NYCFC, Cosmos Should Pursue A Shared Stadium Plan

COSMOS BELMONT STADIUM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

Both New York City FC and the New York Cosmos have a similar problem, with little wiggle room for error. Neither of them has a home and both of them are quickly running out of options in an increasingly difficult real estate market.

Recently, NYCFC have turned their attention towards the Aqueduct Racetrack; a 22-acre piece of land that currently houses New York City’s only proper Casino. It is the third major initiative by the club for stadium land, starting with their Flushing Meadows ambitions and then leading towards the failed purchase of property in the South Bronx.

The Aqueduct will be no shoe-in, with local politicians already giving lukewarm responses to its potential construction.

Meanwhile, the Cosmos are nearing year two on their Elmont Crossing Proposal; a full-on redevelopment deal that includes, at its heart, a 25k seat stadium. Answering a state solicitation, this is clearly the most direct path towards building an Arena, but even that is no guarantee.

With the Belmont site touching the border of Queens, and the Aqueduct in play, is there any reason why both clubs shouldn’t pursue a joint solution to their identical problem?

It Has Worked Before

Despite what many may think, the idea of shared venues is something that has been successfully accomplished in American sports and has proven to be equally beneficial to the franchises involved.

The NFL, NBA and NHL have all found success sharing venues, so why is there any belief that two soccer teams would be different? Look no further than the New York Giants and New York Jets, who have shared in massive revenues from the new state-of-the-art Metlife Stadium. The new digs not only helped garner record season ticket sales, but also grabbed other major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and international soccer friendlies.

All of these things, aside from hosting a Super Bowl, are possible for the Cosmos and NYCFC. Over fifty games between them can guarantee constant use and a steady stream of revenue, further expanding the usage and commerce of any potential stadium site.

A Combined Stadium Means Constant Action

For NYCFC, the hope of grabbing a location in the Bronx has taken a severe step in the wrong direction. So much so that the new organization is already looking at alternatives, eying the Aquaduct Racetrack as a real possibility. Not only has it already been zoned off for entertainment but, as previously stated, the area around the Resort World Casino is in desperate need of rejuvenation. By themselves, NYCFC can promise no more than twenty-five to thirty games a year. With the Cosmos, that grows to a near-sixty games — and that doesn’t include potential friendlies (something that Red Bull Arena has only moderately taken advantage of).

The location may not be perfect, but it is accessible by the MTA (something that Red Bull Arena has going against it). Midweek games could see easier transportation routes with less travel for people in the five boroughs, leading to more people in the seats with more games to choose from.

If the Aqueduct isn’t an option, then maybe Belmont is. Having the backing of a Sheik Mansour and the promise of both MLS and NASL action would be a huge boon to the redevelopment plans of Elmont, bringing not one, but two professional leagues to Long Island; two more than they will have next year.

In essence, a duel purpose soccer stadium could become a hub for the World’s Game in the World’s City.

Let Go of the Idea that NYCFC and the Cosmos Are Enemies

The idea that NYCFC and the Cosmos are on opposing ends of some sort of power struggle has been exaggerated greatly.

Overall, there is no competition. The Cosmos and both New York MLS sides can exist, co-exist and succeed the same way every other sport in New York has succeed with multiple franchises. Should they combine their efforts, the Cosmos would never need to worry about dueling home fixtures and effectively eliminate the need to counter promote. Similar to the Giants and Jets, the Cosmos and NYCFC would dig in to their own fanbases and effectively play off of each other to grow their start-up efforts.

In effect, they would be combining their wallets in order to spread the word of New York soccer. They could even promote a yearly friendly between the sides similar to how the Jets and Giants handle their preseason games.

Any animosity that may exist is fan created. As businesses, the Cosmos and NYCFC couldn’t be more different. Their leagues and structures make it more possible to coexist than ever before. The NASL has a laissez-faire approach to team spending. While never revealed, the Cosmos more than likely have a player payroll similar to an MLS side despite playing in the 2nd division. They have the ability to spend money in ways that NYCFC can only dream of. On the flipside, NYCFC has SUM and the tremendous machine that is MLS.

Combined, both sides could do what US Soccer has always hoped for by effectively creating a soccer haven within the boundaries of New York City.

All they have to do is work together to make it happen.

  • Anonymous

    Well written, but I snorted by drink out through my nose when I read this.

  • LOL

    So pretty much, this benefits the Cosmos. This site is a joke.

    • Not my piece, but have to say this wouldn’t just benefit the Cosmos. If Aqueduct doesn’t happen, which again, is no guarantee, having MLS backing at Elmont would be huge for all parties involved and give both teams a direct pipeline towards a new home. Pipe dream? Maybe. But certainly an interesting take.

