Garber confident Red Bulls will benefit from addition of NYCFC

Don Garber (Getty Images)


The arrival of New York City FC will be beneficial to all, including the New York Red Bulls.

That was an underlying message from MLS commissioner Don Garber during a Tuesday conference call in which he discussed NYCFC joining the league as its 20th team in 2015. The addition of NYCFC is the culmination of several years of hard work by the league, but for many fans and pundits it is also a move that comes at the detriment of the New Jersey-based Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls have struggled to make a serious dent in the sports landscape in the New York market, with inconsistent attendance at games and an empty trophy cabinet at the heart of their problems. Those issues have instilled a belief in some that neighborly competition for attention in a market saturated with pro sports teams will be damning to the Red Bulls’ fanbase and organization.

Garber, however, does not see it that way.

“The view that we have is that there are more than enough people here to be fans of both teams,” said Garber. “There’s 19 million people in this region. We have lots of fans for the Red Bulls, but we don’t have 19 million fans. There’s more than enough people who can be either excited about being fans of both clubs or be converted from perhaps following another team from around the world to be a fan of one or both of those teams.”

There has been no shortage of evidence of MLS pushing hard for a second team in the New York metro area in recent years, but Garber said Tuesday that the league has been working on this project for quite some time. In fact, Garber stated that MLS has had the idea of fielding two New York teams since the league opened in 1996 and that the Red Bulls were cognizant of this even before they even bought into the league in 2006.

“It was always a goal, if you look at the original plan, to have two teams in New York,” said Garber. “We’ve worked on and off on this project for the last 18 years. It was part of the original configuration, it was certainly something that the Red Bulls were very aware of when they purchased the MetroStars from AEG.

“We will work very closely with (Red Bulls general manager Jerome de Bontin) and the rest of his club to have this rivalry be something that has enormous value to what we’re all trying to achieve in this market, which is more interest, more popularity, more fans and more excitement.”

De Bontin was one of the bigger antagonists to MLS’s plans of expanding into the New York market when he joined the Red Bulls last fall, but his tone has changed somewhat in recent months. Still, in a statement released by the Red Bulls on Tuesday afternoon, de Bontin was careful in not expressing too much optimism for the addition of NYCFC, no matter how beneficial Garber believes it will be.

“We are supportive of MLS expansion, as it illustrates the growing interest of soccer in North America,” said de Bontin in the statement. “We also want to congratulate MLS and the league’s new ownership group, which is injecting additional resources to help develop our sport across the country. Today’s announcement is one of many steps in the exciting and challenging process of building a competitive MLS club.”

“Our club’s energy is focused on winning a championship for the league’s most loyal and passionate fans, many of whom have steadfastly backed this organization and MLS since its inception and come from all over the tri-state area,” continued de Bontin. “We are committed to continue to build an organization that is the flagship club for Major League Soccer around the world and a club that soccer fans across the region can be proud to support.”

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67 Responses to Garber confident Red Bulls will benefit from addition of NYCFC

  1. Michael F SBI Mafia Original says:

    “…be a fan of one or both of those teams.”

    I’m surprised that by now, Garber, who I think has done a GREAT job for MLS, doesn’t get the soul of the soccer fan. We live and die by our team. Not teams!

    • Mike says:

      No, but he gets NY fans..who are front runners and easily switch allegiances between NY teams in other sports :)

      • Ethan says:

        Now that is just a false statement. Fans if one NY teams hate the other one and would never switch.

        • Jim says:

          I don’t think anyone can call a Jet’s fan a fair weather fan. Nope, I think the statement should be “there are a ton of sports tourists that like to jump on bandwagons.” I wouldn’t call any of them fans.

          • jon f says:

            everyone I know who originally lived in nyc have common similarities —— they are the biggest bandwagoners —– if i were to ask a typical local about the transients from nyc that move to ct, i would bet 1000 without blinking an eye that they would say bandwagoners.

            • Dan in New York says:

              Total B.S. You clearly don’t know any real New Yorkers. Love the Mets, Jets, Knicks, Rangers; hate the Yankees, Giants, “Brooklyn” Nets, and Devils/Islanders, no matter their records in a particular season.

