RYAN BACIC - Tuesday, May 21, 2013
It was a move that had been talked about seemingly since the league's inception, but now it's finally set to become a reality: New York City FC will enter Major League Soccer in 2015.
In a press release from MLS Tuesday morning, Commissioner Don Garber revealed that NYCFC - as it's being called - will be owned by a partnership between English giants Manchester City and Major League Baseball's 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees.
"New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in the release. "Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City's other professional sports teams."
Manchester City's interest in owning MLS' 20th franchise was no secret, as The New York Times had reported just over two weeks ago that owner Sheik Mansour was indeed pursuing that goal, with the ultimate destination being the country's largest metropolitan area. The Yankees' stake in the ownership group, though, was the true surprise when the details were made public this morning.
Still, with the Blues slated to take on Chelsea in a friendly at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, it's not as if NYCFC represents the first business interaction between the two sides.
"We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer," said Ferran Soriano, Manchester City's CEO. "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."
The question of the team's home grounds for its inaugural season, however, remains up in the air. The New York Red Bulls, who will face even stiffer competition for fans with the arrival of their neighbor club, play their games in Harrison, N.J., but the thought process behind New York City FC's name is enough to make clear that its stadium will reside within one of Gotham's five boroughs. Queens has been the primary target, although the Yankees' crosstown rival Mets reportedly have been unhappy with such a proposal.
The New York Cosmos, who will begin play in the North American Soccer League in 2013, had been thrown around as a potential option for NY2, but any potential negotiations in that regard clearly came to naught. MLS will be getting an entirely new entity in 2015, then, but if NYCFC's star-studded and deep-pocketed ownership is any indication, the league appears to be getting no less worthy an heir to Pele and Co.'s legacy.