NYCFC Remain in Limbo on Playoff Venue

Matt Kremkau

NYCFC logoNew York City FC is still unsure where it will play its home playoff game.

Thanks to a combination of uncertainty over where they will finish in the Eastern Conference standings and the New York Yankees remaining in the postseason, NYCFC could play its playoff game almost anywhere. Yankee Stadium may or may not be available depending on if and when the Yankees are eliminated. Because NYCFC also doesn’t know where or when it is playing, the club cannot complete any agreements until after Sunday’s game.

If City defeats Columbus Crew Sunday at Citi Field then it would finish in second place in and host the second leg of the conference semifinal on Nov. 1. If the Yankees fail to reach the World Series, then the playoff game is likely to remain at Yankee Stadium since there would be at least a 10 days for stadium workers to convert the stadium for soccer.

“We don’t know yet what the playoff scenario will be yet,” the club president Jon Patricof said. “We’ll have to see how it goes. It’s a huge game, the most important game of the season and clearly there’s a lot riding on it. It’s safe to say that we’re hard at work on all the contingency plans with both how the Yankees do and how we do on Sunday.”

Things get complicated if NYCFC falls out of the top two, which could happen if it fails to win on Sunday. City would host a play-in game on either Oct. 25 or 26 at a venue to be determined, Patricof said. Citi Field was being considered for at least the play-in game, he added, if the Yankees are still using Yankee Stadium. Citi Field could potentially host both the play-in and first leg of the conference semifinal, scheduled for Oct. 30 or 31.

Should NYCFC lose on Sunday, it could fall to fourth or fifth and be forced to travel for a play-in game. If City wins, it would be at home on Oct. 30 or 31, again possibly at Yankee Stadium or at an alternative venue.

The nightmare scenario for City could potentially involve it winning on Sunday and the Yankees winning the American League Championship Series. Yankee Stadium would likely be unavailable for Nov. 1 and Citi Field may also be unavailable because of a previously scheduled golf event set for that weekend.

This October has been the first instance in which the Yankees and NYCFC both made the playoffs. Baseball analysts are confident the Yankees will be in postseason contention again next year and City is likely to contend for a third consecutive playoff berth next year. Patricof said past club presidents have had to dedicate time to planning for a situation like this and he will have to do the same next year.

“This is a new phase we entered in the last six weeks since the Hartford match,” he said. “We’ve always talked about and known that this is a possibility. Each time it comes up, it’s a separate case in a case-by-case basis. Now that it’s actually happened, I think that going forward, we’re going to have even more investment in time in contingency planning.”