      • krazymunky says:

        That also applies to LA. recent example. when Clippers became good. i knew quite of few lakers fans who also became clippers fans…

        • josh says:

          Yeah, I think that is more of an LA phenomenon. Try telling Mets fans how NY fans only support whoever is winning.

        • Edwin in LA says:

          That’s a lot of BS, there were a lot of Laker Haters who conveniently had a team to root for as their small town didn’t have a team in the NBA or any pro sports for that matter.

          LA has a lot if people from all over the place even The Bay Area or NorCal….. but true Angelinos who sometimes live on the outskirts of LA, they usually are die hard Laker fans as we grew up with The Showtime Lakers or even before that for some..

    • Travis is Miami says:

      Cgh cgh…there are those of us who do not have an MLS team.

      • Michael F SBI Mafia Original says:

        Sure but who do you support? Point being you don’t support Yankees AND Mets,

    • Sean says:

      So stupid. Most MLS fans I know are inclusive, wishing well for other teams (when not playing against theirs) and wanting to see the league grow and other teams succeed for the good of the sport.

  2. el paso tx-we love soccer says:

    This will change MLS forever, in other words MLS 3.0. All MLS teams with cheesy names like Real Salt lake, Dynamo, Fire, Columbus Crew and even Earthquakes will want a real soccer name, real soccer logo and ownership. Maybe now MLB,NBA,NFL,NHL owners will partner with their with MLS teams and help them become real soccer teams. Therefore for example, Red Bull New York should partner with the Cosmos and even mets or denver broncos partner with rapids but how about European or Asian power house owners.

    • slowleftarm says:

      As usual – complete nonsense

    • Tedski says:

      Précis: It’s not real “football” unless the smell of Strongbow and prawn sandwiches wafts from the stands.

      I’m not sure how “Dynamo” is too cheesy to be a “real” team name. I guess fans in Moscow, Minsk and Zagreb are not following “real” teams.

      Every country has its own naming conventions based on the traditions that they have established in the sport. And guess what, we have ours too. It’s okay. Really.

      But this all gets back to the two decade old question of how to attract the “European” die hard to MLS. I don’t know that you can do it. Some are fans because they are European ex-pats, some are fans for other more complicated reasons of identity and I don’t know how you break through that. I don’t think you do it by amorphous statements about what “real” football looks like.

    • Travis says:

      Real Salt Lake is nothing like the other names. It is a much more traditional name in the world of football, take a look. Why would RBNY partner with a team smaller than it (Cosmos) if it wants real owners? Total gibberish

      • matt from FL says:

        I think he’s trying to promote the model that much of the world uses, whereby an athletics club fields teams in many sports (see: Barca basketball) and may contain a community heath center. So people pay memberships to access the amenities. Many famous soccer teams started like this.

    • Jim says:

      Actually, Chicago Fire is probably the most American of all the MLS names. And, New York Red Bulls is just a color away from traditional Chicago Bulls.

      Red Bulls is also the nickname of a famous WW2 unit that marched throughout Italy and had the motto “Attack, Attack, Attack.” Tell a WW2 vet that his unit’s name didn’t sound American enough.

      • Kevin says:

        Come on, Jim. That might all be true but it ignores the obvious fact that “Red Bulls” comes from a foreign corporation that sells energy drinks. It’s the worst name in MLS, by far.

    • Gnarls says:

      So the homogenization of soccer is the ultimate goal? No thanks. There’s literally no valid reason why every team name and crest has to sound and looks like they originated in early 20th-century England.

  3. slowleftarm says:

    I have 4 season tickets to RBNY. On Sunday one of the people who attended with me is originally from Italy and has lived in NYC for 20+ years. Dude watches Serie A, of course, like it’s his job. He knew absolutely nothing about MLS or RBNY, other than that Henry plays for them. He had never watched an MLS game in his life and I can pretty confidently say he won’t watch another one unless he comes back to RBA with me some other time.

    When people talk about the “passionate” soccer fans from NYC’s diverse population, this is mostly the type of fan they’re talking about. New York Yankees FC isn’t going to interest my friend or any of the other soccer fans from around the world who live in the area. And forget about the American Eurosnobs Garber is pandering to. Doesn’t he get it? Those clowns get off on the fact that they are the most sophisticated soccer fans in the universe, much too good for MLS.

