Report: NYC FC negotiations stall over Bronx stadium

NYCFCPosesYankeeStadium (AP)


New York City FC’s search for a soccer-specific stadium appears to have stalled.

After hastily preparing a proposal to build a stadium on a 10-acre plot of land near Yankee Stadium last December, there has been hardly a peep from NYC FC management or New York City about any continuation of stadium talks. The lack of progress is worrying for the club, which has yet to announce a training site for the team’s daily practices.

NYC FC are set to begin life in Major League Soccer in March 2015 playing in Yankee Stadium. The club announced that they will play there for at least the upcoming season, though multiple reports have stated that NYC FC will play their first three years of existence in the home of the New York Yankees.

Part of NYC FC’s Bronx soccer stadium proposal included purchasing land owned by elevator parts company GAL. Vice president Paul Siefried told Capital New York that while NYC FC initially approached him and had discussions about selling the land, there hadn’t been any contact in the last month.

“I really don’t know what the heck is happening,” Siefried said. “The ball is absolutely in their court. I’m happy to tell you [the football club] approached us and we talked for a while. Their interest was in this particular site.”

When Siefried was asked if he thought the proposal was likely dead in the water, he responded, “It appears that way.”

The Bronx proposal, which was being pushed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in his final month in office, called for a stadium to be built on a site just south of Yankee Stadium that included GAL, three publicly-subsidized parking lots that are in financial trouble, and a portion of 153rd Street.

Reports back in December on the original deal stated that New York City and Bloomberg’s administration was willing to give Manchester City and the Yankees, via NYC FC, more than $350 million in tax-exempt bonds and $21.5 in other tax subsidies. The stadium at the time was estimated to cost $400 million.

Before announcing NYC FC as the league’s 20th expansion franchise in May 2013, MLS had spent more than a year campaigning to build a soccer-specific stadium in Flushing-Meadows Park. However, MLS gave up those plans once NYC FC came into existence, putting the club’s future stadium plans in their own hands.

NYC FC and Man City executives have continued to state that they are looking at all options in the five boroughs in New York City. The club, though, is learning fast that almost nothing gets done in a timely fashion in New York, with so many competing interests on the line.


What do you think of this report? Do you expect NYC FC to have a stadium in the Bronx? Think they should look outside the five boroughs? Do you expect them to be at Yankee Stadium for more than three seasons?

Share your thoughts below.

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106 Responses to Report: NYC FC negotiations stall over Bronx stadium

  1. H-Town says:


  2. H-Town says:

    In all seriousness, you have got to be kidding me. This is turning into a PR disaster when there are a slew of organizations and groups that have stadia deals in the final stages and were ready to make the move before NYCFC. They might be signing big time stars, but they have yet to produce a big time venue… or even a practice facility.

    • Vic says:

      Valid point. However, NYFC will spend alot of money on DPs that will help draw fans for away games and bring more recognition to the league. NYFC is good for everyone in MLS except the Red Bulls.

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        I used to think so… but the incompetence of the people they have handed the unlimited funds to seems to be… well… unlimited.

      • iggy says:

        not sure it even hurts red bulls. NYCFC if anything draws more attentions ot the league in the NY market (very little exists now), and highlights that for the near future NYCFC has a few big players but plays in an inferior setting, further legitimizing the Red Bulls position and stature.

      • Yevgeniy says:

        I am a Red Bulls fan and I am not even sure that it’s bad for the Red Bulls. They are definitely raising the profile of MLS in town. For example, last week Saer Sene trade to RBNY and Kwame Watson-Siriboe trade to NYCFC took place on the same day. The former one was covered by a 1-liner in NY Daily News and the latter one generaed 1/4 of a page. Based on the players involved, it should have been the other way around. I wouldn’t expect 1/4 of a page unless it was a DP anyway.

        Despite the above, when you compare seeing a game at RBA vs. one at Yankee Stadium, it’s not even close. So, it might actually help Red Bulls.

      • Post-Klinsmann says:

        MLS had one chance to do it right and they have screwed up. Having a New York City team be successful hinged upon one major factor: presenting soccer in a soccer-specific stadium built in a strong metropolitan location.

        This is not looking good but I hope it gets turned around.

    • H-Town says:

      How long before they co-tenant RBA, because NYCFC can’t get a stadium deal done? NYCFC will be Chivas USA, embarrassing the league because of rich owners that run the business side into the ground.

      • johnny99 says:

        NYCFC is the city’s team – isn’t their motto “5 boroughs, 1 team”? Playing outside of NYC is out of the question. It puts the team, and by extension the league, in a bad spot. They’re committed to playing in NYC, but greatly underestimated the difficulties of building a stadium in NYC.

