NYC FC lays out plan to share Yankee Stadium

YankeeStadiumSoccer1 (Getty)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

New York City FC officially announced Monday what everyone already knew — the Major League Soccer expansion club will play its inaugural 2015 season at Yankee Stadium. But they filled in the blanks about how the unique arrangement will work.

It will be a labor-intensive endeavor, with it taking three days to convert the Yankees baseball diamond to a soccer pitch and vice versa. The pitcher’s mound will need to be removed for every NYC FC game.

“We can work it in. We’ve analyzed it. We’ve tested it against existing schedules,” said Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost at a press conference in New York City on Monday. “The most difficult part will be awaiting to see the schedule in baseball, which is some time mid to late summer and the final schedule in December. But we will be working with the club and MLS to make certain the games do not get in the way of our regular schedule.”

Trost said there will be about 17 games during the regular baseball season that will overlap with the MLS season.

The placement of the pitch will be adjusted slightly from other soccer games they’ve hosted at Yankee Stadium, but will not have any obstructed views.

“The Yankees have a proven ability, as everyone has seen since they opened their doors here at the new Yankee Stadium, to pull these events off,” said NYC FC chief business offer Tim Pernetti during the press conference, streamed live online. “In-season, out of season, hockey, soccer, concerts — you name it, they’ve done it. And they’re no stranger to soccer. We’ve seen a lot of very high-level worldwide games played here. Our sister club in Manchester played here last year.”

NYC FC is jointly owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees.

A training facility has yet to be announced, but Pernetti said there should be news on that front in “the next 30 days, if not before.”

Yankee Stadium’s normal capacity is 49,642, but for MLS games, the grandstand and terrace will be closed, bringing the total capacity to 33,444.

NYC FC plans to build a soccer-specific stadium in New York City and are looking at sites, Pernetti said.

“Our goal is to be in a soccer specific building as soon as possible,” he said. “At the same time, we’re not going to create artificial deadlines based on pressure that comes in different directions in order to do it the right way. We’re only going to get one shot to do it so I think we’re going to take the time necessary.”

Pernetti declined to confirm reports NYC FC would play at Yankee Stadium for three years, saying the planned arrangement with Yankee Stadium only extends through 2015.

Yankee Stadium was the most iconic New York City location to choose from and offered the most accessibility for fans to attend the matches, Pernetti added.

Season tickets were set to go on sale following Monday’s press conference with retired Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera being named the first season ticket-holder of the club.

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What do you think of this news? What do you think of this arrangement? Is this a good solution for NYC FC?

Share your thoughts below.

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37 Responses to NYC FC lays out plan to share Yankee Stadium

  1. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    At least the wait will be worth everything, I can picture nycfc being the best stadium in MLS and for sure nycfc will have players that we will drool for.
    Hopefully Atlanta becomes a great success and they get their stadium in 10 years at the Olympic stadium area but good thing MLS has red bull arena, skc park and dynamo stadium to add pressure on new stadium designs.

  2. jonk says:

    I’ve seen reports that the dimensions will be 110 x 70, which isn’t great but also not horrible. BBVA Compass is only 70 yards wide (at Kinnear’s discretion) and Providence Park and RFK are both 110 yards long, so by combining those two dimensions Yankee Stadium will be the smallest of MLS venues, but not totally unplayable — it’ll be the same “postage stamp” that Portland played on the first two years before Caleb Porter came along.

    • Cavan says:

      The width is more important than the length. RFK is 110 x 75 so it works well. Everyone hated Portland when it was 110 x 70 because of the 70. Coach Kinnear wants the narrow field for tactical reasons as other teams aren’t used to having less space on the sides to work with. It helps the Dynamo clog up the middle third of the field and not let the other team out of their own end.

  3. Sean says:

    I’d be a bit surprised if this incarnation of a New York City club, starting in a Yankees baseball stadium, tied heavily to the Manchester City brand, draws more than 15K on average in its first season – excluding their inaugural match.

    And, when you are not selling out even the 33K lower part, those 15K crowds are going to make this product really unfavorable.

    My opinion is this should have been done right. And, I don’t think they’ll see the groundswell of interest that other places like Seattle have. Could be wrong, of course.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      “My opinion is this should have been done right.”
      What does this even mean? Doesn’t sound as if NYFC are doing anything minor league. Lot goes into forming a club from the ground up. Easy to sit on the sidelines, throw stones and mandate idealized perfection, but businesses, sports teams etc. operate in the real world where beautiful soccer specific stadiums in mid town Manhattan, club roster, infrastructure and fan-base don’t materialize out of the box overnight. Building anything of worth is a process, takes time, compromise, hard work and perseverance. Those waiting for the perfect time, place, situation to start never do. There’s some risk involved, but I am glad there are investors with the stones and capitol to invest in mls/soccer in the US and NY and attempt this.

