SBD/July 16, 2012/Franchises

New York Cosmos Chair Seamus O'Brien's NASL Move Impresses MLS Officials

Cosmos have had a dialogue with MLS and will keep the communication going
After the New York Cosmos last week announced the team will join the NASL in '13, MLS officials "have good things to say about" team Chair Seamus O'Brien, according to Grant Wahl of SI.com. O'Brien is a "respected 27-year veteran of the European and Asian sports industry," which is "in stark contrast to previous Cosmos chairman Paul Kemsley, a bombastic (and bankrupt) Brit who made a lot of unfulfilled promises, besmirched the Cosmos name and, oh yes, essentially set $10 million on fire." O'Brien and the Saudi Arabia-based Sela Sport took control of the Cosmos last year. O'Brien is "quick to distance himself from Kemsley." He said, "We won't say anything we're not going to deliver on, so you're not going to get hyperbole and big, grandiose lunatic statements that might have been the mantra of the past. You're going to get facts and reality." MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "I have spent quite a bit of time with Seamus and his partners, and I think they're terrific. (Joining the NASL) shows they're serious about being real, that it's more than a merchandising play. It's about being a club and having a team with players on the ground and trying to develop a fan base." Wahl wrote MLS has "been clear that it wants the league's 20th team to be a second New York City-area outfit, but the process is an unusual one." MLS owners "want to build a new soccer stadium first -- reportedly in the Flushing Meadows area -- and then hold an auction between ownership groups vying to join the league." The idea is "to draw an expansion fee of up to" $100M, but it could be "at least three years before a stadium is ready." O'Brien "certainly sounds interested in being that second New York-area MLS team." He said, "We've had a dialog with MLS. I'm absolutely sure we'll keep that dialog open" (SI.com, 7/13).
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