by JAKE NUTTING
Media magnate Rocco B. Commisso has officially purchased a majority stake in the New York Cosmos and will serve as the team’s chairman moving forward.
The Cosmos made the news official with a press release ahead of the Mediacom Communications CEO and Chairman’s first comments to media members in a conference call Tuesday morning.
“Like so many of our fantastic fans, I have followed the Cosmos since the fabulous days of Pelé, Chinaglia, Alberto, and Beckenbauer,” said Commisso. “With my deep roots in the New York City area as a former player, youth coach, and proud supporter of the Columbia University soccer program, I look forward to building on the rich history of America’s most iconic soccer club.”
Also verified in the release is that when the team takes the field for the 2017 North American Soccer League Season, it will once again be lead by Giovanni Savarese. The Cosmos head coach was one of the few employees left under contract for the team after most of the front office staff were laid and players were released. Savarese had continued working to find new homes for the players, but his focus will now shift toward rebuilding the depleted roster before the season kicks off in April.
“Cosmos fans deserve a world class experience,” said Savarese. “I am thrilled Rocco is giving me the opportunity to continue as head coach to pursue our fourth championship in five years.”
The sale was finalized just a few days after the NASL confirmed it would be returning in 2017 after securing provisional sanctioning to remain in the second division. Commisso was reportedly only interested in the Cosmos if they remained in the NASL and in the second division.
Outgoing Cosmos Chairman Seamus O’brien noted Commisso ticks the boxes the team was looking to find in a new owner.
“We’ve worked hard to secure a positive future for the club and Rocco is the perfect person to lead the continued renaissance,” said O’Brien. “He is not only extremely knowledgeable about the beautiful game as it is played worldwide, but brings extensive entrepreneurial experience in the media and communications business to the organization.”