Proposed NASL Cosmos Stadium On Long Island Faces Myriad Issues
The NASL N.Y. Cosmos' plan to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium at Belmont Park on Long Island "faces potential obstacles, including a competing arena being considered in Queens and the prospect of playing in a start-up league,” according to industry consultants and sports stadium experts cited by Robert Brodsky of NEWSDAY. Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist said, "There is no way on Earth that if the Cosmos play in a second-division league that this type of investment makes sense. This division would not provide enough revenue to support it." N.Y.-based soccer consultancy LFC Int'l Founder Jeff L'Hote said, "I don't know how realistic their plan is. They need to play in the top division to maximize their success." But Cosmos COO Eric Stover said that he is “confident the quality of play” in the NASL will “improve enough over the next few years for it to be competitive” with MLS. Brodsky noted a Cosmos stadium “could face direct competition from a new MLS franchise 10 miles away.” Cosmos officials said that they are “committed to playing in” the NASL, while MLS officials “insist they want to bring a team to Queens, not Long Island.” Stover said that the Cosmos will “pursue the Belmont project regardless of what is built in Queens.” He “plans to break ground on the Belmont stadium, which would be capable of hosting World Cup qualifying matches for the U.S. men's and women's national teams, next year.” The Cosmos are “competing with at least one other bid submitted to the state's request for proposals.” State officials “have not disclosed the details of other proposals.” State officials said that the Empire State Development Corp. will “send questions to bidders next week and hold face-to-face meetings at the end of the month.” The organization will “make its decision by late spring” (NEWSDAY, 2/4).