“NY Cosmos” float “$400m” Belmont “stadium”

What the—

The New York Cosmos, one of the country’s most recognized soccer franchises, has proposed construction of a $400-million privately funded stadium at Belmont Park in Elmont, according to an area state senator.

The plan, submitted Friday in response to a State Economic Development request for proposal, also includes a hotel, restaurants, retail stores and a public park, according to Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola).

That’s all very exciting, except for the fact that 1) this Cosmos is not the old Cosmos, but rather a minor-league franchise that bought the name and which still hasn’t managed to actually field a team after more than two years of trying; 2) it’s pretty unlikely MLS would approve a franchise for Nassau County when it’s already working on a new team for neighboring Queens, and it’s even more unlikely that the Cosmos could afford to build a stadium while playing in the NASL, as SI soccer writer Grant Wahl seems to think is possible; 3) $400 million?!?

What looks to be going on here is that Sen. Martins is heading up a campaign to find some additional development that can be built on a pair of excess parking lots at the race track, so that the state (which owns the track) can make some extra money off it. So the guys who run the Cosmos figured, sure, let’s throw our hat in the ring — at worst, we get our name in the paper, and at best, maybe somebody decides to throw some state money at us for this. First mission accomplished, anyway.

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6 comments on ““NY Cosmos” float “$400m” Belmont “stadium”

  1. Pretty sure the Cosmos want to be the second MLS franchise in the NYC area. But I would imagine they’d also prefer the rumored/explored Queens location. I’m not sure if threatening to take their name and non-existent team out to Nassau and build a non-publicly financed stadium is really a good negotiating ploy to get more money and concessions from the city, state or MLS, but I’m not a billionaire, so I have no experience in extorting the public.

  2. …. Gots to focus on de big picture here, Neil… which is…. errr, Hey! It’s the Cosmos!!!

    Except it’s not really THE Cosmos. And they aren’t really here yet, as you said. While I think having the club “back” would be great, a few uncomfortable facts remain in the way:

    1) As part of either the NASL or MLS, the “Cosmos” can never really be like their namesakes, given the financial restrictions placed on the teams (particularly in MLS). So would fans flock to watch them as they did (sort of) the old team (for 3-5 years of their, what, 15 year run?) when they can’t field a team of the world’s best because of these rules? I doubt it. In fact, the sell outs of Giants stadium were the exception and not the rule even during the club’s heyday. When Pele first came to NY, they were playing games at Hofstra and at Randall’s Island, as I recall. That changed because of Steve Ross’ money (or more accurately Warner Bros shareholders money entrusted to Ross and the board), not because New Yorkers suddenly fell in love with soccer.

    2) Elmont??? Seriously? Ok, I get why they think they could get a free stadium there. But how far ahead are they with a stadium at Elmont? If you want to be “like” the old Cosmos, you’d be better off rebuilding a stadium on Randall’s Island than you are in Elmont, IMO.

    Either they are NY’s team or they are a suburban team “almost in Queens”.

    I know it’s an uphill battle against some very well funded parties, but I believe the one area it makes sense to overpay to build a facility (be it a soccer, baseball or smallish football stadium) is in Manhattan. Granted it won’t be easy or anything like cheap. But the opportunity is there, particularly with something on the smallish side, like a 20-30k stadium (for soccer).

    And I’m not just saying that because anything that drives the Dolan family collective BP into the stratosphere is fun for me…

  3. The only available sites in Manhattan are going to be underwater in a couple of decades.

    Not that that makes Elmont much better. I’ve lived in New York City pretty much my whole life, and I still have no clue how to get there.

  4. Michael, the “Cosmos” group has already reportedly been cut from contention for the 20th MLS team that they want to put in Queens. Which is why this stadium for a second division side that has no hope of ever joining Division 1 makes no sense and will never happen. Even when you discount the location’s obvious access problems for the average public transit bound New Yorker.

  5. Dan: Can you source that. I believe there are 3-4 ownership groups that are in the running to be the owners of a 2nd NY MLS franchise, but I haven’t seen anywhere that the Cosmos group has “reportedly been cut.”

  6. It’s amazing how many people convert their wishing for the Cosmos to become MLS#20 into the current rendition of the Cosmos as being MLS#20. Garber has made it known that NYCosmos are NOT the only ownership entity in the running, nor are they even the leading entity in the running. This was evident when Cosmos joined NASL last fall. And it should be even more evident now that two separate and wholly different stadia have been proposed; one by MLS and its yet-to-be-determined ownership group, the other by the Cosmos.

    Unless this is all some big conspiracy theory and ploy by Garber & Co to pull a bait and switch move to get what MLS really wants, then the writing is (and has been for some time) on the wall: NYC will have three separate professional soccer teams — NY Red Bulls in Harrison; NY Cosmos on LI; and MLS#20 in Queens at Corona Park. There is a potential for a fourth NYC team if the USL is successful in getting back in that market.

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