I'm sure everyone has seen the news of NYC2: http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/29/man-city-owner-set-to-fund-new-mls-franchise-in-nyc/
To give you the Cliff Notes:
- The MLS' 20th franchise is going to be in New York City.
- It will be based out of Queens.
- Abu Dubai royal family member - and Manchester City owner - Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan is leading the financial effort.
- The stadium will be privately funded.
- They're aiming for 2016 to join the league.
They're a few things that bother me about this
- How angry are you if you're the Red Bulls? If I was Dietrich Mateschitz - and I actually cared about my franchise - I would be throwing all sorts of stick towards Garber and the league office.
Think of it this way. You buy a team, build a new stadium, you bring in star players, and spend $100's of millions of your own money into building a regional brand. Yet you struggle to make any penetration into the regional marketplace. Now, the league that is supposed to be helping you is turning its' attention to someone else just a few miles away?
The fact that we haven't heard anything from the ownership of the Red Bulls tells you how much they pay attention. If it was me, I would be doing everything to stop this including publicly going after the league.
- This only re-enforces my belief that MLS HQ views the nation the same way as this famous "The New Yorker" cover:
The provincialism of this whole arrangement really bothers me. One of the arguments that drives me crazy is "It's so difficult to get from Queens to New Jersey for a game."
Udder nonsense. Look, I live in Olympia and drive down for each Portland home game. Each game, I have to travel roughly four hours in a car. I know I'm not alone in this. I know Timbers fans that come from as far as Eugene, Hood River, Astoria, ect. Not only that, there are fans in franchises all over the country that travel hours to see their team play. For example, I know a few Sounders fans that commute from Bellingham, Ellensburg, ect. With San Jose, I've heard of fans coming in from Oakland, San Fransisco, and other locals in the North Bay. I would estimate with a reasonable amount of certainty that at least 30-40% of the fans for MLS games commute to their game. I would even say that maybe 15-20% travel more than two hours.
And for some to have the temerity to say that it's too hard to get through Manhattan is ridiculous. You don't hear NFL fans screaming that they have to travel to Jersey for Jets and Giants games. You don't see the New York Islanders roaring in attendance because people in Queens don't want to go all the way into Manhattan to see pro hockey.
I've driven that route a few times. At the most with traffic, it's an hour and a half. By transit, maybe two hours. Again if I were the Red Bulls or one of their supporters, my blood would be boiling right now at the udder nonsense being spewed by the advocates of this scheme.
- My biggest problem with this whole scheme is this: Am I the only one who finds it really disturbing that three out of the four teams in New York and Los Angles will be owned by people who care about other stuff more or are using their MLS franchise to push other football clubs? Chivas USA's problems are well documented. The Red Bull brand under Mateschitz have too much on their sporting promotional plate including motorsports, extreme sports, and crazy stunts to really focus and are what's going on with any specific team. Now you are bringing in a owner who owns Manchester City. Not only that, he has other sporting assets in the Middle East that he is heavily involved in.
From everything I've read, it feels like Sheik al-Nahyan and his group want to use the NYC2 franchise to push Manchester City in the same way with Jorge Vergara with C.D. Guadalajara.
I have to ask: How is this a good thing in things - other than the check he's brings? How is it good that we have two teams in major markets that are basically going to be secondary to their owner's primary clubs in other countries? How does that help develop our domestic league? I would not be surprised that in 10 years we are having the same discussion about one of the New York teams as we do with Chivas USA - indifferent owner who is focused on other things as their MLS franchise is falling apart.
One thing that Anto said a last month on his Beyond the Pitch podcast has stuck with me. When talking about the troubles that Chivas USA has faced, he had a real good rant about how "Chivas USA felt like a spreadsheet solution on behalf of the league when created. A decision not based on any semblance of reality." I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly. The problem is that history seems to be repeating itself.
I am hearing the same language and reasoning with NYC2 as was used by Chivas when they came into the league. You are hearing things like: "Oh there are a lot of ethnic communities in those areas that play soccer, let's put a franchise in and they'll go to games." "Co-branding with other leagues will help MLS!" "The market and media size shows that a second team in this city will be a success."
We heard all of this with the lead up to Chivas USA. None of it was fact. Almost all of it was speculation. Like Chivas, nobody know if the fans are going to show up in Queens. The wanton desire of the league to make this happen is rather unbecoming. If anything, I find it really disrespectful to markets like Orlando, San Antonio, and others that actually have fans and have supported their teams like we did in the USL.
I'll shut up now that I've had my peace.
What do you think?