MLS commissioner: We won’t wait forever on Queens soccer stadium, because forever is a long time

MLS commissioner Don Garber has “set a time limit” on how long New York City has to approve a $300 million soccer stadium in a public park in Queens, or else he’ll take his expansion franchise and go elsewhere, according to the New York Daily News. And what is that time limit exactly?

“If we’re not successful we’ll throw our hands up, and it’ll be far sooner than three years we throw our hands up,” Garber said, after his opening season address.

“Then we’d take a step back and see if there’s another market. Three years is too long. I don’t want to put a year limit on it. But if it’s not making progress, the time will come. There’s a lot of activity in other markets.”

Okay, so not actually a time limit in the sense of having a set time, or a set limit. But he’s not going to wait forever! Because that’s not technically possible.

Meanwhile, the New York Cosmos not-actually-yet-even-a-minor-league-franchise, not to be upstaged by Monday’s leaked Queens MLS stadium renderings that really aren’t, released a whole friggin’ YouTube video of their own plans for a freaky-looking stadium at Belmont Park, complete with a remarkably large number of computer animated people cheering on a second-tier soccer club, plus old footage of Pele. Though if they really wanted attention, they should have gone with an even bolder choice of video producer.

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8 comments on “MLS commissioner: We won’t wait forever on Queens soccer stadium, because forever is a long time

  1. Your right Garber wont retire until he gets a stadium up and running in NYC. However a NY team wont be the 20th team at this pace, there’s too much interest in other cities where things get done without the illusion of community input.

  2. When a sports league business wants a franchise in NYC, there are no other markets to consider. They are nervously gnawing at the bit because of the public scrutiny. There’s no good reason to jump immedietly to the MLS’s demands without careful though and investigation.
    Guess that they assume the “…vote for the bill/law, then you’ll know what’s in it…” worked in congres, it’ll work for them.
    Make ’em wait and sweat.

  3. My favorite part of the video presentation is where it shows the concourse of the stadium full of people at the same time as all the seats inside the stadium are full. Awesome!

  4. Yes, Matt, THAT is demand….

    Steven: Just wondering where all those cities who have so much demand might be?

    People have talked about Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, Detroit, even San Diego and San Antonio (where a well funded owner is building a model NASL franchise right now) for years, but nothing even remotely concrete has ever materialized.

    There are significant problems with all the markets mentioned above (and a ton of others that are even lower on the pecking order), as well as issues in NY.

    The fact is, MLS wants to be “in” NY. Quite frankly, if they had to pay for their own stadium to get there, I think it would be a better option business wise than having one built for them in Atlanta, Miami, Stl etc.

  5. Is there really that much money in having an MLS team within NYC limits, though? Or does MLS see it as a loss leader to build the league’s profile?

    I’m a big believer that supersized markets are a completely different kettle of fish than other cities, especially after seeing the revenue projections for the Barclays Center. But even so, spending $300 million for a stadium in a league that’s even less popular than the NHL seems like an awfully big gamble.

  6. As noted elsewhere on this site, Neil, I think that the MLS team would not be significantly more profitable than any other (perhaps less than some, at least for the first decade). So I agree with you, the MLS team isn’t the gold mine here.

    Owning a 25-30,000 seat multipurpose facility in NY (particularly if they can build it in Manhattan, which at present it seems they do not…) however, is a much more attractive financial proposition.

  7. Because a 30,000-seat outdoor concert venue is preferable to the umpteen 20,000-seat indoor arenas in the NYC area … why?

    I guess they can host international friendlies there, which would bring in some money. But it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  8. I think that the “loss leader” bit is on the money, Neil. For MLS, the next step in their development is the TV money. And there’s none of that, in MLS’s mind, without a successful franchise in New York. And it’s become clear (to MLS) that the Red Bulls, for various reasons, not the least of which is the team’s location in New Jersey, cannot have the same impact as a team in the boroughs. It doesn’t really matter if the team/league loses money if it leads to more eyeballs on the screens and a better TV deal.

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