    • Lorenzo says:

      Red Bulls will be fine. If the Mets could come into the MLB while the Yankees had already been planted in NYC for so long, NYFC isn’t knocking off NYRB. No way. Newark area has strong soccer support.

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    Why you require the stadium first (a) avoid people bidding you up knowing the use (“funny, they never came back after I opened asking for a jillion dollars, I don’t understand”) and (b) avoid this sort of potential homelessness in a new team. And they fouled this up on about every new expansion team in the pipeline. After those years of cookie cutter stadium teams coming off a conveyor belt you’d think they’d know better.

  4. Laszlo says:

    NYC FC will be playing at Yankee Stadium for at least 5 years, if not longer. There just aren’t that many places in the 5 boroughs to build a stadium. Then there is the political BS that NYC FC will have to deal with, along with environmental issues, unions, etc.

  5. Smith says:

    These guys are gonna be at Yankee Stadium a long time

  6. Vic says:

    Looking into the future, I think it would be a good idea for NYFC to sign Julien Green as a DP to unviel the new stadium in 2026.

  7. slowleftarm says:

    Looks like when they named the club NYCFC, they thought that Westchester was the sixth borough.

  8. Smith says:

    They’ll get a stadium when DiBlasio is voted out of office in 3 years.

    • FulhamDC says:

      Yep. I imagine they’ve already had enough of dealing with his incompetent administration and are just patiently waiting for 2017.

      • Del Griffin says:


      • slowleftarm says:

        Pretty optimistic in that it assumes DeBlasio will lose and that his successor will want to do this. Possible sure but probable? Not sure you can even say that.

        • FulhamDC says:

          I’ve got optimism and history on my side. Whenever NYC has had a Mayor for 2 or 3 terms, they go in the complete opposite direction in electing the new one. They did it with Bloomburg, they did it after 12 years of Ed Koch (David Dinkins) and after 2 terms of John Lindsay (Abe Beam). Dinkins and Beam were one termers, and barely that. DeBlasio fits the same mold as a transitional Mayor for the city. They’ll elect another pragmatist in 2017, one who will see vacant property, and want to develop it.

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        This will be a total non-issue in any NYC election. The revenue contribution is peanuts in that city (assuming the stadium is even located there, which appears very unlikely)

    • Atletico Man says:

      Can we keep the politics to a politics blog and stick to the football?

      • whoop-whoop says:

        When it is an article about building a stadium in a major metropolis- politics ARE the story.

      • lando says:

        try talking dc united stadium without talking politics. also, when any type of pub

      • lando says:

        try talking dc united stadium without talking politics. also, when any type of public space or funding is being used for a stadium, you have to talk politics.

      • NICK says:

        You can’t. It’s part of the process to getting a stadium. Here and around the world.

  9. Del Griffin says:

    Randy Levine is the biggest buffoon I have ever seen. Seriously, you have a zillion dollars and that’s the suit you wear, and that is your haircut?

  10. beto says:

    I thought the deal was that with the Endless oil money and yankee’s local connections getting stadium done was going to be an issue…

    My guess
    1. They want yankee stadium to be home for a bit: extra revenue for mlb team
    2. They want the tax payers to chip in and that effort has been slow
    3. This whole thing was a marketing ploy and they should have gone with the cosmos or 10 other more qualified teams

    • BrianK says:

      It is a simple bate and switch by the NYC politicians. They know the Arabs and Yankees have boat loads of money. When expansion to NYC was up in the air,…all the local politicians said “yeah,…we will support your efforts to get a stadium. No problem.” As soon as NYCFC was awarded the team and they forked over the expansion fee,…the politicians put their hands and said “on second thought,…this may be a little more difficult,…can you put something in my hand that will make it easier?”

      Obvious what is going on here.

      • Alex H says:

        True, but the NYCFC should have been mature enough to know that this was going to happen and had a contingency plan (i.e., slush fund) in place to deal with it.

  11. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    DC United knows your pain.

  12. Matt says:

    So Miami can’t have a team until they have a signed stadium deal in place, but NY bypassed this step?
    Gotta love the consistency of MLS.

    • Jay says:

      It’s New York lol its in a world by itself it has its own rules and exceptions. Is better to have TV execs happy with NYCFC in a baseball stadium and tv money growing. Then have a soccer stadium in San Antonio and TV execs yawning. Because at the end of the day this is a future long term move not to make soccer purists happy in the short term but to make mls now viable and valuable down the road.

