Soccer in New York

The big news story of the day was the announcement that the Cosmos will begin play in the second division NASL beginning in 2013.  The team will play at Hofstra University on Long Island.   The business implications of the news are an open question.   The Cosmos name certainly carries a certain amount of cache, yet previous efforts in the last couple of years to monetize that cache have failed miserably.   The quoted article suggests that Pele and Giovanni Savarese will retain roles in the club.  The current ownership structure is a bit murky, but the team certainly has higher ambitions than the NASL.

That is what makes this story so interesting.  The formation of a new second division team isn’t necessarily big news in American soccer news.  Yet Major League Soccer has made no secret of its wish to add a second New York team.   Commissioner Garber felt compelled, via e-mail and tweet, to weigh in on the news. From the New York Times,

“We welcome the Cosmos’ entrance to the N.A.S.L.,” the M.L.S. Commissioner Don Garber said in an email. “Having a vibrant second division is important to the overall growth and popularity of soccer in North America, and we are pleased to see the N.A.S.L. add a new franchise.” “Major League Soccer remains committed to securing an expansion team in New York City. The current focus is on exploring a stadium site, but we will continue discussions with several potential ownership groups, including the Cosmos, about the possibility of joining the efforts to bring a second M.L.S. team to New York.”

Some time ago we reported that Major League Soccer’s efforts to place a team in New York had pivoted to focus on stadium location rather than owner.  The league had made a concerted decision to seal a stadium location before finding a willing owner.  Recently the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the league has settled on a location in Queens near the US Tennis Center and Citi Field.  MLS is reportedly in talks with various municipal officials about the prospect of the privately financed stadium.   The league is determined to place a team in New York, and the subway accessible Queens location is probably a good location.  There are many hurdles before a deal can be finalized, but the league has its sights set on Queens and this story bears following.

Is a move from Long Island in the future for the Cosmos?