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Volume 6 No. 212


N.Y. Yankees President Randy Levine told SBD Global that the partnership between the MLB franchise and Premier League side Man City is close to naming someone to run NYC FC's business operations, as the Yankees work "collaboratively" with Man City on the business side. The two partnered in May as co-owners of newly founded Major League Soccer club NYC FC, which will begin play in '15. Levine: "It has been, and it is, a real good partnership. Obviously, Man City [is] going to run the whole football operations, and we are working collaboratively with them on the business side.” He said the team is working to build its business staff, adding, "We will be in a position pretty shortly to name an individual who will be in charge of running NYC FC’s business operations." Levine: "Like with any successful sports franchise, you got to build from the bottom up. All the fundamentals, marketing operation, ticketing operation and premium-sales operation, and so on, all of that is going on right now."

REAL ESTATE SHOPPING: Levine also said that the partners are currently hunting for a stadium site. They are looking at several sites across the city, from Flushing Meadows in Queens to a site near Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx. However, Levine ruled out a stadium at Pier 40 on Manhattan's West Side. He said, "Together we are looking at four or five sites. The Flushing site is still a possibility. There’s a site nearby Yankee Stadium that’s a possibility. Pier 40 is not a possibility; we don’t view that as a possibility. There are a couple other sites in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. We are making progress, it’s all preliminary, we are not ready to select a site." Levine said that he does not believe the stadium will be ready in time for the team's inaugural MLS season. Until a stadium is completed in '16 or '17 at the earliest, NYC FC will have to find a temporary home. Levine said the possibilities for a temporary home range from Yankee Stadium over Citi Field to MetLife Stadium, among others. While finding a suitable stadium site is the priority, the Yankees and Man City are also teaming up in the departments of ticketing and sponsorships. Levine: "We are putting together and working with them to help build their ticketing and sponsorship and other essentials that a professional sports team needs. There’s a lot of synergy and a lot of cooperation going forward. They are the football experts, and we know how to operate in this market. They are also very good in selling their brand. So it’s a good combination." Having the Yankees and Man City brands in the background will be a significant help in attracting sponsorship deals for NYC FC. Levine said, "You always look to provide opportunities for present sponsors. I think New York City FC is going to be very popular. We are getting tremendous feedback from people who want to buy premium regular seats and from sponsors." He added, "This is a stand-alone entity, although it is owned by the Yankees and Man City. We are all of one mind to get them the best available deals possible.” Another goal, Levine said, is securing media deals.

The partnership between the Yankees and Man City started when Yankees co-owned Legends Hospitality entered an agreement with British chef Jamie Oliver to provide food, beverage and merchandise at Man City's Etihad Stadium. While playing a friendly against Chelsea at Yankee Stadium over Memorial Day, Man City and the Yankees got to know each other. Levine said, "We got to know the Manchester City people well, we like them very much; they have the same values that we at the Yankees have -- a commitment to winning, fielding a championship team and providing first-rate experience for fans." In the midst of purchasing the N.Y. MLS franchise, Man City realized that it needed a local partner that knew the market, and based on the previous projects, the two reached an agreement rather quickly. The partnership will also provide the Yankees with an opportunity to increase their brand in the U.K. Levine said that there will be some cross-promotion in the U.S. and the U.K. He said, "We haven’t done any yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out." However, it is not the first time the Yankees have partnered with an EPL club from Manchester. Several years back, the Yankees had a partnership with ManU that did not pan out as planned. Asked why the partnership with Man City is different, Levine said, "It wasn’t a partnership. There was a joint-marketing agreement with Man United and it basically went on for a little bit. We sold some of their merchandise in our stores and they sold some of ours at their stores, but it was just a pilot program and then when the ownership of Man United changed, the agreement went by the boards. Here it is much different. Here you have a real partnership, where people put their money into a franchise and building a substantial asset together."

