Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MLS NY2: Announcement in May?

A weird sequence of events is unfolding in New York City as Major League Soccer presses forward with their top priority of awarding an expansion franchise in Queens. Now these things could just be random or they could actually indicate that we are much closer to finding out the new owners maybe as early as May.

Let's go back a bit and pick-up with the most recent documented updates on the NY2 effort.

Last August several reports were published that MLS was in negotiations with four different groups that were capable of paying both the $100M franchise fee and the expected $300M stadium cost as well. No big deal, that makes sense considering the league wants the team to start play in 2016 so they need to make an announcement soon.

In December several sources reported that the owners of Manchester City Football Club (MCFC)  had bid $100M and were close to being awarded the Queens MLS franchise. The club of course denied that to be the case but it's no secret MCFC has interest in expanding their brand globally. For those not familiar with MCFC, the club's owner is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan from the United Arab Emirates and has dumped close to $1B into the team to bring them their recent Premier League title.

Fast forward to last week and add a dash of craziness and oddity. An article from the Daily Star out of England, which is somewhere between TMZ and the Daily Show for us in America, is reporting a pair of friendlies in America for MCFC immediately following the completion of the season in May. While MCFC most recently toured the United States in 2011, most premier league teams save their tours for the pre-season in late July and early August. The article states that the team is looking to play a friendly in New York City and one other city.

Then on Monday of this week Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects gave a presentation to graduate students at the Columbia School of Architecture. SHoP just happens to be the firm who was hired to design the new MLS stadium in Queens. Can you guess what case study he used for his presentation? Yep, the new Queens stadium. Here are the renderings if you want a peek.

These are rumors, yes I understand that, but sometimes things have a way of being revealed at different levels by different people and the rest just falls into place. If these rumors are true, why would MCFC come over in May forcing their players to endure another two weeks of training and travel before they could head home for a well deserved summer vacation? While some would argue that their planned tour to Asia in July/August would prevent travel to the US at a later date, maybe it is for another reason. Could the MCFC tour actually be a public relations stunt following the awarding of NY2 in May? MLS officials have said they hope to announce the new franchise in the next six months so we shall see.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber is doing his "March to Soccer" pre-season address as a Google Hangout event Wednesday evening at 6pm. If he says an owner for MLS NY2 will be announced in May you can start building shrines in my honor immediately. If not, well, go about your business as usual. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of SHoP Architects

2 comments :

  1. I don't see why there isn't room for the queens team and the cosmos. Plus atl, Mia, Orlando. That would make for a nice 24 team league

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    1. There is room for these teams, but it's a matter of if the market in each city would support a first division club. You can't bring a MLS franchise to Atlanta and they still only get the attendance and support of the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks. The issue with Queens club is that it is very hard to get land in New York City, especially in the Flushing Meadows area.

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