According to a report in the New York Times, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) will play their first three MLS seasons at Yankee Stadium, the home field of their co-owners the New York Yankees.
NYCFC begins play in MLS next season and the prospect of them playing three years in a baseball stadium certainly takes the gloss of what was supposed to be one of the premier franchises in MLS.
Lets face it. Watching a soccer game in a baseball stadium is a horrible experience. The sight lines are all wrong, and the fans are too far away from the action. Add in the prospect of having the baseball infield running across part of the pitch, and a half empty stadium every week, and all the ingredients are there for a PR disaster in New York.
Yankee Stadium came about because the club’s plans to build in Queens within Corona park were halted by community opposition, and though the club reportedly submitted plans to build a venue nearby Yankee Stadium, there has not been any update since.
Up until now I had been really impressed with how Man City’s owners had approached setting up and building NYCFC. The hiring of former US star Claudio Reyna as Sporting Director and former RSL coach Jason Kreis should that they understood the American nuances to Major League Soccer. They have built fan interest with the name and badge, over 100,000 votes for the clubs new badge. But three years in the wilderness at Yankee Stadium is going to be a tough obstacle for the teams owners to overcome as they try and battle NYRB for supremacy in New York.