New York City FC to play at temporary location for "two years, maybe three"
NEW YORK — After the unveiling of New York City FC as the newest MLS expansion team on Tuesday, the focus immediately turned to the stadium the club will call home when NYCFC kick off in April 2015.
Manchester City and baseball giants New York Yankees have partnered to own the new club and will work together to identify and construct a permanent home. Until then, the club will play in a temporary home.
"We will have to play in a temporary location for two years, maybe three," Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano said to a gathering of reporters on Tuesday. "We'll see. And we have several options for that. There are many big stadiums in New York."
Could that home by Yankee Stadium, where Manchester City will play against Chelsea in a friendly this weekend?
"This is Day 1," said Yankees president Randy Levine. "We basically just got into this. We're going to rely heavily on the league and on Manchester City. Yankee Stadium is an option, as are many places. We'll talk to [Manchester City] and we'll go from there.
"We just got into this and we're going to work throughout the process of our partner," Levine continued. "But we have a lot of expertise in getting stadiums done and getting them done in a way that makes the community satisfied and happy and all the stakeholders are happy."
The league has led discussions with city officials for more than a year on potential stadium sites and the recent focus was a stadium in Flushing Meadows. Manchester City will now take the lead on that process and work with the Yankees on a permanent stadium solution for New York City FC.
"The league had been working with the city of New York for quite some time on a stadium plan in Queens," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who noted that MLS teams have often played in temporary homes before moving into a permanent soccer stadium.
"That plan is one we've all spent a great deal of time trying to put together. That was before we had finalized a relationship with Man City and the Yankees, who will have their own process and take their own time to ensure that they put together the right type of home for their club."
Soriano believes that the club's experience with the City of Manchester on the Etihad Stadium will lay the groundwork for the way forward with communities in New York City.
"You know very well what happened in Manchester and how well the process was carried and how embraced the Etihad Stadium is in the Manchester community," Soriano said. "We want to do the same thing here. We're not looking for a place to play. We're looking for a home. So we need the local community to embrace us, to be our family and we're taking it from there.
"We know that the league and the city have been working on this potential stadium. We'll continue these discussions and we will look at other options.
"And at the end of the day what we want is to listen to everybody, listen to the local stakeholders and find a place to play, a place to build a stadium that is not going to be a stadium, but is going to be our home for us."