Report: Expansion NY MLS franchise will play in Yankee Stadium for three years

Yankees call up John Ryan Murphy and Scott Sizemore
Tonight's game vs. Cubs postponed

Last summer the Yankees teamed up with Manchester City to become part owners of Major League Soccer’s latest expansion franchise, the appropriately named New York City Football Club. It is the second MLS franchise in the area, joining the New York Red Bulls. The Yankees reportedly own a quarter of NYCFC and their involvement has mostly to do with concessions (Legends Hospitality) and their New York political ties.

According to the New York Times, NYCFC has been unable to find a permanent home. Community opposition derailed plans for a stadium at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, and rumors of a facility between the Major Deegan and East 153rd St. have not materialized. Because of this, the club will play it’s home games at Yankee Stadium for the next three (!) years. NYCFC must secure a location and build a stadium within that time, which does not figure to be easy considering how things have played out over the last year.

Yankee Stadium has hosted several soccer and non-baseball events over the years, though most were held during the offseason. Manchester City and Chelsea played an exhibition game in the Bronx last May while the Yankees were on an eight-game road trip. Temporary grass was laid over the infield (see the photo above) and I assume that is the plan for the next three years. The MLB and MLS seasons both run from March to October, so there is plenty of overlap. Here’s more from the Times:

A Yankees executive emphasized to reporters earlier this year that a potential shared space was not a concern, saying the Yankees “realized what we were getting into” when they went into their M.L.S. partnership with Manchester City.

At an event in February to announce a summer exhibition game between Manchester City and Liverpool, Mark Holtzman, the Yankees’ executive director of nonbaseball events, said the team generally required several days to prepare for events and then several more to repair the playing surface for baseball. But he also noted that since its opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted soccer games as well as a schedule of summer concerts.

Obviously wear and tear is a pretty big concern. The MLS schedule runs 34 games, which means one home game every two weeks or so, on average. Back-to-back NYCFC home games and stuff like that could really tear up the field. There’s also the matter of removing and rebuilding the pitcher’s mound. That said, Holtzman and the Yankees are not concerned.

“Technology has gotten to the point where I think we can turn it around pretty quickly,” Holtzman said.

“Baseball is clearly the No. 1 priority,” he added. “We wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at any risk; there’s a major investment here in the players. At the end of the day, we look at these opportunities very carefully, and we wouldn’t get into these opportunities unless we were confident in the end result.”

NYCFC will begin play during the 2015 season. An official announcement of their temporary move into Yankee Stadium is expected next week.

Yankees call up John Ryan Murphy and Scott Sizemore
Tonight's game vs. Cubs postponed
  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    If you get into bed with Man City you get fleas.

    • End-Leg

      I see it BUGS you.

  • GGooglyBoogly

    I’ve a big time soccer fan without a team, I was pumped when NYCFC was announced, they seem to have ambition and will probably bring some high profile players to MLS. If the people who run the stadium are not concerned, I don’t think we should be.

    Any Yankee fans planning on attending games? I’m out in Chicago but i’m going to try and make it for the inaugural one.

    • ALZ

      Soccer puts me to sleep, so no. Is one step up from golf.

      • http://Riveravenueblues Marty lieberman

        Would rather watch curling then soccer.

  • GrouchoNYY

    When the field gets chewed up and the Yankees lose a player due to slippage or lose a game to a bad hop, the joint tenancy will end fast.

  • IamtheWalrus

    Mildly OT; Ugh…I’m too much of a purist to not see it as whoring out the Stadium for every extra buck. Yankee Stadium in 2008 was a destination that took me 1,300 miles, two flights, a large culture shock, and two trains (6, 4) to get to. And it was 100% worth it because of what it was. Now the new place is just some joint that hosts a number of different events. In its defense, I guess it does have all those extra-comfortable looking empty seats behind home plate.

    • Sam

      What are you talking about? The old stadium was the home of the Giants for almost 20 years. They played soccer, hosted boxing matches and concerts at the old stadium. This isn’t a new thing.

      • 28 this year

        Quiet. You’re ruining the narrative.