    • Charles says:

      I love Garber, but the pandering to the Euro fans, just doesn’t work or make any sense.
      Focus on American soccer history..I believe it works, see Sea, Port, Van for some examples.

      Naming a team by its city name only is just dumb…very dumb. Get some excitement, be creative, be original. NYC FC..seriously can you think of anything more boring.. anything?


      • Gnarls says:

        The PacNW is definitely the standard bearer for American soccer, but “naming a team by its city is just dumb”? It goes without saying that the move isn’t unprecedented in England. On this side of the pond, we’ve got FCD, TFC, RSL and DCU that all beg to differ as well. And you know, the City of Chivas, USA.

  4. Brian says:

    Garber seems to be a big fan of big city rivalries. He has his two NY teams, He now needs to turn his attention to fixing the LA situation.

    LA, like NY is a large metropolitan area that can serve two teams. Just like NY fans complain about riding a train across town, plenty of LA fans don’t want to sit in the car for 2 hours to get to the HDC. He needs to become a vocal supporter of finding a permanant home for a re-branded Chivas USA in the LA area.

    Contrary to what others might say, the rivalry exists. It is just hard to take seriously given the pitiful state of the Chivas USA franchise and it’s fanbase.

    • Gnarls says:

      This! Chivas are a bunch of sad sacks, but they’re our local sad sacks. I don’t want them shipped off just because MLS bungled the brand. It’s still a club and you’re right, there is a rivalry there.

      New name and new location within greater LA. That’s all they need. I’ve read Santa Ana was interested in building a stadium. That’d work… there are “a few” Latinos in Santa Ana.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      2 hours? Where tha hell do you live? Thousand Oaks or Augora Hills? I live in Hollywood and next to the always congested 101….50 minutes with traffic is pushing it

      • Dan says:

        I wholeheartedly agree Edwin. I’m in coastal OC and its 40 min with traffic at the most. By the way you’re one of the better posters on here.

  5. Travis says:

    Garber is so very wrong about this, RBNY struggles for attendance already cause people from NY won’t make their way out there. I would venture to say (don’t know for sure) that the majority of people at RBA are from NY and not NJ and it is still never full or anywhere close to full. Logically the NY fans will turn their attention to the newer, closer and richer team. The current team has never been overly successful and ultimately most sports fans are fair weather fans who will support whoever is doing well and ditch those that are bad. RBNY will soon be NYs version of Chivas.

    • Scott A says:

      Incorrect on quite a few points. Call it lame, but I’m too tired to go bullet-by-bullet.

      • Travis says:

        Which points? They undoubtedly struggle for attendance, that can’t be argued. Most of the reasons I hear for attendance being awful is NY fans don’t want to make the trek, thus I concluded that most of their fans are NY based. Finally it isn’t such a reach to think that people that are only casual fans will switch to the new team. The loss of fans and evidently the worst location ever will lead to RBNY becoming Chivas.

        • Scott A says:

          It was unfair of me to say that you were incorrect on a few things but not enunciate my thoughts. RBNY’s attendance is “OK”. Because of lack of success, branding issues, poor ownership, etc, its attendance is so-so and could be better in the great soccer area that it is. It’s still above average in MLS and most teams average less. Going from various team/fan surveys, it’s about 2/3 NJ, 1/3 NY fans. RBA is closer than Flushing for many, many NYC residents and even more NYC-area residents. What’s more, the Flushing location is far from assured.

  6. Scott e Dio93 says:

    new jersey vs new york?

    • Scott A says:

      Nope, the original MLS team is the union of NY and NJ. 18 years of loyalty and city representation trumps this plastic venture.

      • Scott e Dio93 says:

        Tri-State Red Bulls!

      • Hildy16 says:

        The problem is the Metro/Bulls have been soooo bad & have lacked any continuity from huge turnover in management, coaches, players that it’s difficult to get behind this team. I’m a season ticket holder & support them, but if NYCFC can do things right & successfully build a winning program then RedBulls will quickly become the Mets/Jets/Nets of the 2 clubs

  7. Harkes' Balls says:

    Would’ve been nice if MLS spent $ 5m and 4 years working on getting the first NY area team a stadium in NYC.

    Then you wouldn’t need a second one.

    • FulhamDC says:

      Absolutely correct! Best post here! Garber has sold out in his desperation to get a “second” NY team, and put it in the City. I don’t think this is going to be a good deal for MLS at all.

