[MLS EXPANSION]As expected, MLS expansion club New York City FC announced plans to play its first season at Yankee Stadium but just how long it will be the home of its co-owner, the New York Yankees, remains to be seen as the club seeks out a permanent home for a soccer stadium in the five boroughs.
Yankee Stadium has held several games involving international teams in recent years and will feature parent club Manchester City and Liverpool on July 30. The old Yankee Stadium was the home to the New York Generals and New York Cosmos.
The stadium will be downsized to a capacity of 33,444 seats for NYCFC matches. The field will take three days to convert from baseball to soccer. The only other MLS club to have shared a baseball stadium is D.C. United at RFK Stadium before the Washington Nationals moved into their own baseball stadium.
“We are thrilled to call Yankee Stadium our first home for New York City FC,” NYCFC chief business officer Tim Pernetti said in a statement. “Yankee Stadium is one of the world’s most legendary sports venues and a great and accessible location for fans. There is no better place for New York City FC to kick off our historic first season in MLS and we look forward to hosting soccer fans across all five boroughs, and beyond at Yankee Stadium next year.”
At a press conference on Monday, Yankees president Randy Levine and Pernetti said there was no timetable to getting a soccer stadium deal done.
"Our goal is to be in a soccer-specific building as soon as possible," Pernetti said "We’re going to take our time to get it right."
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.
A stadium deal in New York has become more complicated than it would have been under pro-development mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had pushed for the Queens location as one of his legacy projects.