  • Anthony

    no, no they should not. Not as long as MLS says no to Cosmos in MLS

  • Screw NYCFC & MLS

    MLS made their bed with this garbage when they could have had everyone altogether & on the same page, but greed won out. To not have a stadium plan in place when all this went down is on them & i hope it puts the nail in MLS & those idiot owners who could careless about soccer. Soccer isn’t about franchises, it about local people following their local team with players they can identify with. MLS soccer is nothing more than a McDonalds & you can find those all over the map, they feed you the same crap day in day out & you mindlessly destroy yourself supporting something that gives you absolutely nothing in return but an empty wallet.

    • The real Stan

      Cry me a river, soccer is the way MLS says it will be in this country

      • Screw NYCFC & MLS

        Spoken like true mindless follower.

        • NYsoccerfan

          Back in the real world, there are local fans who support grassroots soccer in this country and that includes their local MLS team.

          You sound like some old bitter old bastard living in a fantasy world. Screw you troll.

  • No chance, noi non siamo manchester city. I don’t want MLS/Garber dumping their trash money grab of a franchise in my neighborhood. People out here still remember the opposition to the MLS to Queens bid, MLS would probably end up hurting our bid. Plus why would we want to help MLS at all? Mos or Muerte…

  • TM

    There would be large support for nixing the Willets West Megamall and putting a soccer stadium next to Citifield. Many of the groups that fought a Flushing Meadows location would support it there.

    But regardless of location, is there any feasibility to a triple tenant soccer stadium? I’d love to see a NWSL franchise play there as well.

    • Anthony J. Merced

      I think the more use a stadium gets the better for the franchises involved. Red Bull Arena is gorgeous but, in my opinion, it is extremely under utilized. It barely holds five friendlies a year. A shared stadium could be a soccer hub for New York and a new New York destination.

  • Geff Gardner

    Red Bull Arena may not be accessible directly through MTA as stated in the article, but it’s literally across the street from a PATH station which is only about a 15-20 minute ride from Manhattan, and a 2 minute ride from Penn Station in Newark, so it’s not like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Plenty of public transportation options.

    • Myles

      Yeah, but you’re thinking like a Manhattanite. Or Brooklynite. As someone who has to brave the F train (it’s given that letter for a REASON) every day to Midtown and back to Jamaica, it’s absolutely terrible. And that’s when rush hour trains run every five minutes — it’s about an hour on a good day. That’s also not counting the various other buses in Queens you need to catch to get home. To go to Penn and then even farther out across the Styx into Jersey? Not worth it. That’s why Queens people (Queensers? Queenites? …Queens?) and Long Islanders (among other reasons) don’t go to Red Bull Arena often. There are options, all of them terrible.

      And don’t you dare say anything about the LIRR. That thing is a rickety cash-grab.

  • Ben

    NO, NO, NO.

    I don’t want a San Siro here in New York and especially sharing it with Man City Lite

  • Stopher

    I respect the opinion, but I have to disagree. You’re right that it makes all the sense in the world logistically, financially, and in terms of actually getting something done. However, if you put an MLS team and an NASL team in the same building, the perception is you have a major league team and their minor league affiliate. For the Cosmos, the whole point of getting a stadium is to become major players on the NY soccer scene. Since they are in a lower league, that means they need a different edge on their competition. If they share the same facilities, they’re just going to be forever relegated to “the other team” at NYCFC Stadium. Might as well be a USL affiliate at that point. I know some of you will probably think this sounds great, but for Cosmos fans and Cosmos ownership, this is not what the project is about.

  • Patrick

    I’m confident I speak for all of the Five Points when I say, NYCFC and The Third Rail will never ever be welcome to stand in the same stands we call home. Whether it be Belmont or at Hofstra or wherever we end up, our home will never be anything but your hell.

    **** off City.

  • Ive heard this idea spewed out by people before and I respond the same way each time I hear it – “NO FREAKING WAY!”.
    If the Cosmos build a stadium it would get more use than just home games. You forget that the plans that Cosmos have are not just for a stadium but also an adjacent shopping mall, hotels, restaurants and recreational playgrounds. The site will be utizilized all year round – believe it.
    In addition Nassau and queens need a place to host their respective college and HS soccer championships. This would be a place where they could do that. I gurarantee you if the stadium is built the Cosmos academy would have new ground to hold their workouts.

    This suggestion favors NYCFC considerably more than the Cosmos. Why? Because the Cosmos have bigger plans than just a stadium and have much bigger plans than ever wanting to be in MLS. NYCFC doesn’t have a clue on anything and the longer things drag out for them – the more dire things look for them. The stadium is part of the NY Cosmos vision which is larger than MLS. For NYCFC, a stadium is well…just a stadium to fulfill what should already have been done before being a part of MLS.
    If sharing a stadium was the last thing left in the world, I would rather watch the Cosmos continue playing in Hofstra any day!

