Cosmos unveil proposed soccer-specific stadium plans

MLS is no longer the only organization looking to construct a soccer-specific stadium in the New York Area.

The New York Cosmos of the NASL announced on Wednesday that they have submitted an economic development proposal to the State of New York for a 25,000-seat stadium that they hope can open by 2016. The proposal for ‘Elmont Town Crossing’ was privately funded and included plans for transforming two parts of Belmont Park, located in Nassau County on Long Island, into an entertainment complex that would host a “Restaurant Row”, nearly 250,000 square feet of retail space, a new 4.3 acre public park and a hotel. The Cosmos also unveiled a website for the stadium plan on Wednesday.

Like MLS’s desired stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the Cosmos’ proposed stadium would be privately funded. It is expected that it would cost more than $400 million, and that it would create 3,000 full-time jobs as well as more than 500 temporary construction jobs.

“We plan to develop an iconic project for the region and build a state-of-the-art stadium that will make Nassau County and the entire region proud,” Chairman and CEO of the New York Cosmos Seamus O’Brien told the club’s website. “Belmont is an ideal location and a win-win for everyone involved. Nassau County and Elmont will realize much needed economic growth, and local residents will have a year-round premier destination they can call their own.”

If approved, construction is expected to begin in 2014, with the targeted opening date set for spring 2016. As part of the deal, Elmont Town Crossing would also feature transportation improvements and a smaller soccer field in addition to the public park that would be open to local soccer teams to play on.

While news of a second-division club looking to build a luxurious soccer-specific stadium is a good sign of progress for soccer in the United States, it also means MLS now has competition in the New York market. MLS has been busy pursuing a stadium in Queens for a second New York team that would serve as rivals to the New York Red Bulls (who play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.), but the league’s plans include a similar timeframe for construction and opening to that of the Cosmos’ stadium proposal, meaning New York-based soccer fans might be torn as to which club to support should both stadiums be approved and constructed.

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What do you make of this development? Think the New York area can handle three teams with sparkling new soccer-specific stadiums?

Share your thoughts below.

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63 Responses to Cosmos unveil proposed soccer-specific stadium plans

  1. thedudeandwalter says:

    The Cosmos organization has zero credibility at this point.

  2. DasDude says:

    So neither teams will be located in New York City………Awesome

  3. kevin says:

    o/t but what about rumors of Goodson moving to the Turkish league?

  4. Eugene says:

    Very interesting, but I don’t see how only one project could end up being approved by this development, since MLS’ project has to go through approvals in Queens and NYC by the people in those two legislative groups and this Cosmos’ project is going for approval in Nassau to a completely different legislative group.

    True that the two stadiums wouldn’t be very far apart. It would be interesting to see if MLS tacks onto this proposal, especially since the league has wanted a team within NYC limits, and the Borough Boys have wanted that as well. I’m also curious who is behind the deep pockets for the Cosmos to shell out $400 mn in private money.

    Ultimately, I think the greater competition for pro soccer in NY will be better for everyone, and I think fans in NY can support multiple teams, just as fans in London do. I can see myself going to Cosmos games as well, since this stadium will be easier to get to for me than the one in Harrison (I live north of NYC).

    Cosmos would really be a Long Island (NYC) team then, catering to the fans in LI, where soccer is also very popular.

    Beautiful rendition!

  5. Jason says:

    Can’t imagine how this happens if any of it comes from tax payer money, this is the Islander’s county, an established team with a history and long island fan base, yet the voters shot down handily a vote to try and get a new arena leading the Islanders to move to Brooklyn..

    • Eugene says:

      Did you read the article and any part of the website? When it says “private money” that means its not coming from tax payer money.

  6. Grass Fetish lol says:

    good job Cosmos

  7. Northzax says:

    3000 full time jobs? $200m in revenue? Please.

    • Beto says:

      Ya those numbers are always so bloated.

      It will be interesting to see if MLS-NYC and NASL-Cosmos compete or team up..

      From the fans perspective its easy to say that the best would be for them to follow the route of vancouver, montreal, seattle and portland but this could become a big soccer business showdown between MLS and NASL fighting over NYC. While I think it would be cool to have a few teams in the area its also hard to imagine it working out with out a lot of rediculus investments for all parties. Looking forword to this unfolding.

