Cosmos Corner: The Stadium Means Everything

COSMOS BELMONT STADIUM

ANTHONY MERCED
Staff Writer

The New York Cosmos are no different from most New Yorkers. They’re renting a comfortable but small space with the intent of owning their own home before long.

Much like anyone in the market for a new home, location is key. There needs to be easy access to the city by public transit, places for guests to park their car should they drive in and the neighborhood should have a safe atmosphere that will make people want to stay late or show up early.  The New York Red Bulls have found this to be a somewhat problematic proposition. While their stadium is easily one of the best in North America, transportation has been a problem and the neighborhood surrounding it is underdeveloped. The Cosmos would certainly want to avoid these issues when looking to lay down their roots.

The proposed solution sits on the border of New York City and Long Island. A plot of land next to the racetrack in Belmont is the target, with the effort focusing on building more than just a stadium. A new train station and new local restaurants hold the greatest chance of making it a destination more than a sports complex. Should that be approved, the Cosmos would break the mold set by MLS teams in North America; hey would be self sustaining and prove that significant investment could and should be warranted. Ticket sales, luxury boxes, stadium naming rights and non-soccer events could put the team on a level with other professional teams in the city.

The ultimate question is whether it will get done.

No one doubts the grand appeal of the New York Cosmos. However, there is significant doubt about the future of the NASL. There isn’t much the Cosmos can do about the league’s structure. They can advise, but in the end, the Cosmos can only do so much to draw attention to the league. Their job is to bring attention to their club first and foremost. The attendance is not great, major networks aren’t grabbing games for national syndication, and teams aren’t showing on-field progress (new teams excluded). Should the stadium be approved, the league would need to provide the structural support to help the Cosmos provide a competitive television product.

The NASL may be hoping that the Cosmos’ success rubs off on their brand and it might — to an extent. However, the team’s legacy and history has far surpassed the league’s historical interest on a casual fan level. On top of this, the team may take a spot in the MLS leaving the NASL without its flagship franchise. Either way, that support and proof of longevity is paramount when looking for stadium approval.

Competitive success on the field has never been an issue for the team. The last great frontier would be to prove that they are a moneymaking entity and impervious to the faults of the league that currently houses them. Doing that will only further their efforts to land that elusive piece of land in Elmont, and assure that the moniker “Twice in a Lifetime” becomes more than just a marketing slogan.

  • Anthony

    Agreed. I’ve never doubted the NY Cosmos as an organization (post PK) to be top notch and a legitimate continuation of the championship history…they have done splendid thus far given their constraints. But I have always been wary of NASL…while there are some good franchises and some overall positive developments, that league right now makes me a little nervous.

  • Zac

    They have explained the what and the where on the stadium but not the why…400M for a 2nd division team that plays in a league that currently has very limited regional exposure seems insane.
    The team has done very well to build something on LI and have maximized their efforts, but they will be in the shadow of RBNY and NYCFC as long as they are playing against little known 2nd division clubs every week.

    • Chinaglia once said “they had small minds, they thought i would ask for a transfer” Think about that !

  • The real Stan

    Really good read, but 400m? man MLS needs to just let them in if they can get this done. I’m a RBNY, Cosmos, and MLS fan, I could care less about the NASL

    • jspech

      burn bulls burn or is that Dallas

  • Seems that the future of the NASL is in jeopardy. @USLPro in partnership with #MLS and already having soccer specific structures is securing their way as a solid second tier league.