New York City FC Owners Still Hopeful On Queens Stadium, But Exploring Other Sites Too
The owners of MLS New York City FC are "still hopeful they can push through a stadium deal" at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, but also are "talking for the first time about abandoning that plan in search of a more politically feasible site in the city," according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Yankees President Randy Levine, who will be the club’s point person in the partnership, yesterday said, "Now that we’re involved, we’re gonna look, see if we can conclude it in Queens and whether there are better places. There will be a team playing. There won’t be any stress about (finding a site)." Levine said that Yankee Stadium is a "possible temporary home for the team while it awaits the new stadium." He added that he planned to talk to Mets Owners the Wilpons about using Citi Field, "who might be amenable to a deal if it makes financial sense." The MLB teams’ schedules are an "obvious impediment, since the MLS season runs from March to November." Levine said, "We’re competitors with the Mets but we’re also partners in baseball" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/22). N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg today reaffirmed the city's belief that the best place for the stadium is "in the eastern end of Flushing Meadow Park." Bloomberg: "It would generate a lot of revenue so that we could fix up the rest of the park and create a new park where the old Flushing airport was. The amenities that it would bring and the number of people it would bring and the visibility it would bring will be great for the city" (YES Network, 5/22). Man City CEO Ferran Soriano: "We are very well aware that the city and MLS have been working on this potential stadium in Queens, and we want to continue these discussions. But this is not about finding a stadium, it's about finding a home, so we want to do the process right" (ESPNFC.com, 5/21).
OPPOSITION TO THE DEAL: In N.Y., Calder & Lewis note Soriano, Levine and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all reiterated that their first choice is "moving forward with a proposed" $300M, 25,000-seat stadium plan for Flushing-Meadows Park. But they added that they "have no problem seeking alternative locations in the city." Calder & Lewis: "In truth, they may have to." The Mets were "long seen as viable owners for this club, until the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme." The Mets "would need to let NYC FC use Citi Field’s parking lots" for the stadium to be built at Flushing Meadows. The Mets "had no comment yesterday" (N.Y. POST, 5/22). In N.Y., Bagli & Belson write Man City execs indicated that the team's owners also are "hoping that a partnership with the Yankees will shield them from criticism that a stadium project in the park represents a sweetheart deal for Arab royalty." By joining with Man City, the Yankees also "hope to turn Yankee Stadium into a marquee destination for high-profile soccer matches." Levine said that YES Network "could broadcast New York City FC's games." Mansour's investment group would spend about $90M to "replace lost parkland and soccer fields, and on other measures" in addition to "paying for the proposed stadium in Queens" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). The GUARDIAN's Graham Parker noted the notion of a proposed Queens stadium having to replace parkland if it is built there is a "topic that's prompted local protests, but so far has not ignited debate within the mayoral race, with candidates mostly waiting to see what definite developments would take place." Yesterday's news may "force the hands of some of those candidates to come out definitively for or against the proposed Flushing Meadows stadium" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 5/21).