First it was Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz blurting out his willingness to take on the Queens MLS project somewhere in the Kings borough if local residents opposed the idea. Now, it’s former MLS franchise contenders the New York Mets offering another viable option for the endeavor.
Major League Soccer’s message? No thanks.
The Daily News says the Mets are very interested in allowing a 20th MLS team to call Citifield home according to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria). Mets spokesperson Jay Horwitz claimed the team would be “open” to the possibility which would bring a needed increase in revenue for the financially burdened organization.
Vallone is running for Borough President; a position long held by Helen Marshall. Seeking to take a middle ground in what will surely be a contentious battle between NIMBY groups and Major League Soccer this year, he threw his support behind the idea that would allow local residents “to keep the parkland and we get Major League Soccer in Queens.”
MLS officials called the idea a “non-starter.”
For MLS Commissioner Don Garber, these latest political salvos impede upon the league’s ultimate goal of securing a home where the unoccupied and unused “Pond of Industry” lies. MLS has spent millions of dollars in their efforts to promote the proposal already and have secured strong political capital in pushing the project forward.
The league itself has made it clear; any new franchise needs to have their own specific home grounds. A ground sharing deal would not only go against the leagues tenet but also significantly reduce the potential economic impact which has drawn their enviable political support to begin with.
“The long-term economic impact would be significantly different,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), a strong, leading proponent for the stadium told the News.
If Moya takes that stance, others would surely follow.
Major League Soccer has set a timeline to land a second New York franchise within Flushing Meadow by the league’s 2016 season.