[MLS SPOTLIGHT] New York City FC will debut next season at Yankee Stadium -- no surprise -- but it will be forced to play at the baseball stadium for three seasons, the New York Times reported, according to two people familiar with the MLS team’s plans.
The Yankees are co-owners of NYCFC along with Manchester City and the move to set down home at Yankee Stadium, expected to be announced next week, follows their inability to nail down a deal for a soccer stadium. The Times noted the three-year term reflected just how long it might take to get a soccer stadium off the ground and operational.
MLS had explored building a permanent home for the new New York club in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, but that plan was halted after Manchester City and the Yankees were announced as owners in May 2013. They explored a development project near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but that project met with opposition from new mayor Bill de Blasio.
In his talk with fans and media on the eve of the 2014 openers, MLS Commissioner Don Garberacknowledged concluding a stadium deal in New York had become more difficult than it would have been six months earlier (under pro-development mayor Michael Bloomberg).
The Times called the Yankee Stadium deal "a temporary reprieve." It noted that issues on how NYCFC would play on the Yankee Stadium field remained to be resolved. The stadium has hosted one-off international soccer matches that allowed for grass to be laid where the infield is located. But laying down and removing grass for the 17-game MLS regular season would be problematic.
It is almost a year since NYCFC was unveiled as MLS's 20th club.