    • Josh D says:

      Read the article: It’s an entire entertainment complex; not just a stadium. Hence the revenue and jobs.

      This sounds like the private money is coming from an entertainment group. Are our good friends on the sunny west coast looking to invest in NY… Follow the money!

      • Joamiq says:

        Stadium proposals are almost always part of a larger real estate development package including other elements like office space, retail, entertainment, and/or housing. Their projections are still always inflated. (And obviously so – they’re put out by the real estate developers.)

      • Northzax says:

        Oh I read it. Nine restaurants, 250k square feet of retail and a 175 room hotel in Elmont makes 200 in revenue for the state?

        Let’s do the math. 175 room hotel. Ten dollars a night in state hotel taxes, times 365 days equals $638,750. Add state income taxes for 100 employees, average wag, 25,000. Let’s be generous, the hotel brings in a million in state revenue a year.

        Next: the stadium. 25,000 seats all sell out for 300 events a year ( we’re being generous, remember) five dollar state tax on tickets, that’s 37.5 million. Two hundred low paying jobs, no real revenue to speak of. Let’s throw in equivalent rent to the hotel, ten million. So fifty a year for the stadium, 12 for the hotel.

        Restaurants: there are nine, each of which is, of course, very successful, grossing $3m/year (that’s 250 covers at $32/head, 365 days a year) 2.7 total in. Restaurant taxes, land, of course, 2m in rent. So that’s seventy million/year so far.

        Which leaves 300,000 square feet of retail to make $130m in revenue. Let’s be optimistic and say the state receives revenue from $.30 of every $1 sold (taxes, labor taxes, rent, licensing fees, etc) it needs to earn $433/square ft. So sales/square foot need to be roughly $1300. To give you comparison , four national chains earn more than $1000 ft^2: apple, Tiffany, Coach, Lululemon.

        So yeah, I guess it’s possible. Totally possible.

        • Scott says:

          These types of revenue estimates always include the financial impact (revenue and taxes) brought in by tourism/events. This makes it likely, that if well attended, these $$$ estimates would be realized. You can argue with the formulas, however, they are generally recognized and utilized by both public and private parties alike.

  8. Murphy says:

    Ives we need more info on this. Seems bizarre to me–do they think MLS will accept them as the third team from the area in the league? Do they want to replace the MLS team that the league wants to put in Flushing? I’m glad they want to privately finance this but I can’t believe they would build this to stay in the NASL. Also, are these owners of the Cosmos any different than the last group that made a big PR splash but collapsed?

    Having the MLS plan put into action would be better for city residents because it will be on the 7 train line in Queens. But going to Elmont would still be easier for some people than going out to Jersey for Energy Drink FC. I like the Flushing plan make it happen. Or put a third team and make New York the London of the MLS…

    • Todd Marsch says:

      These are pretty much my questions as well. It seems crazy to build a stadium like this to stay in the NASL, but this seems like direct competition with the MLS-backed stadium endeavor. If the ownership group for the Cosmos really is that wealthy, why wouldn’t they just pay the expansion fee and get in on the stadium planned for Queens? Has Garber/MLS just written off the Cosmos group at this point after their extreme initial flakiness?

  9. eric says:

    @ives In other news, Pep has committed:
    link to goal.com

  10. Eugene says:

    After looking at the images and plans, I only have one word: WOW!

  11. Paul says:

    Why can only one be approved, as stated by a previous poster that each will go thru seperate legistlative organization. I think it would be great for overall for the sport in this country to have a strong second division team having a soccer specific stadia ..we can def support more than one team in NYC!

  12. Old Gray Mullet says:

    A lot of the posts above are headscratchingly devoid of knowledge, but to summarize for those who haven’t been paying attention:

    1. Old Cosmos (Pinton) sold to New Cosmos (Kemsley) who sold clothes with a cosmos logo on it, who sold to New New Cosmos (O’Brien/Sela). New New Cosmos are owned by Sela Sport, from Saudi Arabia, and fronted by Seamus O’Brien. They have plenty of money. Why are in they into it? To grow soccer, or for the land/revenue deals…up to you to believe what you want. They said they wanted to play ‘at the highest level’, but NASL (all due respect) is not that.

