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Volume 6 No. 212


Major League Soccer Tuesday morning announced New York City FC, a partnership between EPL club Man City and MLB N.Y. Yankees, will begin play in '15 as the league's 20th team. The club will begin play in an interim venue since it has yet to complete a deal for a new, football-specific stadium. MLS for the last year has been in discussions with N.Y. reps for property in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The league will continue those discussions for the Queens site while exploring others in N.Y. The cost of the expansion franchise is approximately $100M, a new high for MLS. The league was advised in the deal by The Raine Group Founder & Partner Joe Ravitch. The Yankees and Man City have an existing relationship through Legends Hospitality. Man City CEO Ferran Soriano said, “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization.” Yankees President Randy Levine will be the club’s point person in the partnership (Christopher Botta, SBD).

MAN CITY STRENGTH: In London, James Ducker reported in addition to adding a 20th club to the rapidly expanding MLS, the move "will strengthen City's attempts to expand their commercial arm and profile in the U.S. as they look to dramatically boost income." With UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules coming into effect from the start of the '14-15 season, with the intention of limiting clubs to spending only what they earn, City is "exploring all ways to increase" its revenue streams (LONDON TIMES, 5/21). Also in London, Ian Herbert wrote Soriano "rejected the idea of launching a Barcelona franchise in the MLS" when CEO of the Spanish club eight years ago, on the grounds that football "was still relatively low profile in the country." But MLS "has grown since then, helped substantially by David Beckham's presence at the L.A. Galaxy." Though the pioneering venture is a way of City Owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan launching Abu Dhabi into the U.S. sports scene, the project "is being driven by Manchester City in a way which had not been anticipated" (INDEPENDENT, 5/21). BLOOMBERG's Scott Soshnick reported Lavine said that the Yankees "would support Man City and the league in their efforts to secure a suitable stadium site." He declined to comment when asked if the team would or could play at Yankee Stadium. Lavine said, "We know how to get things done in New York City. We think the combination will be very, very powerful" (BLOOMBERG, 5/21).

CROWDED MARKET: In London, Gelles & Blitz wrote N.Y. "is the most crowded professional sports market in the country, with two baseball teams, two American football teams, two basketball teams, two hockey teams" and now two football teams. NYCFC "will join the New York Red Bulls, another MLS team that plays in the area," home to 19 million people. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "We look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city." Man City "has for decades been a poor relation of its more illustrious neighbour" ManU. But "the club was transformed when acquired" by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family in '08. He "has invested millions in turning City into a powerhouse in the English Premier League," winning the title in the '11-12 season. City came second to rivals ManU in this season’s title race (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/21).

Newly promoted Bundesliga club Hertha BSC Berlin "will spend distinctively more money next season than it did in its last season in the top flight" in '11-12, according to the SID. The club calculates expenditures of €68.1M ($87.7M), which is about €10M ($12.9M) more than during its last Bundesliga season. Hertha Managing Dir Ingo Schiller said, "The additional money will be spent first and foremost on human resource management." The additional spending "is made possible by the increase in TV money the club will receive in the top division." Overall, expenditures of €68.1M stand opposite revenue of €69M ($88.8M). Schiller: "It's not a black zero, it's already a black one" (SID, 5/21).

The scandal-hit Indian Premier League on Tuesday "suffered yet another blow" with the Sahara Group-owned Pune Warriors India "withdrawing from the cash-rich event" due to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to "encash the team's bank guarantee following a prolonged financial dispute," according to the PTI. Sahara, which bought the franchise for Rs 1,700 crore in '10, said it was "disgusted" by the BCCI's attitude toward it and will not rejoin the league even if the entire franchise fee was waved off, giving "a new twist to the already troubled league which has seen a spate of controversies since its inception." The Sahara Group said in a statement, "...We would not keep the IPL franchisee even if the entire franchisee fee is waved off. It is firm and final decision of Sahara to withdraw from IPL." Sahara Group said that it "was tempted to withdraw from the Indian cricket team's sponsorship also but refrained from doing so in the interest of the players." The group said, "There is a very strong urge in us to withdraw from the Indian Cricket Team Sponsorship from today only. But, interest of the players will suffer if we do so" (THE HINDU, 5/21).

Rangers Chair Malcolm Murray Monday night insisted that "he had been stitched up after a video of him drunk was leaked on the Internet," according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The battle for control of Rangers "hit a new low as the doctored recording of a clearly inebriated Murray being helped out of a restaurant was posted on YouTube." The "voices of two people laughing and goading Murray" were distorted beyond recognition. But the Record later "obtained the original, unaltered footage and immediately identified one of the voices" as that of Ibrox Financial Dir Brian Stockbridge. The club was forced to admit that Stockbridge -- who came to Ibrox as part of former CEO Charles Green’s takeover -- "was the man who made the tape" (DAILY RECORD, 5/21).

The "protracted handover" of National Rugby League Melbourne Storm from News Ltd. to a private ownership group known as Holding MS Australia "finally took place" late Monday, according to Steve Mascord of THE AGE. New Zealand businessman Bart Campbell was unveiled as the Storm's new chairman while English rugby union administrator Mark Evans will assume control as CEO. Club Founder John Ribot said that more prominent businessmen "are likely to join the consortium" that has taken control of Melbourne. Melbourne business identities Gerry Ryan and Matthew Tripp "were identified" on Tuesday as other members of the new ownership group, although their names and those of any others involved "were not confirmed by the club." Ribot: ''I think the group of people that is there now is already exciting for Melbourne Storm fans and for rugby league. But if we wait a couple of weeks, depending on a few things, then the people involved could add another dynamic to it completely. It could be even more exciting'' (THE AGE, 5/22). In Sydney, Stuart Honeysett reported the consortium "sounded out the NRL before Christmas over the code's commitment to the growth of the game in the AFL's heartland before agreeing to sign on the dotted line." Campbell "met various NRL heavyweights" including Chair John Grant, Head of Strategy Shane Mattiske and CEO Dave Smith "on at least three occasions to discuss the sale." The first meeting occurred before Christmas, the second in February and another was staged at the club's Anzac Day clash against the Warriors at AAMI Park. Campbell, who has ties to some of the world's best-known sporting identities, "was keen to know what the NRL could do to help the Storm prosper in terms of scheduling, promotion and membership" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/22).

La Liga Valencia Athletic VP Amadeo Salvo outlined his "Gloval" project for the future of the club, which he hopes to make "respected in the world," according to Javier Pérez of EL PAIS. For Salvo, the club should have a mindset of a "championship mentality," and he particularly wants to influence the team's young talent. Salvo: "Two or three players every year have to play on the first team. The young talent of Valencia has to be one of the three best in the world. For this, we have to have first-level sports facilities. At the moment, we have the worst in the Valencian Community." The "theme of grassroots football was the longest part of Salvo's address, and he used Real Sociedad as an example." Salvo said that in two years they have gone from €2.5-€4.5M ($3.2M-$5.8M) invested in young talent and here are the current results. Salvo "proposed to strengthen the club's school" by going from €4-€9M ($5.2M-$11.6M) in annual allocation (EL PAIS, 5/20).