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MLS declined to confirm a report in today's N.Y. Post that said the league was close to finalizing a deal with New York state and city officials on a soccer stadium in Queens. MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche released a statement in response to the report: “Major League Soccer remains committed to securing a 20th team for the League that would be located in New York City. We are thrilled about the prospect of being in Queens and bringing the world's sport to the world's park. We are in exploratory discussions with the City and with Queens officials and look forward to working with the community to build a world-class soccer facility for all to enjoy.” According to the story in the N.Y. Post, the new stadium would be located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, adjacent to the Mets’ Citi Field and the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open. Construction on the proposed $300M, 25,000-seat stadium would begin in in early '13. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has made it a priority to add a second N.Y. franchise to join the Red Bulls, who play in Harrison, N.J. “Having a second team in New York has been at the top of the league’s agenda since 1996,” said Garber. “We’re still working with city officials and community leaders to make sure it becomes a reality. I’m hopeful” (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal). In N.Y., Frederic Dicker cites sources saying that "talks on the project have advanced considerably and are close to being wrapped up." The stadium's cost "would be fully funded by the MLS ownership group." A source said that group "had considered constructing a stadium at Pier 40 on the West Side of Manhattan but decided the area of Flushing Meadows sports complex made more sense." Dicker notes "legislation permitting the parkland swap is required." A state official "who has met with representatives of the MLS ownership group said the legislation could be taken up in late November." Two meetings "on the proposal were held within the last few weeks with aides" to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y. POST, 8/13).
The Nets today announced that Honda has signed on to become the 10th Founding Partner for Barclays Center, marking the first major sponsorship of a sports venue on the East Coast for the auto manufacturer. Honda will gain entitlement of one of the premium clubs in the arena and will be the presenting sponsor of a college basketball tripleheader headlined by Michigan-West Virginia on Dec. 15. The car company also will have signage throughout the arena during Nets game and will have a presence on radio broadcasts. Terms of the deal were unavailable. American Honda Motor Co. VP/Marketing Operations Michael Accavitti in a statement said, “New York is undeniably an important region for Honda, and the alliance with Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets is a great fit within our marketing efforts in the Northeast” (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Reuven Blau reports Barclays Center will include an “intimate theater space” that will debut with a John Legend concert on Oct. 29. The Cushman & Wakefield Theater can seat 4,000-6,000 people and is “created with a specially designed curtain system.” It will be used for “smaller events, including local music festivals, boxing matches and children theater acts” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/13).