    • SilverRey says:

      I tend to think we rolled over too much to let ManC in. They would have been more motivated to make a new stadium happen in NYC if it was part of the deal to field a team. Now, I really don’t think we’ll see a stadium in this decade.

      I almost feel bad for Lampard having to play his final days in a baseball stadium. It really doesn’t help the bush league image for MLS.

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:


        But we don’t really know the other side. For instance, how much did this help TV money, signing a contract that was many multiple of where it was ?

        If it secured the league for minimum of 5 more years opportunity to grow…is it worth it ?

        I say yes.

        If you are saying no bush league image, so some bush league brains English guy can approve…I don’t care. They are a minor pimple on the world of soccer’s face. If you are worried, that MLS regresses with US fans, sure get em moved out of a temp stadium, but most of those fans understand we don’t have a Man U TV contract handing MLS teams money.

  13. AcidBurn says:

    So wait the initial proposal was for the city to foot $350 mil of the $400 mil price tag for the new stadium? With the money that Man City’s owners has, they should just be able to write a check for that amount and be done with it.

    But yeah. Looks like they should get pretty comfortable in Yankee Stadium as they are going to be there a long time.

    Still wish they would just drop the billion and build it at Pier 40. Now that would be something. But never going to happen in a million years with the nimbys shouting.

    • KFRZ says:

      No. Tax exempt bond does NOT mean the city of NY footsteps the bill. It means that the private investors who buy the NYCFC bonds will be EXEMPT from paying taxes on the income earned. This is nothing new and is done all the time for infrastructure projects across the US. It is often more cost effective to borrow and pay the bill later even if you have a couple billion under your mattress. Corporate Finance 101.

  14. Clyde Frog says:

    Man City Staten Island

  15. Ian says:

    “We remain focused on a downtown Miami location, and we will not expand to Miami unless we have a downtown site for the stadium.”
    -The Don

    Good to know there’s a clear-cut standard for expansion in this league. That standard is money. Lots and lots money.

    • Real Life says:

      Explain the problem to me. Don is maximizing profits for OUR LEAGUE… who is the victim? A bunch of inexperienced chumps who haven’t shown they know what they are doing yet! Rob them blind!!!! These would-be shysters thought they were doing it to MLS… What’s not to love?!?

      Look at Orlando City. Look at Atlanta. So much smarter. Robbing the rich and ignorant is an obligation… because they will rob you otherwise

      • SilverRey says:

        I’m not sold that we are getting the better deal in Atlanta. I know the Son of Home Depot is a soccer fan, but it’s hard to overcome decades of NFL disdain.

        That and turf.

        • Real Life says:

          We are getting a great deal in any case,,, what does “better” have to do with it? These guys accept the losses.

      • Ian says:

        I’m not sure I agree with, or even understand, your point of view as it relates to robbing the rich, etc.

        I will say that the way MLS has chosen to expand into NYC and Atlanta – two markets without pre-established fanbases – looks more like a Ponzi scheme than a wise plan for expansion. NYCFC and Atlanta paid between $70 and $100 million to gain entry into MLS. This supply-side method is less tenable than expanding into cities with proven track records of fan support, i.e. Orlando, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver.

        You’re right about MLS getting a boatload of cash, but what happens with that initial payment dries up and both clubs are drawing inconsistent attendance numbers? The smart money is on cities with vibrant fanbases. “If they come, build it” is a better bet than “If you build it, they will come.” Look at Chivas USA as evidence.

        • Real LIfe says:

          WTF are you talking about? How is Atlanta a Ponzi Scheme?

          • Ian says:

            Atlanta should not be lumped in with NYCFC. After I wrote that, I read on that Atlanta has 14,000 season ticket reservations already. So I stand corrected about Atlanta.

            I still say it’s best to “promote” pre-existing teams, rather than shoehorn franchises into big TV markets, just for the sake of being. MLS TV numbers are still dismally small. Why not continue to focus on soccer hotbeds instead of trying to creating something out of nothing?

            As for how MLS expansion is a Ponzi scheme, the league has been going after big one-time payments, rather than actually building a profitable league. Last I heard, only a handful of teams in MLS are actually turning a profit. Those expansion fees keep things going for a while, but the only way for the league to be successful is through sustainable growth; getting current teams profitable and expanding into cities where fans are practically begging for an MLS club. I don’t see that in New York. And yes, I have heard of NYRB.

            • Real Life says:

              Ok this dude’s clean. Nothing to see here folks… move along. Apologies to you sir.

