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Volume 23 No. 17
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Yankees expand credit facility as they search for NYCFC site

Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.

The New York Yankees could be closer to finding a home for their MLS team after getting access to additional borrowing capacity.

Yankee Global Enterprises, the holding company for the MLB club, increased the credit facility from which it can borrow at any time to more than $300 million, up from $175 million, at the start of the year, according to sources in finance circles.

Yankee Global owns a portion of New York City FC, the 2015 MLS expansion team that is playing in Yankee Stadium while continuing to search for a site to build a soccer-specific stadium.

The extra cash is almost surely not for increased payroll for the MLB Yankees.

“[Brian] Cashman did a presentation; there is no way they are exceeding their plan,” said one banker, referring to a presentation by the Yankees’ general manager to a bankers group about the club’s plan to keep salary around $206 million for 2016. “They want to get younger, they want to develop.”

In addition, a source close to the Yankees said ticket sales for the team for the coming season are pacing ahead of last year, further suggesting there’s no need to borrow to meet payroll. This source said to expect news soon on a new stadium site for NYCFC.

NYCFC, which is co-owned by EPL club Manchester City FC, originally sought to build in a park in Queens but dropped that push after stiff community opposition.

The Yankees declined to comment.

The Yankee Global credit facility is not the only recent credit expansion connected to the Bronx Bombers. Sales and hospitality company Legends, which Yankee Global owns with the Dallas Cowboys, has increased its credit facility to more than $300 million from $250 million. This increase is tied largely to the coming NFL stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the source close to the Yankees said.

According to the relocation proposal submitted to the NFL by the then-St. Louis Rams, Legends will market the $2.66 billion stadium complex being planned by the club and its owner, Stan Kroenke, in Inglewood. The league approved the relocation of the Rams to California earlier this month.

Legends, however, would have to wait to use the extra credit facility money for any big push on the new-stadium project. Under terms of the NFL’s relocation vote, the Rams cannot start marketing the stadium until next year unless a second team has agreed to move into the stadium before then.

The Rams are projecting significant price tags for suites, sponsorship and club seats at the venue.

These two credit facilities represent only some of the debt attached to Yankee Global. The holding company is also responsible for debt on Yankee Stadium and on the team itself.

Wells Fargo, which could not be reached for comment, is the lead bank in the both of the newly increased credit facilities.