  8. master red card says:

    I would’ve liked to see an existing team “promoted” to MLS level.

  9. Chupacabra says:


  10. Brain Guy says:

    Garber doesn’t give a fig about whether RBNY succeeds or holds. He’s hot his NYC legacy now and had earned whatever bonus that entails. Credit to de Bontin for declining to feign excitement over MLS’s obsession with Queens FC. Forza Red Bulls!

  11. Jay says:

    First to those who don’t think MLS needed to go back to NY then you don’t understand the US sports landscape. Every major sport has two teams in New York. Its about proving your self to be among the big boys. In life Image is more important then facts.The NBA moved back into the city this year because they understand the power of the city and image that comes with it. Yes I know people will say well Orlando has nine thousand fans coming to game they proved they have fan support but guess what people, nobody cares. That’s what I think most people on here don’t get nobody cares that Orlando gets great support. NBC, ESPN, FOX, don’t care if Orlando City has two thousand fans or sells out but they will take notice of NYCFC its all about image. If you look major then you are. You have to saturate your biggest markets then work back. And for those who keep bringing up Chivas just stop. Their problems aren’t being in the same city or building. They have a awful owner who doesn’t care about them, and a new one who may care about them less.

    • drew11 says:

      The problem is hardly anybody cares about MLS in NY. Another disgrace last weekend when Donovan & Keane came to town.. Those empty seats looked terrible on TV.

      • Jay says:

        Lol at least people watched the game to see the empty seats. Why do you think networks want NY or LA. Yeah they don’t sell out often but they rather have them then Sporting which sells out every game. Why, because New York sells and Kanas City doesn’t.

      • older & wiser says:

        What few seem to realize is that when you schedule a Sunday game at 1:00 p.m. you are competing with prime kids travel team scheduling so your core fan base is off playing themselves. Couple that with bad weather and you’re not likely to fill RBA. Not really genius scheduling on the part of MLS. If you want a full RBA for a marquee game with a supposed national rival, then schedule for after school is out and the travel season is over. It isn’t rocket science.

      • Adam M. says:

        The game was less than 1000 short of a sellout. The empty seats were due to the rain and no-shows. If you go to Red Bull Arena, you can tell the difference between a well-sold game with some no shows and a poorly sold game. If there are lots of people in the wings of the upper deck (as there were on Sunday), they sold all or almost all of the tickets.

        • Steevens says:

          Don’t even try to talk to me about selling out RBA or people sitting in the “upper-deck.” RBA and Red Bulls support is a joke. Come visit Seattle for any league match and we’ll show you how it’s done. Come for a Cascadia Cup match… now that’s in an entirely separate category.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Thank You! Not to mention Orlando doesn’t have the Stadium plan, the money or a big enough market and fanbase…you want Orlando to get a team? Keep developing your USL-Pro team and get a nice 14K fans in there…build a SSS of about 22K….and then come to MLS and FORCE them to listen to you and give you an MLS franchise, but be prepared because after the Yankees and Man City paid $100 million that is probably how much it will cost to get a team in MLS from now on…..

      NY does bad in attendance numbers….well bad for them is still above average and even if you look at who showed up for the games at Red Bull Arena….a half full RBA is about 12K….a third more than Orlando gets RIGHT NOW…

  12. Tony Lulaj says:

    I think NYCFC is very good, but the stadium definitely needs to be in Manhattan or The Bronx, forget about Queens. People can go after work to see games like they do for the Yankees, Rangers, and Knicks. Play the games at Yankee stadium for now.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      The problem is where do you get enough Manhattan real estate to build a Soccer-Specific Stadium? I suppose they are owned by a ridiculously rich ownership group…and the Sheik can drop 400-600 million on a 32K stadium somewhere in Manhattan that can be easily accessed by a train….but again we are asking a lot. There is that lot above the NY transit train yard where they were thinking of building the Jets a Stadium…they have to build a Floor or foundation above where the trains go to..but it is a possibility. I think Queens is close enough as say the Bronx? And a lot of people around there play in Rec leagues….plus is not that hard to catch a train to Flushing Meadows

      I started wondering about the lot right in front of the current and NEW Yankee Stadium. the Site where the OLD Yankee stadium use to sit on…is there anything there? It’s directly across the current Yankee Stadium but the train is like RIGHT can see the stadium and use to be able to peak inside from the train’s windows for the old one

      • cremmo says:

        Old site is ball fields now. And I think they promised to keep the footprint of the old field as a baseball field. So that’s not available.