    2. The State of NY sent out an RFP to redevelop empty space. New New Cosmos submitted a bid. This is all that this is. Surely there were other bids too, like for a shopping mall, etc. People have submitted bids for a Casino at Aqueduct, there was a proposal for a convention center at Aqueduct, etc. This is a chance to do something with empty space by Belmont, which the state wants to turn into revenue.

    3. The proposal to redevelop would not include the state/Long Island kicking in $ 400m. It would be privately funded. No one is on that much crack that they are asking the state for money. State might kick in for some road fixes, etc, but that’ll be small beans.

    4. Putting this stadium in Nassau means all of the hipster kids in Brooklyn can’t get there. They aren’t taking the G to the E to the LIRR, or using some other LIRR link to get there. Just aren’t going to do it. It’ll appeal to families on Long Island, it’ll be a better version of the Rough Riders, but it won’t be an NY2 success story in Nassau. All of the hype about NY2 in Flushing was that they were putting it in a soccer community where people play a lot of soccer (Corona Park). This is Belmont Park, where the same 2,000 people who are all 80 years old go 3 times a week, and which everyone under 60 ignores.

    5. This can’t make Garber feel good. He wants a team in Corona Park, and will likely keep working towards that. Basically, Cosmos are either hoping to win this and then calling his bluff, or they know they aren’t going to get that bid, so they’re building their own deal, to be the best minor league park in the US. Which seems odd. But, it’s $ 400m for the package, and maybe $ 100m for the stadium and $ 300m for the hotel, shops, restaurants, etc.

  13. Old Gray Mullet says:

    NY cannot successfully support 3 soccer teams. This isn’t London. If you don’t believe that, go to an Islanders game, a Rangers game, and a Devils game, and tell me if you think all 3 are “supported”. In Brooklyn, the Islanders might have a shot. In Long Island, they do not. Ditto soccer, 5 times over.

    • T-lover says:

      NY population is 8,244,910. Also NJ population is 8,821,155, so yes we can support 3 teams, even four.

    • Josh D says:

      NY could support six teams if they were marketed well. The immigration population alone would solve that problem. It’s how it is marketed.

      • Cavan says:

        The immigrant population won’t solve that problem. You have friggin’ borough council/state delegates who rant about how much they love Barcelona and wouldn’t ever attend an MLS game in Queens.

        If your elected officials openly bash MLS, how would you get any immigrants who already follow the league of the country they left/big debt-ridden Euro league(s) to watch it?

        • T-lover says:

          Cavan,you sound like an idiot, do you even live in NY. I live in the Far Rockaways,however NY could support multiple clubs. They may love Barcelona, big problem is they live in NY, not Barcelona. The fact they are soccer fans, yes they would support a NY club. You do know you have multiple officials working to get soccer, in the different Boroughs of NY. Not only is the major helping MLS, but in Brooklyn, you have officials trying to get a soccer stadium there.

      • mike says:

        You can market all you want. Who wants to see that team play? They must win first.

      • Chupacabra says:

        The immigrant population won’t support MLS or NASL. They’ll support their national team and friendlies by their favorite teams back home, but no matter how well you market an American soccer team they’ll never show up.

        • David M says:

          Well, I’m an immigrant and I support the US national team as much as anyone here and don’t really care about the national team of the country where I grew up or its league. However, I don’t follow the MLS much either — partly because the closest franchise is almost a hundred miles away. But if I lived in a city that had an MLS team, I’m sure I would’ve supported it and followed the league much closer.

          There is obviously much truth to the statement that many immigrants will support the national teams and leagues of their countries of origin; however, I feel many will support an MLS team, especially if there is no locally available alternative. If Mexican teams continue to play games in the US, Mexican fans will get their fill of live soccer that way.

    • Joamiq says:

      This is a great point. The Devils, Rangers, and Islanders all have passionate fanbases, but only one of those teams is able to consistently draw large crowds.

    • Scott says:

      Those are hockey teams? Right? Enough said.

