MLB raising stink over using Yankees’ stadium for soccer

So far most of the controversy over the future home of New York City F.C. has been over whether to build a new soccer stadium in the Bronx with the help of city subsidies, but now there may be problems with using the Yankees‘ baseball stadium as a temporary home as well:

Various sources tell [Empire of Soccer] that Yankee Stadium is still the front runner to host NYCFC in 2015. However, concerns from Major League Baseball have become a constant road block in those discussions. MLB fears that the playing surface would be damaged from constant usage, leading to player injuries and disruption in play as was experienced in the 70′s when the Cosmos called Yankee Stadium home.

That’s interesting and a little strange, considering that MLB doesn’t usually intervene in these kinds of stadium-usage matters, and that you’d have thought Yankees execs would have checked with the league regardless before committing themselves to bringing an MLS team to town next year. It doesn’t seem like these objections give anybody leverage over anything, though (it’s not like a new stadium could be built by next year even if no other facility is available), so maybe this is just MLB angling for temporary turf to be laid over the outfield grass during soccer matches, or something? Yankees non-baseball events director Mark Holtzman promised that “everyone will be pleased when they see the end result,” which seems unlikely, but I guess we’ll see.

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12 comments on “MLB raising stink over using Yankees’ stadium for soccer

  1. Maybe this could be an opportunity for the Yankees to use the city of Albuquerque as a subsidy extraction lever… because, you know, if New Yorkers aren’t careful all their teams will abandon the most populous Metro area in the USA for cities of 550,000….

  2. I can see why MLB would be annoyed. They don’t want any hint of soccer lines on the field of the New York Yankees, the marquee franchise of the sport. I’m sure they see it as an encroachment on their brand.

  3. DC United hosted the Nationals at RFK for a few years without issues (for baseball at least, for soccer the infield dirt kind of messed things up). My guess there is some sort of negotiation ploy going on here but hell if I know what it is and what the end game is.

  4. The era of the multi purpose stadium is over. Teams can make so much more money by having effective ownership and control over a facility. If they have the share with another team, they can’t get away with many of their financial hijinks. Heck, they might even have to share some of the revenue from non-sports events. No team wants to give up their rights to make a profit off the Miley Cyrus concert. As long as teams continue to have their own private entrance in the public treasuries, none of them are going to want to make sharing look like a viable option. If we were to cut off all subsidies and require teams to pay their own way, you’d probably find multi purpose stadiums come back into fashion quickly as they’d need to share the expenses. But when the public is responsible for all the risk and the team owners get all the reward, it’s in the professional leagues best interests to demand the construction of as many single purpose facilities as possible… even if somehow having concerts and other non-sporting events magically fits in with the single purpose facility.

  5. All you need to do is google USA soccer history and there many examples of baseball and football owners attempts and success at helping to block the sports progress. In 2002 the NFL planned on starting a soccer league in order to put the current league out of business. In the 30’a baseball owners killed their soccer league even though some teams were outgrowing their baseball teams. All of those teams shared baseball parks which were multi purpose.

  6. Jason: Since the Yankees are part owners of the proposed MLS club, I doubt their objection would be over anything financial.

    That apart, I agree with what you said… stadia would be much more modest (and just as effective) absent public subsidy. You’d get the good modern sightlines and spacious concourses… what you wouldn’t get is all the marble and gold… the things that earn the club enough money to pay for them would still be built – which is as it should be.

    My standards would be a lot higher if someone else was footing the bill too.

  7. NFL owners thought about starting a rival league after their players union failed in court to shut down the league business structure. At the time the league was in trouble and owners decided to let it die on it’s own. there are many examples of how soccer has been sabotaged by haters. Go to soccer America, soccer by ives to find examples


    The rule changes makes is sound like they really didn’t understand soccer. That sounds just awful.

  9. These owners don’t even understand NFL style football. Todays game is different from the 80’a version. When no one else plays you can change rules every year. And they do

  10. Even if true, most of those soccer teams played in private stadiums owned by the baseball team owners, not publicly owned stadiums.

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