EPL Cardiff City has "immediately started planning for life in the top tier of English football," according to Joe Strange of the London DAILY MAIL. More than £30M ($47M) was invested in new players over the summer, and "so far that ambition appears to be paying off." It is "not just on the pitch that Cardiff hope to impress." Since swapping the "dilapidated" Ninian Park for the "shiny new," multi-million pound Cardiff City Stadium in the summer of '09, the club has "made a conscious effort to improve their reputation at every level." The south Wales club "was once viewed as one of the most hostile to visit," with a proportion of home fans "taking it upon themselves to welcome away supporters with violence, obscene chants and arguably the most unfriendly environment at any ground" in the U.K. So, after moving just a couple of hundred yards down the road to its new home, Cardiff "embarked upon a huge programme of activity to improve who they are as a club, of which the matchday experience is key." In a bid "to attract more opposition fans," Cardiff has "created an away end designed to make them feel at home and enjoy their day, no matter what the result." After entering the ground, fans "can grab themselves a beer or burger served by staff wearing their own team's home shirt." Additionally, these tops "are handed out to a lucky few during half-time." The club also shows the 12:45pm local time Premier League kick-off "live on big screens." Cardiff "also put on a DVD of the away team for fans to enjoy pre-match." For Everton's visit last weekend, the supporters from Merseyside "were treated to the club's 1984 FA Cup final victory over Watford." There are "also posters dotted around welcoming fans to Cardiff and informing them how many miles they've travelled to get there, plus a PlayStation area for children to enjoy before kick-off." And, although there was not the demand for Everton's visit, Cardiff also "offer to cater for any local delicacies away fans may wish to eat." On top of the matchday activities, the Welsh side "have set up a dedicated Twitter account, @CardiffCityAway, to provide a raft of information, answer any queries visiting fans may have and give away prizes in the week after the game." It is "not just the away end which has benefited from Cardiff's change in attitude." In the family stand, there is "live music and performances from a magician and dance troop." The family stand "also boasts a skill school for kids to take part in," while a Cardiff player not involved in the matchday squad "pops along for a live question and answer session before the game gets underway" (DAILY MAIL, 9/4).

The Australian Capital Territory Super League Brumbies "will consider basing their rugby program at the Australian Institute of Sport for the entire 2014 Super Rugby season to avoid a disruptive move in the middle of the campaign," according to Chris Dutton of the CANBERRA TIMES. The Brumbies "have set up their temporary home at the AIS as they wait" for their new A$15M ($13.8M) center to be built at the University of Canberra. The joint project with the ACT government and the university "is expected to be completed by the end of February." The Brumbies "have already left their Griffith headquarters and demolition is expected to start in the coming weeks" (CANBERRA TIMES, 9/5).

Just days before the start of the new season, one of the I-League's two new inductees, the Mumbai Tigers, has informed the All India Football Federation that "it is withdrawing from this season's competition," according to Mark Baber of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The AIFF website reported, "The Mumbai based Club informed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that they are not ready at the moment to participate in the First Division and need more time to prepare for participation in the I-League." The AIFF said that "they had no warning of the withdrawal and the I-League will continue with just 13 teams and no changes to the dates of matches which have already been announced." I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said, "We did not have any idea that this could be coming. Suddenly they (Mumbai Tigers) sent a letter to us that they are not ready to play in the I-League this season. Only 13 teams will be there in the I-League this year" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/4).

A truce "is expected to be called in the civil war for control" of Scottish League 1 Rangers, according to Scott McDermott of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. An announcement is expected before the weekend which will see former Dir Paul Murray and PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Frank Blin "appointed to the board of the Glasgow club immediately." Entrepreneur Jim McColl "and his rebel shareholders will now drop their demands for an EGM," having originally requisitioned the meeting in a bid to oust club CEO Craig Mather, Financial Dir Brian Stockbridge and Dir Bryan Smart. The peace deal will avoid the need for £80,000 ($125,000) to be spent on an EGM ahead of the club's AGM next month "as the shareholders' concerns, and any vote on possible changes to the board, will now be dealt with then." It is understood Mather, Stockbridge and Smart "will remain in the boardroom for the time being," at least while former Chair John McClelland could be set to be reappointed to his old role (DAILY RECORD, 9/3).