  13. SIR_KNOX says:

    Playing at Yankee Stadium is a lame idea. Seating capacity is is 50k
    Plus the MLS season is concurrent with the baseball season. Bad idea unless CR7 and Messi want to join forces and be DPs for NYCFC

  14. jim in Atlanta says:

    This comment section should be titled ”BITTER BLOG”

    I want a team in Atlanta but this is exciting news for the league and I do believe it will help grow the league a la David Beckham . What’s so wrong with trying to improve the league and trying to build more credibility? The league is a business and it needs to be successful to survive.i for one applaud this decision from a business and entertainment standpoint. Hopefully, in time once our new stadium is built here in Atlanta. Hopefully Mr. Blank can find some lucrative partnerships to help establish a team here. And to the guy who said we still have cheesy names for our team and nycfc is a boring name. The last cheesy name in the league died when kc rebranded. A,, the other names have cultural and historic value to those respective cities….ok earthquake and galaxy are a bit cheesy though. And what is so boring about the name nycfc?? How is that any different than dc united, or dynamo? If you don’t understand the history of our sporting clubs here in the states I suggest to do some research before commenting. “dynamo not a real name?” smdh. I used to swim competitive for a local club during the summer when in highschool. Hues what the name was?? Dynamo lol. Its a sporting club name, kid.

  15. Colin in MT says:

    I think people giving Garber a hard time about NYC2 are going a little overboard. He’s been commissioner since 1999. In that time, two teams in Florida folded (both in 2001), but there have been 9 new teams created (10 with NYC2), and we’ve gone from 1 SSS to 13, new ownership, 3 DPs per team, the homegrown player rules, increased salary cap, increased sponsorship revenue, increased TV revenue, and the list goes on. Now, all that growth isn’t just on Garber, but I trust the people in charge of MLS to continue overseeing the tremendous growth of the league. Having another team in NYC makes sense to me. It’s the largest TV market in the world, and it just so happens MLS is beginning the process of renegotiating it’s TV contract. I also think it will force Red Bull to step their game up and have a larger presence in the conscious of the area.

    • Shawn says:

      Agree 100%.. I dont see how anyone can do anything but praise Garber for the progress the league has made in the last decade.

  16. Colin in MT says:

    sorry for the redundant posts. not sure what happened.

  17. Pingback: Required Reading: New York City F.C.

  18. Sean says:

    I’m a staunch supporter of NYC fc. But, I think they’re getting one thing tragically wrong here. In order for ny2 to work, to build the buzz for the team, you neeeed a stadium built at first kick. Otherwise, ny’ers are just getting a new “MLS team that plays in a rented football or baseball stadium”.

  19. jlm says:

    Would guess that most people that visit this board are in their 20’s-30’s, and it does not sound like anyone is really considering the next generation — the kids that in their preteens-teens. They might relate to the Euro model a lot more than people here since they have grown up watching EPL games. I don’t see this move as “pandering” to the euro-snobs. It adds diversity to the league and provides something that was not there before — much less strong ownership in a major market. The league is evolving, and it will continue to. This development seems like a positive step in the evolution.

  20. Excellency says:

    Short sighted sale of a name. Should have sold the names Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens.

  21. Brian says:

    Anyone agrees Red Bull f-ed up big time for not being in New York? One thing’s for sure, as a New Yorker people here would rather switch sides and support the team that represents them as a city, not a team that represents them solely by name branding.

  22. Angel Diaz says:

    Will you people please stop complaining that RBNY play in Jersey and not NY. The Jets/Giants play in Jersey and are called NY and they both do pretty well in attendance. As for having a second MLS team in NY is an excellent idea and will give a better exposure in T.V. revenues, not the same if it was in Kansas, heck look what happened in Florida which is a better alternative then kansas.

    NYCFC has to be located in Queens if it wants to be succesful, the Bronx is a bad Idea and Manhattan, Brooklyn is a second option, those boroughs have the most immigrants from all over the world.