SBD/January 4, 2013/Facilities

Mets Interested In Bringing MLS To Citi Field; MLS Official Calls Proposal A "Nonstarter"

A Mets official confirmed the team is exploring MLS games at Citi Field
N.Y. Council member Peter Vallone Jr. on Thursday said the Mets are "very interested and fully capable" of bringing MLS to Citi Field, according to Clare Trapasso of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The move would "boost the baseball team’s coffers and eliminate potential competition from a $300 million MLS soccer stadium proposed for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park." Vallone said that this would "be a win-win for soccer fans and open space advocates opposed to another stadium going up in the park." Mets VP/Media Relations Jay Horwitz "confirmed the idea is on the table," but MLS spokesperson Risa Heller "dismissed the proposal." The league is "in talks with the city to build a 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in Flushing Meadows." Heller in a statement said, "An MLS team at Citi Field is a nonstarter for us. A soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a win for soccer fans, a win for the Queens community and a win for economic development" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/4). A NEWSDAY editorial states a 25,000-seat stadium at Flushing Meadows is "a compelling idea." It is "hard to imagine a more soccer-friendly venue anywhere in the country than next to the packed immigrant neighborhoods of northern Queens." If done right, a new stadium and team "could be a tremendous plus for local soccer fans and those throughout the region." But as "good as the stadium plan sounds, it needs an especially thorough vetting." Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is "the public's property -- the iconic great lawn of Queens -- and the public needs assurances it will benefit in a major way" from an MLS stadium. Perhaps a "flourishing new soccer team could invigorate Queens the way the Nets have energized Brooklyn." But residents first need "to see the fine print" (NEWSDAY, 1/4).
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