      • jjyank

        Ding ding ding.

        I personally think it’s cool that Yankee Stadium can host non-baseball events. And it certainly can’t hurt the Yankee brand. It’s just that much more exposure for the organization and the stadium.

        Also, why is it such a bad thing for the organization to “whore” out the stadium “for every buck?” More money for the Yankees should be a good thing. Do we want them to make less money? I don’t get that logic.

      • pat


      • Silvio

        And leave us not forget that Notre Dame often played Army in Yankee Stadium.

    • Mikhel

      I too don’t like it, but I think it was the Cosmos that played at YS in those years before the remodelation of Yankee Stadium, there were some very big boxing matches; I think even American Football was played there besides Soccer and Baseball on a regular basis.

    • stuckey

      Ummmm, does anyone happen to know what NFL legend now refers to the “Greatest Game Ever Played” was played?

    • IamtheWalrus

      Yeah…I stand corrected. My own mind not weighing MLS equally to NFL Championship games, and heavyweight prize fights from the golden age of boxing.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It’s all good. Sorry I gave you some grief below. :)

        • IamtheWalrus

          No worries. Probably deserved it to some degree.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The Beatles are apparently the only thing before 1970 you seem to remember.

      • RetroRob

        Not necessarily a bad thing to remember if you can only remember one thing.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Very true.

    • Deep Thoughts

      My favorite is when they whore it out to the Pope.

  • RetroRob

    Baseball is the number one priority, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be damage to the field.

    I don’t understand the statement: “their involvement is mostly political and through concessions via the team-owned Legends Hospitality” means.

    They were politically forced into ownership and how does the concessions business force this?

    • Mike Axisa

      I worked that stupidly. The Yankees will help with the politics of getting a new stadium, and they’ll also provide concessions through Legends Hospitality.

      • TWTR

        So, it’s Randy’s baby…

      • Mikhel

        It was fine, at least in spanish the term “politically” means “to negotiate” something; in english it could be confused but nonetheless I think it was fine.

        For example:

        A team set of rules = a team’s policy; in spanish = políticas de equipo.

        Some things are lost in translation but others with latin roots stay the same.

        Sometimes it is hard to think in two or three languages and having to translate it in the brain before speaking :P, specially when I begin to think in Rumanian, considering I don’t speak rumanian… **badum tsss** (bad joke I know!).

      • RetroRob

        Thanks. I figured the second part, but wasn’t quite sure about the politics part.

  • Dan

    Assuming the field will be okay, I’m fine with this. One thing I liked about the old place was all of the non-baseball events that took place there: Concerts, College Football, NY Giants, fights, etc. They’re starting to build a similar repertoire with the new stadium, and I think that’s a good thing for better integrating the stadium into the city and keeping cash flow year round. I hope they keep it up.

    • jjyank

      100% agreed.

    • Nick

      I’ve said this a lot of family and friends, but the new stadium actually looks better to me during the football games they’ve played than the actual baseball games. I’m 27, so I really never got to experience such events at the old stadium, but have heard many of stories from older generations. I still am not a fan of the new stadium’s pushed back upper decks, the spaceship in CF blocking many bleacher seat views and hiding monument park, among other things, but getting events such as college football and NHL has been neat, albeit the big difference is they are not in mid-baseball season. we’ll see how this goes, MLS and soccer profile in general is definitely growing in the US.

  • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

    I don’t want these dirty soccer heathens anywhere near my beloved stadium.

  • Leg-End

    Football…..sorry, Soccer (I’m a Brit, its tough to get used to saying it) isn’t actually as bad as people think in terms of wear and tear on grass. I mean yes there will be some but groundswork preperation and restoration really has moved forward in recent years to the point soccer pitches don’t even get relayed for long spells.

    I think as an example Man Utd’s pitch at Old Trafford did not get relayed at all for over 6 years despite hosting no end of non-Soccer related sports, concerts etc on top of over 30 Soccer matches on it per season (with Internationals, youth games, European and Cup football) as well as a good chunk of that being in cold/wet weather. The only time the pitch has been noticeably cutup was when it hosted Rugby matches and even then it was barely noticeable and gone by the next game.Probably puts a ton more workload on the grounds staff but I imagine they will split the difference between the Yankees and NYCFC.