            • Chad says:

              Last I heard, only a few teams were not profitable. That’s before the huge infusion of TV money next season.

              You’ve heard of NYRB, with one of the least accessible stadiums in MLS, and you haven’t seen any of the EPL watch parties in New York? Fans are dying for a local team, but the screaming and crying isn’t as loud due to EPL availability.

              • FulhamDC says:

                Huh? RBA is on the PATH train and less than 2 miles from 2 major highways. How is that “one of the lease accessible stadiums in MLS”?

        • Real LIfe says:

          And how on earth are they similar to NYC? Are you familiar with NYRB?

      • Stephen Healy says:

        Very true don knows what he’s doing but so does nycfc. Jason kreis is a great manager. David villa will tear the league up and the fact that the team cost 100 million is impressive to casual fans.

  16. RK says:

    Good work, Don. What happened to having a stadium plan first?

    • Chad says:

      Awarding the franchise to NYCFC was a political move to give the final push to the stadium plan that was being pushed through at the time. Unfortunately, the plan died in the web of city politics, and they had to go with a back-up plan.

      Miami has failed once, and the politics are much more toxic there. Hard to blame anyone for not gambling as much there.

  17. K2 says:

    Well, they pigeon-holed themselves with the branding as the “real” NYC team. Turns out there’s a reason Red Bulls are in NJ: Building in NYC is impossible. It’s a damn shame the MLS rejected Cosmos, who plan on building a stadium just on the border of Queens.

    I’m sure NYC’s real team will enjoy playing in a baseball stadium for 10 years while the lessor RBNY fans settle for a very nice SSS.

    • Ian says:

      “…MLS rejected Cosmos, who plan on building a stadium just on the border of Queens.” What makes you think the Cosmos will have better luck than NYCFC?

      • K2 says:

        Well, their proposal for a stadium that appears to be on or near the border of Nassau County and Queens has advanced further than any NYCFC proposal.

        • Ian says:

          So the main difference is NYCFC’s plan to be within the five boroughs, while the Cosmo’s are content to be near the city, but not within it, yes?

        • Joamiq says:

          People aren’t going to be taking the LIRR all the way out from the city to go to Cosmos games. They are Long Island’s team.

          • Jersey Guy says:

            And yet, the Cosmos proposal has been sitting on a desk for almost a year. Looking for Man City Lite to settle on Long Island and the Cosmos leadership to fold up shop.

            The Mo’s are drawing less than 4k/match as savvy Long Islanders recognize that minor-league ball is just that.

            I’m sure MLS is lobbying against the Cosmos plan as the league knows there isn’t enough political will for two soccer stadiums in the five boroughs.

            FACT: There was no groundswell of desire for a second team in NY, and surely no stadium plan. Just a big ‘ol check from Sheik Mansour.

  18. NASL to EL PASO TX says:

    give them a break haters :) they paid 100 million to come in, they have lampard and villa and one open dp spot, and they wil be mls first real world club.
    they will have the best stadium in mls, best team, best market, the most pressure, give them a break.
    on the other hand, new york red bull need to rebrand. its a win win situation if they do, and red bull would make more money :)
    at the end of the day, nycfc will do fine, miami needs time, dc wil get a stadium by latest 2018,rapids-crew-fc dallas-revolution-red bull need to rebrand and mls 3.0 will be here once mls teams have a serious stadium to play at.

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

      Yeah, that is what will happen, NY will approve and build a SOCCER stadium better than what Seattle did. Wrong.

      Turf and all, Seattle will have the best stadium in soccer for a LOOOONG time.

    • slowleftarm says:

      NYCFC may have a great SSS one day but it won’t be in NYC. Now that will be a tough rebrand.

  19. smitty6000 says:

    I don’t think Claudio Reyna is prepared to run a business. He might be able to run the athletic portion of soccer team he’s looked pretty poor at running businesses.

  20. bbstl says:

    This is bad. They are going to be in Yankee Stadium for a very, very long time.

    Does anyone know how their ticket sales have been? Atlanta (2017) has alread sold 14,000+ season tickets.

    • slowleftarm says:

      I think you mean they have deposits for 14,000 tickets. Since I believe that only costs $50 that’s hardly the same thing as selling 14,000 tickets three years in advance.

  21. derek gores says:

    What do I think of this report? It isn’t a report. A guy who owns some land didn’t get called back. At best it is a misleading article headline. These things are a long process, and part of succeeding is pursuing many options. These guys aren’t new at this. They’ll get a winner.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      Excuse me… they aren’t new at this? Explain to me what other stadium they have built in the US. Ever tried getting infrastructure sited, permitted, constructed and financed here? Neither have they, and it shows. New York isn’t as impressed by amateurish billionaires as you might think. They’ve seen it before.