  • Aqueduct isn’t “in play”, dingy.

  • Steve

    Interesting idea, but this would hurt the Cosmos. The Cosmos won’t be able to draw fans when their is a much better team in a top flight league that plays in the same building. They may “share” the stadium, but would be treated more like tenants.

    • Screw NYCFC & MLS

      “Top Flight’ ha you made me laugh man !

  • MP Vaughan

    Wait Cosmos are building a 25k stadium. They get less than 4k a game, which is actually surprising for a minor league team playing in Long Island. I don’t get why this team exists. Totally pointless and laughable that anyone tries to put this clown club on the level of RBNY or NYCFC. What a joke.

    • Screw NYCFC & MLS

      on the level of NYCFC ? exactly what level have they achieved, as far as i know they haven’t even trained together.

  • MP Vaughan

    Having read the comments, I am truly baffled by the anti-MLS comments by Hempstead Cosmos supporters. What on Earth are you people talking about? What is Cosmos’ “vision” that I am hearing about? Laughable.

    • Screw NYCFC & MLS

      Well when all you do is read MLS .com you probably might think that way but soccer does exist besides MLS & it has numerous supporters. Fucking Casual !

      • Real clubs like the Cosmos should have NOTHING to do with McDonald’s League Soccer.

  • Anonymous

    “The Cosmos vision is bigger than MLS.” What a joke. LMAO.

    • Educate yourself on the NASL’s long term goals, and you might get a clue.

  • steveS

    Thanks for the laugh! The NASL doesn’t have a laissez-faire approach to spending. They do not have to. No one spends!!! The players average around 20k a year. Any D2 club spending a lot in payroll will quickly go out of business. Are you honestly telling me the Cosmos have a similar payroll to a MLS club? Are you an idiot? MLS clubs spend $5-10 million. The Cosmos do not sniff that and never will. Give me numbers to back up your statements! Where are their big money players? They have the ability to spend money NYCFC can only dream of? Are you high? They couldn’t even sign Raul and draw 3k a game. The Cosmos are done. Fans don’t care about a minor league soccer team which is neing proven at the gate and in the media.

    Seriously, this was an awful article and embarrassment. NYCFC is a major league team and will have nothing to do with the struggling Cosmos. Stick a fork in them.

    • Dan V.

      SteveS, you should educate yourself on the cosmos roster before running your mouth. Senna, Ayoze, Roversio, and Stokkelien are high pay players compared to MLS DP contracts. The rest of the roster were MLS players, such as Freeman, Mendes, Mwanga, Lade, etc. Cosmos would have signed Raul but he wanted to stay with the middle eastern team through their champions league campaign. Cosmos destroyed the Red Bulls 1st team on almost every front if you watched the US Open Cup game, which I’m sure you didn’t. The attendance woes while visibly obvious have more to do with the venue then the team. Hofstra University’s stadium is far from the atmosphere of a top tier stadium.
      While I also do not agree with this article because I believe the Cosmos have their own plans and agenda , and are really caring more about World Competition via Champions League and Club World Cup, I wouldnt expect you to understand that or anything. In other words educate yourself because currently you are a retard.

      • MP Vaughan

        RBNY’s first team? In the Cosmos match, they were missing Henry, Olave, Cahill and Dax. They clearly didn’t care, unlike the Cosmos who treated it like the world cup final, only to get immediately bounced by the next MLS team they played. They couldn’t even win the minor league they’re in this spring, let along compete in MLS. Once NYCFC picks up the remaining soccer fans in the city, Cosmos will be lucky to draw 1k, just the hipster flailing against MLS for some unknown reason.

        But seriously, if you want to explain to me why Cosmos and NASL is so awesome and MLS is so bad, please do so, I would love to hear it. I’ve never found any Cosmos type who could explain it without becoming emotional and enraged.

  • Cosmos bench players get paid more than an MLS player 4 years into playing in MLS sooooooo…

  • Steve S – MLS fans like yourselves make it pretty easy for real soccer fans to make fun of you. Learn the beautiful game because it is far bigger and has many more components than MLS has.

    First, MLS is like no other league in the world. The rest of the world has a hard time taking MLS serious because of its shenanigans – believe that because its the truth. NYCFC is a joke as well. The fact that you spend millions on advertising doesn’t make you a great team. You haven’t played a match yet and you won’t even play on a real soccer pitch. You are owned by a team in the English Premier League and NYCFC will forever be considered a farm team until they win their own championships. Even if they were to win an MLS cup – how worthy is that when there is no promotion or relegation in the US? Its the same 20 clubs battling year in and year out – boring.

    Now as far as salaries go, NASL teams do not have a salary cap in place. They can pay their players whatever they want. I guarantee you that most if not all of the players on the Cosmos get paid more than most players in MLS (exception being the DPs). I wish I could provide numbers but the NASL does not make that public.