    The only real worry for me would be the turnaround needed if perhaps the weather is wet given that Soccer stops for nothing but its miniscule. Just a damn shame its a City collab and not a United one.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      City and Liverpool playing in Yankee Stadium makes me sick to my stomach.

      • End-Leg

        Bitter United fan I presume, never mind go take a walk round one of your owners 68 shopping Malls when they play.

    • End-Leg

      Just a damn shame its a City collab and not a United one. United collab you are joking aren’t you, the only thing your owners are interested in is taking money out of united and football to fund the family business not putting it in.

      You may not of heard living in the states, but United are the Glazers cash cow,fans have even build a stadium and formed a breakaway club called FC United of Manchester in disgust of how much the Glazers are abusing the club.

      The reason United’s pitch was not renewed for 6 years was because of cost nothing else, they are following suit at the end of the season and renewing it with the same grass as Man city, Desso GrassMaster.

      • stuckey

        I don’t mind admitting I didn’t understand a word of this.

      • Mikhel

        that’s basically what I knew too, thanks for confirming it.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I’m a United fan, but I’m not going to stick up for the Glazers.

        • End-Leg

          Why not Andy, Fergie and Gill did.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            Because I’m also a Buc fan. I’ve had more experience with the Glazers

    • Mikhel

      From what I know they use different grass in soccer football than in baseball and in american football; soccer uses a thougher kind of grass which is not really suitable to baseball since the spikes used in footwear are different in both sports, plus in Europe lots of places need a kind of grass that resists low temperatures and high humidity, though they have been using technology to keep it warm with underground pipes carrying warm water, something that is now beginning to be used in new baseball stadias.

      As for rugby and cricket I don’t know what grass they use, I just know that rugby and australian football is really really hard on the surfaces it is played on causing lots of damage to the surface in days where it is raining.

    • RetroRob

      I work with a number of Brits out of London, so when I’m talking with him them, especially when I’m over there, I will refer to soccer as football. They then assume I’m talking about American football. It leads to some confusing conversations then laughter when we realize what we’ve done.

    • Leg-End

      Well that escalated out of nowhere didn’t it.

      Just stating I’m a United fan (living in the UK btw) and suddenly I’m pro-Glazer, bitter United fan.

      Dude I didn’t even mention them.

      • End-Leg

        The thing is,you just like all other things Manchester City related put your nose in,dropping in United Blah blah blah blah.The story is about the best baseball team in the world and the sharing of a ground with City’s parent club,nothing concerns you on here buddy.

  • stuckey


    • Dale Mohorcic

      Somehow soccer discussions have a tendency to lead to such feelings.

      • deadrody

        That’s because soccer SUCKS. I’m shocked beyond belief that it took this long for someone to point it out. Hold on, let me watch some soccer for a …..


    • RetroRob

      I’m thinking I need to drop the name “Stephen Drew” into this thread to get it back on track. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    • jjyank

      Not even close.

  • Darren

    With all the 1-0 games, it’ll feel just like 2013! Maybe Reid Brignac can play goalie.

    (Is it “play goalie”? I don’t even know. I watch soccer every 4 years at 3am when Zimbabwe plays Sweden.)

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I’m sure they’ve figured out how to get the grass in proper condition in between sports in 2014. Just nothing to see here.

  • Now Batting

    A couple of years ago they held a box matching I think during baseball season and there was an ugly square patch of dead grass for the rest of the season. But technology has advanced so now 22 guys can run up and down nonstop for 90 minutes and they’ll have the field repaired by the next day? This has disaster written all over it.

  • pat

    Danny Cunningham is a goddamn saint.

  • Doug Q

    So does this mean we will see lines in our outfield for 3 years?

    • jjyank

      Pretty sure the answer is no.

    • Reuben Sierra’s Chains

      Holy Shit I hope NO