NYC F.C. finally admits they’ll be playing at Yankees’ stadium already

In news that should surprise absolutely no one, the New York Times is reporting that the MLS expansion team New York City F.C. will announce next week that it will play at the Yankees’ stadium for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons while working on getting a stadium of its own built. This was really the team’s only option: It’s not going to get its $350 million Bronx stadium plan approved and built by next March, there aren’t a whole lot of available soccer-ready stadiums sitting around in New York, and the Yankees are part owners of the team, so it’s the only port in the storm for now. There were (and are) concerns about the impact of soccer usage on the baseball field turf, but apparently those pale in comparison to having to have their soccer team play in the street.

The big question now is how long NYCFC will be stuck in this port. Melissa Mark-Viverito, the new city council speaker who represents the district where the team owners want to build their stadium (with city land and tax subsidies that could amount to more than $250 million), isn’t going anywhere for at least the next four years, and from all accounts she’s just as dead-set against this deal as ever. NYCFC already tried and failed to get a stadium built in Queens, and is rapidly running out of possible sites that are accessible to public transit; I predicted last summer that this could end up as a D.C. United situation, with the team in “temporary” digs for a lot longer than anybody anticipated, and that’s looking even more likely now. Though being stuck in the world’s most lavishly expensive baseball stadium isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world — if NYCFC fans don’t like the view of the pitch, they can always drown their sorrows in $60 steaks.

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11 comments on “NYC F.C. finally admits they’ll be playing at Yankees’ stadium already

  1. Was Wien Stadium ever an option? I’ve never been to NYC, let alone Columbia U, but at 17,000 permanent seats (and maybe more bleachers could be added in one end zone to bring it up over 20,000) it would seem to fit the profile of a smaller, fan-friendly venue that MLS prefers at a much lower cost to the team than renting Yankee Stadium will be as a temporary fix.

  2. Columbia’s football stadium is shaded artificial turf with permanently-stitched lines and is only 53.5 yards wide with a track around it. Not happening.

    Columbia’s soccer team plays in a different, smaller stadium that it shares with a premier American rugby side, Old Blue.

  3. Columbia’s football stadium is also in the absolute middle of nowhere, both in terms of subways and car traffic, or at least as middle of nowhere you can get and still be on Manhattan island.

    There really aren’t a lot of good options here. You could maybe expand Icahn Stadium, on Randall’s Island, but that’s only accessible by car (and maybe shuttle bus). Has anybody been to Coffey Field (Fordham) who could say whether it could be expanded for MLS?

  4. You could probably expand Coffey Field if you found another place for Fordham’s baseball team. The baseball diamond immediately abuts the sideline without stands.

  5. Maybe they can get 200mil in renovation money from the governor. Maybe they can call themselves the Bills till they get a billion. Yet the Mets control an entire city neighborhood.

  6. Baker Field/Wien Stadium/Kraft Field isn’t that far from the subway; it’s on the 1 line and some bus lines. So it’s not like it’s on long island and not accessible by mass transit.

    but with rail rated at around 20,000 people per hour, it’s not as well placed as Yankee Stadium, which has two different subway lines and a commuter rail line within walking distance or Citifield, which has and express and local subway stop and the LIRR as well.

    There are 17,000 seats there? I would not have thought that. The things you learn on this website!

  7. I was wondering about Randall’s Island as well… though perhaps the upgrade costs for a short (?) term option would be too high, and as you mentioned, the Original Cosmos (shouldn’t that be a twitter handle?) found it to have access issues once a significant number of fans started showing up.

    Lawrence Wein is pretty much a non-starter for the reasons stated above. Can’t fit anything like a regulation pitch in there, and no way will MLS accept it’s latest attempt at a flagship franchise playing on top of a vivid reminder of the other kind of football.

    Maybe they could build an elevated soccer stadium on top of the parking garages that nobody pays to park in… yes, I’m joking… sort of…

    I’ll re-up on the floating stadium idea one more time… there are plenty of places it could be ‘docked’ off Manhattan obviously. What would the access options be for paying fans? (I mean access to the docking areas, not water taxis to a stadium moored 200yds offshore, obviously).

    Given that it is Manhattan and you can charge anything you like so long as people think it’s cool to go there, perhaps it wouldn’t have to seat 22-25k either… Revenues might be just as high with a 14-18k all club seat facility.

    Neil: What’s your best guess for a long term solution here? Will the Yankees try to get the parking garages demolished, then take that land (and possibly some adjacent public land and money etc) to build a SSS right across the road from the House that Ruth Didn’t Build?

  8. That’s clearly what they’re going to try to do, but MMV is going to be a very tough obstacle. I don’t have a clue what a Plan B would be, so I’d bet on them playing at the baseball stadium for a lot longer than three years.

  9. Hey, maybe they could build a soccer stadium at Hudson Yards! City taxpayers built a $2 billion subway line to there before the Jets stadium was killed, there might as well be something at the other end:

  10. So then would the Yankees have to be compensated for the increased entertainment dollar competition they face because they put their (partially owned) soccer team just across the road also? Surely the city of NY couldn’t allow the Steinbrenners and partners to suffer because of such an unforeseeable development.

    Not a bad idea re: Hudson Yards… at least comparatively speaking. The transit link is mostly a sunk cost already by the sound of it (although I would agree the station development won’t be anything like an inconsequential cost… but it is small compared to the line extension price)

    When I read the link I thought “Second Avenue ‘s a Gas!”… which maybe it is, I’m not sure… but I imagine the language speaks more to the generation I came from than the desirability of the location itself.

  11. To me, Don Garber should get as much blame as anyone for this fiasco. Obviously it’s difficult to turn down $100 million for your league but all of the problems that NYCFC has run into since MLS handed them the keys are so predictable for New York. They were supposed to have agreed on a practice facility in February or March, and now it’s Mid-April and still nada.

    On the plus side, maybe we’ll get to hear Mike Francesa talk about soccer! Ha

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