  14. slowleftarm says:

    One benefit of this is not hearing the few clown Cosmos fans around talking about how their team is a true NYC team. Enjoy supporting the Islanders of MLS or NASL or whatever instead of just coming to Red Bulls games like you should.

    • Cavan says:

      +1 No one manufactures hype like New York and New York soccer fans who refuse to watch a local playoff team that plays in a palace of a stadium.

  15. dan says:

    It is GORGEOUS. Congrats to them and the Red Bulls for actually having some beautiful stadiums/plans to implement in MLS. Other MLS stadiums tend to fall flat, Sporting park is nice though but not to this magnitude.

    3 teams in New York? It could work out if they are spaced out like this. Altho I think the RB will suffer

  16. Redneck says:

    There’s no way the Cosmos’ ownership is doing all this for a NASL team. They have to believe that they’ll end up in MLS.

  17. Adam M. says:

    Reality check: There is no way the Cosmos organization will spend $400 million on a NASL stadium. To paraphrase Taylor Swift, they will never ever ever get back together with that investment as an NASL team. NASL isn’t a big enough stage, it has no tv money, it can’t support big name talent , etc. If this stadium plan is anything other than a pipe dream (and it may be very real), it is clearly designed to signal MLS that Cosmos intends to join MLS as the second or third New York (State) team.

    • Josh D says:

      Because no team has ever come from the lower leagues to play in MLS… Cosmos have to start somewhere. I think it’s actually nice to see an ownership group getting a team together and not just continually telling everyone they will do something eventually and just sell a couple shirts.

      • Adam M. says:

        Oh, I agree. Its possible they will play in NASL for a year or two, but this screams eventual MLS move to me. I don’t see how a second “top” league works in soccer when it has never worked in any other sport.

        • fischy says:

          It has worked out in other sports…at least to force a merger. However, soccer has the added complication of needing to get FIFA on board to certify a top division and lower divisions. No way would FIFA recognize 2 top leagues, ever. Without FIFA’s blessing, the NASl will have to settle for crumbs in terms of international talent.

          • Kyle says:

            They could force pro/rel, once they meet the prerequisite requirement Don Garber recently put out there of having a “vibrant second division”.

    • jimcrist says:

      a lot of people high up in NASL say that the league has no intention to settle into the second division role. the league doesn’t have the same financial and player restrictions that MLS does, so who’s to say owners with deep pockets couldn’t at least attempt to make that happen.

      • Adam M. says:

        NASL would do better as a “promotion only” league for MLS than as a direct competitior. Getting MLS off and running was hard enough, but they are so far ahead of NASL at this point that there would be no real incentive to try to compete against it directly even assuming they could attract a critical mass of wealthy owners who would want to try.

      • T-lover says:

        Will never happen, they will always be a second division league.

  18. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I think this is great if it happens. Beautiful stadium, great for NASL, great for the larger soccer community, and even great for MLS.

  19. fischy says:

    They can’t be serious about this. It’s too big, and Long Island just isn’t as good a locale, That’s why MLS isn’t pursuing this site. Unless they’re just trying to pressure MLS into giving them the fnachise — and the Flushing-Corona site, I don’t get it.

  20. fischy says:

    I could see down the road, when the soccer bug REALLY catches on here, how the market could support a top-tier team on Long Island, in the city and in NJ. But, we’re decades away from that. Moreover, if the Cosmos are really trying to elevate NASL to the same level as MLS, as a competitor to MLS, it won’t work.

  21. The Imperative Voice says:

    Where else would a now-imaginary team play but in an imaginary stadium? In which case, why stop at $400 million and 25K? It will cost $1 billion and be the size of Azteca or the Maracana.

    I found it interesting they lump the complex together and say $400 million, which sounds to me like they were trying to one up $300 million in Queens, which sounds like it one-ups $200 million for RB Park.

    I might question the wisdom of this laddering considering the owners will likely want to recoup their investment and/or pay the mortgage somehow, eg, tickets. How much will tickets cost for $400 million in debt service? Will the sheer expense of it all cancel out (or worse) the value of a NYC team? $50-100 just to get in the door….? An unexamined aspect of why RBNY and other teams are in NJ, and few teams are in NYC proper, is the inherent expense of building and working there. Unlike LA, they can’t just slap down a stadium off the freeway out in Carson and hope people will drive.

