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Thread: Mets Interested in Starting NYC MLS team.

  1. #1
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    Mets Interested in Starting NYC MLS team.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/sp...=1&oref=slogin

    Mr. Met, the mascot of New York’s National League baseball team, may not speak fluent Spanish yet, but the club has recast itself with a strong Hispanic flavor and may soon expand beyond America’s pastime and embrace the world’s game: soccer.

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    Soccer
    Red Bulls Champions League UEFA Cup Other International Cup International Leagues Discuss Soccer The Mets and several groups of investors have held discussions about obtaining the rights to operate a Major League Soccer team, which could not begin play until 2010 at the earliest, an industry executive said.

    “We have been approached at various times with ideas, but right now we’re focused on our new stadium, Citi Field, and we don’t want to address this matter,” Dave Howard, the Mets’ executive vice president for business opportunities, said Thursday in a telephone interview. M.L.S., a single-entity operation that owns all player contracts and grants owner/investors the right to operate teams, is a 13-team circuit. The league plans to return next season to San Jose, Calif., (the Earthquakes were moved to Houston before the 2006 season) and expand to 16 teams by 2010 or 2011.

    Lew Wolff, the owner of the Oakland Athletics, and his partner, John Fisher, purchased an exclusive option to resurrect the Earthquakes, and they will pay about $20 million for the rights to operate the club for the 2008 season. Future investors are more likely to pay about $30 million to run a team, M.L.S. Commissioner Don Garber said, a figure that could increase.

    “I can’t confirm or deny any discussions with the Mets,” Garber said Friday in a telephone interview. He did say that a number of cities — Philadelphia; Atlanta; St. Louis; Seattle; San Diego; Las Vegas; Portland, Ore.; and Vancouver, British Columbia — are aggressively seeking teams but that the league’s preference was for a second team in the New York area.

    “We have spoken to lots of different people,” Garber added, “and as a general statement I have to say that we have great respect for Fred Wilpon, who has a stellar reputation in the sports business.” Wilpon is the principal owner of the Mets.

    Putting a team in New York, particularly in Queens, which has a large number of immigrants, would give M.L.S. a crosstown rivalry similar to the one it has near Los Angeles, where the Galaxy and Chivas USA share the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Red Bulls play their home games at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., but have plans to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in Harrison, N.J., in time for the start of the 2009 season.

    When M.L.S. began operations in 1996, Metromedia, which operated the MetroStars, was assigned the option to run a second team in the New York area. Those rights were transferred to the Anschutz Entertainment Group when it bought the MetroStars.

    But M.L.S., as part of last year’s sale of the team to Red Bull, the Austrian maker of a popular energy drink, reclaimed the rights to the second team. The league would pay the Red Bulls an unspecified fee to put a new team in the area.

    “The league’s original plan always was to have two teams in New York,” Garber said. “Our goal is to have 16 teams by 2010 or ’11.”

    The Mets are building the 45,000-seat, $600 million Citi Field next to their current home, Shea Stadium. Last month, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans to redevelop the tumbledown auto salvage yards adjacent to Shea. That plan would liberate acres of land for retail and residential development and could include a modest stadium for the soccer team, should the Mets or another group buy into M.L.S.

    Bringing the Mets on board would be considered a coup for M.L.S., which only a few years ago was dominated by AEG and the Hunt Sports Group, which operated the majority of the league’s teams. Since then, Garber has succeeded in attracting new investors who include Stan Kroenke (Colorado), Jorge Vergara (Chivas USA), Dave Checketts (Real Salt Lake), Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (Toronto FC) and Red Bull. “We’ve had many meetings with various people over the years,” the Mets’ Howard said. “We’ve had many ideas presented to us and this could have been one of them, but that’s my general fallback statement.”
    This would be really odd for 2 reasons.
    1. The current team has the smallest support in MLS though it could be the location.
    2. Where would this team play? They would need a soccer specific stadium and the only land the Mets own at the moment is the Shea/Citit area and I dont think they would want to build there due to the parking problems it would cause for Mets games.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Ridge Jet
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/sp...=1&oref=slogin



    This would be really odd for 2 reasons.
    1. The current team has the smallest support in MLS though it could be the location.
    2. Where would this team play? They would need a soccer specific stadium and the only land the Mets own at the moment is the Shea/Citit area and I dont think they would want to build there due to the parking problems it would cause for Mets games.


    They would have to share the new Red Bull Park in Harrison, if anything.

  3. #3
    I don't see how that would work out. They would have absolutely no fan base at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevsJetsYanks88
    I don't see how that would work out. They would have absolutely no fan base at all.
    I dont really care one way or the other but they would have a much bigger fan base if they are in Queens. Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan loves soccer and the team would be very accesible by the 7 or N train. They wouldn't be huge but they would have a bigger natural fan base than the Red Bulls and steal some of their non-jersey fans. I have been reading also the team is sort of close to a done deal for the 09 season and would be called New York Mets Football Club (NYMFC).

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    Im bumping this they are on the candidate cities list for the next round of expansion along with Philly, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Rochester. MLS wants to have multiple teams in the country's major area....kind of like Madrid or London

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    Top cities for MLS expansion
    Posted: Saturday November 17, 2007 06:26AM ET
    Philadelphia and St. Louis are the clear front-runners for MLS expansion, with one club possibly gaining entry into the league by the end of January. According to Don Garber, the other candidates are Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami (the city, not Ft. Lauderdale), Montreal, Queens-N.Y., Portland and Vancover. The plan is for a 16th team by 2009, but if the situation is not right, MLS is prepared to play with 15 that year and wait until 2010 for the next club. Ideally, Garber said, he would like to see 18 teams by 2010 or 2011.

    Washington Post

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    I'm glad MLS is on the up and up, but I'm starting to wonder whether this recent success is leading MLS to want to expand too fast, too soon. 16 teams I think is a safe bet (which they'll have after San Jose joins next year and Seattle in 2009), but after that I would hold off. MLS needs more time to develop some homegrown talent, otherwise the talent pool will be too diluted.

  8. #8
    I have long hoped for a team to be in Queens.If you ever go past Flushing meadows on a weekend you can't even get into the park it is so crowded with soccer players. I am sure they could have some kind of a setup in Citi field for the game and it would be full since it is easy to get to with the 7 train. Now if they had Omar Minaya filling up the team with latin players the stadium would be sold out

  9. #9
    I'm a reb bull fan
    but if N.Y.C. gets team
    i'll switch sides real quick

  10. #10
    I'd love to see one in Atlanta. Soccer seems to have a pretty solid base here. Hopefully, that translates into being able to support an MLS team.

    Seems like a good idea getting multiple teams in markets that can support them. It MIGHT go along with addressing one of the drawbacks somebody has pointed out before. More regional games, less jet lag for the players, etc.

    I agree though, I'd hate to see the pool of talent get too diluted.

  11. #11
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    I got all excited then realized this was over 2 months old.

    Any new news on this??

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    Quote Originally Posted by AG View Post
    I got all excited then realized this was over 2 months old.

    Any new news on this??
    Not really, they will discuss this during summer time and 2 cities will be added. NYC, Miami, Philadelphia, and Portland seem to be favorites.

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