In an announcement that came a day early, the landscape of Major League Soccer and soccer in North America changed with a single tweet. Less than a month earlier on April 24th, Commissioner Don Garber advised that the announcement of Major League Soccer’s twentieth franchise would come within four to six weeks. He delivered a day early on that promise in what is sure to be a landmark moment for the league.
- Manchester City Football Club (majority owner) and the New York Yankees are the owners of New York City Football Club
- Expansion fee for the twentieth MLS franchise is $100 million; Montreal Impact paid a $40 million franchise fee in 2010
- Future stadium and home of NYCFC is expected to cost $340 million; interim stadium and facilities have yet to be announced
- NYCFC will join Major League Soccer during the 2015 regular season
The partnership between Manchester City Football Club (Barclays Premier League) and the New York Yankees (Major League Baseball) sets the bar higher than any previous franchise and league expansion. The deal connects Major League Soccer with many of Manchester City and the Yankees’ existing partners and network, especially the Yankees’ own YES Network for televising matches.
The announcement had less to do with the New York City market than it did for all markets across the United States and Canada. Under the league’s revenue sharing model, the clubs share income and expenses in order to offset challenges faced by smaller and/or under-performing markets in an attempt to stabilize all clubs. The model prevents a club such as New York City FC from cannibalizing others in Major League Soccer and being detrimental to the league’s growth.
That said, keep in mind that not all Major League Soccer markets are created equal. Notably, few clubs paid the same franchise fee upon joining MLS and more importantly, each club has experienced different levels of growth and support. After all, it is that support from fans and the market that determines the club’s success. Stadiums, training facilities and market presence cannot exist alone. For example, consider Chivas USA and New England in comparison to Seattle, Portland and Kansas City. It is the markets that do not seem to hold their own weight under the league’s current landscape that present a difficult scenario with the introduction from this twentieth franchise. The investment and marketing that will follow NYCFC leading up to the club’s inaugural season will overshadow under-performing markets.
Regardless, the partnership between the Manchester City FC and the Yankees is perfect for Major League Soccer. It is the answer to the New York Cosmos that the league desperately needed. The hype, history, and investors backing the Cosmos initially made the club the obvious choice with the starts of rumors hinting towards “NY2”. Anything less would have been a disappointment supporters of North American soccer. Despite the obvious risk and substantial investment required in a market such as New York City, it was the necessary next step to reaffirm Major League Soccer’s place among the ‘major’ sports in North America.
Supporters in the ‘candidate markets’ may disagree as passionate campaigns over the past two years or more, particularly in Miami and Orlando, would have had you believe that Major League Soccer’s twentieth franchise was coming to the southeastern United States.
Within moments yesterday, the NYCFC’s Facebook page, Twitter profile and website were launched to the surprise of readers, supporters, and journalists. “New York City FC” was quickly trending worldwide on Twitter. The dust settled within a few hours in the world of social media as “Xbox One” and “#askthebooth” among other hashtags retained their place on the Trends list. Maintaining the hype and excitement around what is now the new ‘crown jewel‘ of Major League Soccer will be the challenge through early 2015.
More to to come including reactions the USL and NASL on this announcement from Major League Soccer.
VIDEO: Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer, discusses New York City Football Club
VIDEO: Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City Football Club, discusses New York City Football Club