generate construction jobs, permanent jobs and sales-tax revenues for the city and the state,’’ a state official told the Post.
“This would be a big boon to the state and the city, and, of course, it would be very exciting for the different ethnic groups in the city that love the sport of soccer. It would provide a great recreational opportunity.”
MLS has made no secret of its desire to have its 20th franchise be a second team in New York and Commissioner Don Garber has spoken before about why having a second team in the city would be important for the league.
“We’re very focused on it,” Garber told Goal.com. “We believe that having a second team here will allow the Red Bulls to really capitalize on some of the success that they’ve had in this market.”
He added, “Having a rival here that we think will allow our league and our sport to capture the interest of soccer in this massive market. There’s 13 million people here. There’s no shortage of interest and a second team would really capitalize on that.”
If the league can get permission to start developing the stadium in 2013, then you would expect the league’s 20th team to start playing in 2014.
The obvious choice for the new franchise is the most storied club in American soccer, the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos soccer club was founded in 1971 by Warner Brothers President Steve Ross and Atlantic Records’ co-founders Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun. In the late 70’s and into the 80’s, the New York Cosmos was the glamour team of world football. A team of footballing legends like Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer they made it cool to go to a soccer game in America.
So from a PR perspective, putting the Cosmos in a new stadium in Queens would be terrific. My concern is the lack of a fan base that the Cosmos have. The reason that the Sounders, Timbers, Whitecaps and Impact have been so successful is that they already had a strong following before joining MLS. The Cosmos don’t have that and that really worries me.