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SBD Global/May 1, 2013/Franchises
Man City Owner Sheikh Mansour's Expansion Into MLS Could Help The EPL Side
Published May 1, 2013
N.Y. STATE OF MIND: In London, Ian Herbert reported the MLS franchise "would give the owners a huge commercial opportunity to begin aggressively pushing" the Man City brand in N.Y., where it has "a strong community presence." The notion of a presence for the club in N.Y. "was first floated" by former Man City CEO Garry Cook three years ago. With ManU "continuing to wield huge financial power" and now listed on the N.Y. Stock Exchange, Man City CEO Ferran Soriano declared in the club's annual report in December that "new, creative ideas and business models" would be required to undertake a "historic transformation" of the club. A N.Y. franchise "would also create the chance to develop young players" for Man City and "to establish the deposed champions as New York's Premier League team." The idea of having an MLS team owned by one of the most important football clubs in Europe, which "are themselves seeking to dominate the continental game," is seen as "a huge boost to attempts to broaden the footprint of the sport" in the U.S. (INDEPENDENT, 4/30). With a stadium yet to be built for the new team that would join MLS in '16, the $100M cost of securing the licence could result in an overall investment of $500M "due to costs associated with constructing a stadium" (TELEGRAPH, 4/30).
HOME HUNTING: In N.Y., Filip Bondy reported N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg “may be a lame duck, but he’s still the city’s leading hawk when it comes to stadium and arena construction” as MLS looks to build a stadium in Queens for a new franchise. MLS officials “believe the political deal must be completed” for the stadium while Bloomberg is “still in office.” Negotiations are ongoing between Mansour and MLB N.Y. Mets owners “for use of that team’s parking lot.” Mansour’s offer “could come to naught, however, if MLS doesn’t gain approval quickly from the City Council and state legislators.” There is “substantial opposition from Flushing area residents who fear the parkland and neighborhoods will be adversely affected,” as well as “resistance from the borough’s gay community, which wants no part” of Mansour, who hails from the UAE, where homosexuality is criminalized (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/30). In London, Ian Ladyman reported with Man City "acutely aware of UEFA's new Financial Fair Play rules, they need to explore every revenue stream." The club is "investigating ways of partnering" with clubs in Mexico, China and elsewhere in Asia, "as a way of developing" the Man City brand (DAILY MAIL, 4/30).