    Further let me remind you of a match that happened back in June – you may not have been paying attention but those same Cosmos that you insulted, anhiliated the Red Bulls 3-0. They dominated that match so much that it was one of the more lopsided matches that I have seen in a while. Those same Cosmos came within a horrible call of beating the Philadelphia Union, the same team that made the final of the US Open Cup.
    Attendance may be difficult right now playing at Hofstra but educate yourself before you put down a club or even a league.

    • MP Vaughan

      That was not the RBNY first team. Please stop with that nonsense. No Henry, Cahill, Olave, Miller or Dax. That’s half the team!

      • Senna didn’t play !

        As well as a few other Cosmos if i recall. So pipe down funny guy !

  • Harry Davis

    This is a win win situation for both clubs. Great idea…………………………

  • chepe pedos

    the Cosmos vision is much bigger than MLS, the name alone and history helps them ac hieve their goals faster than any MLS team. NASL rules are an advantage for the Cosmos . that goal is to become the best soccer team in all of north america, and they can.

    • MP Vaughan

      How can they be the best team in North America playing in a minor league in front of 3k fans a game in some college stadium on Long Island? Answer: they can’t.

  • Rufus T firefly

    What difference would it make? The fake cosmos will be out of business in a year or two anyway! Hang on fanboys, thrice in a lifetime is right around the corner in the npsl. LOL!

    • I will take that bet

      Put your money where your ass hole is Rufus !

      • Rufus T firefly

        the cardboard cosmos are a dead team walking. Face it, they’re ready to close up shop. nobody cares and nobody will miss them. miss them? nobody in nyc even knows they’re around.

        • reply to Rufus the asshat !

          So why are they folding ? NASL is growing, Strikers got new owners today with pretty good money. Seems like the league is growing,each club is growing. What crawled up you ass died Rufus ? Was it Stan maybe ?

          • Rufus T Firefly

            LOL. dude the north american soccer little league blows.

            • Hey Idiot

              Why are they folding ? Still waiting ? Your just one of those MLS fans that over compensates by thinking MLS is big league ! If anything blows around here it’s probably you.

              • Rufus T Firefly

                boo hoo hoo. why can’t you just accept the nasl is a bush league? ft lauderdale getting new owners only means they don’t have to trade players for free hotel rooms anymore. lmffao! if you think the fake cosmos are going to survive getting 2000 idiots to attend games at the lacrosse stadium you’re a retard,

                • Anonymous

                  You said they’re folding in a couple of years. Is that just based on Hofstra ? if so you really are an idiot. Do your homework & check on some of the reason for low attendance this year. I know it’s no the best but this Club is completing it’s first full year of any kind in a long ass time. The model for soccer in NY is putting talent on the fiel & winning, if you do that people will always fill the Stadium. Your just one of those dickheads that supports something because of MLS. Last time i checked MLS was riddled with it’s own problems that they care to share with us on a daily basis ! So you keep being a total dick & we will keep building a real soccer club & continue to support a growing league without all the bullshit rules & make up rules thrown in !

                  • Rufus T Firefly

                    bull ****. the cardboard cosmos and the rest of the nasl are bush league and will be out of business soon. make all the half assed excuses you want but nobody in ny gives a **** about the cosmos. that’s why shuart stadium is empty night after night. They’re a sham, a bust and everybody laugh at idiots like you. cosmos suck ass

                    • Any time you want Bitch !

                      Tell me why they’re going to fold douche bag ? Still waiting ? They suck ass so much they Won 2 trophies in a half a season. You make no sense. You just another ******* spewing random stupidity. Assholes like you make me laugh because your all talk ! Cardboard Cosmos > your a 1 trick pony with your insults. The only sham here is you mother fucker !

  • sport fan

    Now here’s a plan b better than the Bronx plan. one that doesn’t involve demolition, and shovel ready. lets play guys.

    • sport fan

      Still like the Bronx plan. Mass transit the D line the no.4, the railroad station, interstates 87, 95, ample parking, shopping mall, sports shops and sport related clubs already in place, this is a dream. Gall manufacturing looking to relocate to a larger facility (within the city confines) of course. Can be assisted financially by the soccer clubs. No little town blues for us, I want to be a part of it. Aqueduct a great second choice. So would Willets point. Just threw that out there.

  • You can go **** yourself for starters. I laugh at you insulting idea. To try and help the farm club is laughable at best.. No way they jump on our hard work for a stadium.. No way we help donny garbers baby farm club project when all this cancer laced scum bag has done every thing to derail the cosmos and destroy the nasl.. **** em… They can fold for all i care i dont give 2 shits about them so they can continue to be at yankee stadium long after we build our home…. The farm club is our competition and we need to take our competition by the throat and squeez the living lufe out of it at every opportunity….

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