      You are right that it is a long and difficult process… and that’s why you start it BEFORE you get yourself stuck by paying a massive franchise fee. Because once you have, you are in a terrible negotiating position— New York is home to the most intelligent and brutal negotiators on the planet, and anybody they will deal with knows they are desperate and have no walk-away option.

      I have seen this happen so many times in my own work…. it really is nothing new, and the Beckham group has made the same mistake in Miami.

      • don Lamb says:

        The only problem with your point is that they DO have a stadium right now, which makes their position fairly strong. They can walk away from any offer knowing that they are set for the next 3-4 years.

        • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

          It makes it better than Miami’s… but it hardly makes it strong. Everybody they negotiate with will know that Yankee Stadium is not a sufficient permanent solution for them. Their cards are face-up… nobody will believe that “they are perfectly happy where they are”, and that every headline like the one above is further egg on their brand.

  22. Rick says:

    These guys have all the blood-soaked money any man could ask for, yet they’re still looking for tax exempt bonds and tax subsidies.


    Gouge them. Make them pay through the nose, and if they don’t like it they can go to Westchester or Long Island. They’ve painted themselves into a corner with this “City” thing. They have no un-embarrasing options.

  23. bryan says:

    so when i read the article, nothing strikes me as the deal for this site being dead. it seems that NYCFC have just drastically reduced their level of effort on figuring this out. my guess is they realize they need to divert internal resources to building a team, among other must-have projects, in time for the start of the 2015 season. they have Yankee Stadium, and even if it is less than ideal, it works. maybe NYCFC is fed up with the administration and are holding off, as someone above mentioned.

    either way, it seems all the parties who own the sites the stadium would be built on are open to the idea but it’s NYCFC who has put a hold on moving forward. maybe they got the info they needed and are going to focus on more pressing matters for their short-term goals. total speculation, but this doesn’t read the same to me as what is going on in Miami where it is clear no one is interested in a stadium being built.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      It is basically the exact same thing as Miami, except the NYCFC guys at least have an interim solution. Both organizations made the novice mistake of committing themselves without securing siting. As you have observed, NYCFC has decided to “cool their heels” and try their luck at building some goodwill for the team through successful operations. But both have painted themselves into terrible negotiating positions through their own fault.

      • bryan says:

        i think having an interim solution makes it different and of course Miami doesn’t have actually have a team without a stadium in downtown. so at least that’s a positive and, to me, a drastic difference.

        what i’m saying is, in Miami, the first site was immediately shot down and a coalition against it was formed. then Plan B was met with a resounding, “No” after word got out.

        in NYCFC, the elevator guy seems up to it, the parking lot people seem up for it, and if they just commit to private financing, it seems the public isn’t vehemently opposed to it, like Miami’s Plan B. to me, that is much more than anything Miami has on the table.

        as far as PR and negotiating positions, i certainly can see how you are drawing the comparison between NYCFC and Miami.

  24. InkedAG says:

    Oh, Don Garber. If only you and your management team were more pragmatic and gotten a stadium first instead of taking the money and run, NYCFC probably wouldn’t have been suck a friggin mess. You should have learned your lesson from the RB fiasco in New Jersey.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      Why Don Garber? He doesn’t own the non-team… he could care less. He just collects the money. If NYCFC don’t come through, he can sell another franchise in NY. I can think of at least one waiting in the wings.

    • don Lamb says:

      They DO have a stadium!

  25. Brain Guy says:

    Reminiscent of the Cosmos in the early 70s. Unfortunately, this is a different league and a different era. The silver lining is that RBNY may look good by comparison. Noisy neighbors indeed.

  26. Joamiq says:

    By year 3 of 5-7 in Yankee Stadium, the buzz surrounding this team will be gone.

  27. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:


  28. Ben says:

    Forget about man city lite, NY is #CosmosCountry

  29. Alex says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that a SSS right next door to Yankee Stadium would be the best thing possible? It sounds like NYCFC just doesn’t want to be there – as if they think they actually have a shot at Manhattan or something. Call me crazy, but I think they should just work as hard as possible on the Yankee location. The stop can just be call 161st Street-Stadiums rather than just for the Yankees.

    The situation seems ideal – there’s nothing there but parking lots, the transit infrastructure is there, the current landowner wants to sell. What is wrong with this situation besides NYCFC dragging their feet?

    Seems like they are looking a gift horse in the mouth.

  30. AP says: