Major League Soccer today announced that their 20th franchise will be called New York City FC and will be co-owned by Manchester City and baseball’s New York Yankees. The team is expected to begin play in 2015.
“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” MLS President Don Garber said in a statement released by the league. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”
“New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base,” said Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City. “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”
Man City and their owner Sheikh Mansour will be the majority partners in the team and they are expected to pay a $100 million franchise fee for New York City FC. The team will play in a new stadium in Queens that is expected to cot Mansour and the Yankees around $340 million.
I cannot see how that stadium will be complete by the 2015, so the team will have to find a place to play for at least one season.
It will be interesting to see how Mansour and the Yankees approach New York City FC. Both clubs have spent heavy on players in the past and I would expect NYC FC to use its full allocation of three Designated Players.
Manchester City have also invested millions into their academy program in the last two years, and I would expect NYC FC to do the same. The academy programs are slowly coming along here in the U.S., but they are still a long way behind those of the top clubs in Europe.
NYC FC could provide Mansour with access to the best young talent in the U.S.. The question will be, when the NYC FC academy develops its first really good young American player. Does NYC FC promote him through their system into the MLS side, or will they be moved to England and Manchester City?