Yankee Stadium, Not Queens, Will Host New MLS Team, Mayor Says
By Bryan Graham on July 15, 2013 9:55am
NEW YORK CITY — It has yet to be officially announced where New York City F.C. will call home when the new Major League Soccer franchise begins play in 2015.
But the mayor casually revealed that Yankee Stadium will be the home for the new soccer team during his weekly radio address Sunday touting New York's status as a "global sports mecca" ahead of this week's MLB All-Star Game.
"Just look at our three newest sports arenas: the new Yankee Stadium; the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets; and the Mets' home base, Citi Field. Each pumps millions of dollars into our economy with every game they host. And each venue is gearing up to play an even bigger role in our city’s economy,” said Bloomberg, according to a transcript that was amended roughly one hour after it was posted on his website.
"Yankee Stadium will become the home of the New York City Football Club, the first soccer club in the five boroughs since the 1970s," Bloomberg said. "Barclays will add the New York Islanders to its roster in 2015. And, of course, Citi Field is hosting Tuesday’s All-Star Game.”
A Google cache version of the transcript page reveals Bloomberg's original remarks, which did not indicate whether the team would play at Yankee Stadium on a temporary or permanent basis.
Julie Wood, a spokesperson for the mayor, characterized Bloomberg's original remarks as an overstatement.
"The script for the Mayor's radio address on Sunday overstated the possibility that the New York Football Club could play some games at Yankee Stadium while they search for a permanent home," she said Monday. "No decision has been made on where they will play."
In May, Major League Soccer announced the Yankees would team with Manchester City of the English Premier League to co-operate the league's 20th team.
It had been posited the team would play at Yankee Stadium temporarily in 2015 while plans for a permanent home — thought to be in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park — were sorted out.
Yet with no immediate deal in sight, the league said in May it would consider other sites beyond Queens.
Last month, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent a letter to MLS Commissioner Don Garber urging the league to consider housing the team in the city's northernmost borough.
The current Yankee Stadium has hosted four soccer matches since opening in 2009, including two this year: an exhibition between Chelsea and Manchester City in May and an international friendly between Spain and Ireland last month.
The original building played host to some of the world's most famous clubs, among them FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur. It was also Pele's home venue when he captained the NASL's New York Cosmos in 1976.