    One problematic aspect of the occasional Cosmos courting is that they now have just enough profile and seeming money lying around to complicate the Queens momentum that MLS seems to be more behind.

    Just to stir the pot a little, is there any chance that the current Cosmos nameholders are positioning themselves to try and sell the name to MLS, where-ever the stadium ends up? [Not saying I think NYC2 is wise, but it seems to have momentum beyond anywhere else, good or ill.]

  22. Cavan says:

    Something is really off about this.

    1) No D2 team has 25k attendence. Some of the better supported teams have ~10k.

    2) The LI suburbs are aging. Soccer spectatorship skews towards younger adults, hence the desire for urban stadiums or at least stadiums immediately accessible to fixed rail transit. At present, younger adults who have disposable income tend to live in core urban neighborhoods and older inner suburban ones that have fixed rail transit access.

    3) With an expansion team in an existing market (yes, Harrison, NJ is most certainly in the NY City Metro market), there’s always the risk of diluting your fanbase. There are plenty of reasonable arguments why the Queens team would draw from a completely different fanbase than the Red Bulls but the risk of siphoning from the Red Bulls is there. Why would anybody who’s a fan of MLS think that a pro team from a lower division that’s taking a swipe at the Red Bulls and the new Queens team think this is a good thing for future NY area soccer?

    4) There is some sort of angle here. Nobody is throwing down that kind of cash for real estate development in the car-oriented suburbs these days. All the real action is in the urban core and along places with fixed rail access to the urban core. That’s even more true in the I-95 corridor than in the rest of the country. There’s gotta be something else going on here. I doubt that the Saudi owners would have neglected to look at the regional NY real estate market and the local LI market too.

    • Cavan says:

      “Just to stir the pot a little, is there any chance that the current Cosmos nameholders are positioning themselves to try and sell the name to MLS, where-ever the stadium ends up? [Not saying I think NYC2 is wise, but it seems to have momentum beyond anywhere else, good or ill.]”

      The Imperative Voice, that would make the most sense in light of all the things I just pointed out that make little sense.

  23. bryan says:

    stumbled across a documentary on Netflix instant stream called “Once in a Lifetime” and it’s all about the Cosmos. i could care less about NY teams, but it was a fantastic documentary. i had no idea Steve Ross, and Warner, put so much time and effort into the Cosmos. i also had no idea that the individuals who made up the Cosmos back then all have a lot of hate towards Chinaglia. some of them single handily blame him for the collapse of the Cosmos.

    i also never realized how much Chinaglia, Pele, Alberto, and Beckenbauer loved the Cosmos. more so, them and Cruyff actually liked the shootout! Cruyff said it was an incredible thing and that he thinks Europe should give it a shot.

    i think my favorite little nugget from the movie was about Pele though. when it was announced the Cosmos were going to sign him, Brazil was upset and Pele actually got contacted by the Government of Brazil saying he should play one more year before leaving Brazil. Steve Ross, being the rich, well-connected media tycoon that he was, decided to pay Kissinger a visit. Kissinger, then Secretary of State, was a soccer fan. he reached out to his counterpart within the Brazilian Government and not too long after, Pele received a letter from the Secretary of State in Brazil saying he needed to accept the contract as it would be greatly beneficial to the relationship of the US and Brazil. the kicker, Pele said to Steve Ross (paraphrasing),” I’m signing with you all! If you can do that, you all ca do anything!!”

    anyway, watch it if you have Netflix.

  24. LIUnited says:

    So for those that do not know Belmont park. It is just barely in Nassau Country. The Stadium would be a Peter Cech punt from Queens. And the argument about it is not near a rail system, please note that the LIRR Belmont stop would be closer than the PATH stop by RedBull Arena.

    While I do not know how two Stadiums (about 6 miles apart, as the crow flies, less than 8 miles on the GCP and CIP) will work but both stadium plans look good. I can’t say one location is better than the other.

    I am interested to see how this plays out.