  4. AdamU says:

    The biggest unknown will be the MLB playoffs. I wonder if they will simply schedule away games in mid October for the MLS team if/when the Yankees make the playoffs.

  5. soccerhorn says:

    Not a shock that the Yankees chose to buy in to the MLS. Even the richest team in American sports can use some oil sheik money. But its a shock that the Yankees agreed to remove the pitcher’s mound on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Seriously, that’s like a church saying “we’ll take down our crucifix regularly so you can play some dodge ball.” Can’t wait to see what happens if/when both teams make playoffs.

    • Ted Drews says:

      They’ve been removing pitcers mounds for decades, at least since the introduction of multi-use stadia in the mid-60’s.

      It’s as much of a non-event as switching from ice to a basketball court in the same day.

    • M says:

      I know it was the previous Yankee Stadium, but the Giants played football there until 1973. It’s not like they haven’t done this before…

  6. Jay Boca says:

    MLS will regret allowing Man City into the league. They have built in limited appeal to local fans who prefer other EPL teams. Who wants to watch Man City’s AAA team play in a baseball stadium?

    • B1879 says:

      retired Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Plenty who thought Liverpool being the Red Sox pet project was degrading, blasphemous and the end for them. Seems to be working out OK. Sports is HUGE business now…. the days of single focus, family owned teams is gone from the big time- and especially wasn’t likely to occur trying to establish a club within the most pricey real estate and hard core business climate on the globe. Ultimately, put a quality competitive product on the field and everyone soon turns their thoughts/concerns to other things like trophies, good bad trades and bashing their rival team. Heck… even that misguided abortion of a team Chivas USA was doing alright when they were competitive- that ownership however, has managed to make a joke of the once proud mother club as well.

  7. slowleftarm says:

    “Yankee Stadium was the most iconic New York City location to choose from”

    I’d love to know what other venues were considered.

    • FulhamDC says:

      Considering that the “iconic” Yankee Stadium was demolished in 2010, my guess would be the Polo Grounds and Ebbits Field.

      • slowleftarm says:

        I think the current version is still iconic, but I don’t think any other venue was ever considered for a minute.

  8. Ian says:

    “[T]hree days to convert the Yankees baseball diamond to a soccer pitch and vice versa.”

    How the heck is that supposed to work? One little hick-up and things will go bad quickly.

    • Jack Del says:

      The same way every major stadium in the country switches between events in a single evening. Professionals.

    • slowleftarm says:

      It’s hiccup, and I don’t think changing back and forth will be much of an issue but watching soccer at a baseball stadium is far from ideal.

  9. dabes2 says:

    If they get the roster right, Yankee Stadium is accessible and a top class facility. The field and seating configuration will be overlooked.

    Would help if the location for the permanent facility was known.

    • jonk says:

      Ha! Ya think? If such a location had been secured they’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

  10. MrMaxican says:

    That place is gonna be horrible for away teams, the fans will be a big part of the experience. 3 day turn around for field conversion might mean some weekday games or early/late starting times. Dynamo use parking lot owned by Astros and I think we only have three weekends where they play at the same time

  11. malkin says:

    I wonder where the supporters section will be. Outfield? Hopefully not exclusively the bleachers but also the field level seats in the outfield (ie Sections 135-136)?

    Given the option for the premium seats, I can’t imaging the supporters section being on the infield/first base side of the setup, particularly because the “Legends seating” extends all the way behind the goal on the first base side.

  12. McQ says:

    What a joke. Other than hire a good coach, they haven’t done anything right. I guess the league figured that since they have righted the ship at the RedBulls (as much as they can), they have to reboot the Metrostars. Sub par pitch, empty stadium, ho hum support. I’m not going to sit in Cross Bronx Expressway traffic for THAT !

    • malkin says:

      Ok, so don’t sit in traffic. Personally I can’t wait to hop on the 4 train and be at the game in 30 minutes instead of the PITA commute it takes me to get to RBA.

    • beto says:

      NYRB are missing a huge opportunity this summer. A year after winning the league, maybe on of Henry’s last top seasons, and the year before this mess begins across town they are sitting in the bottom half of the east with a below par team.

      They gotta capitalize this summer and get some momentum going there

      • slowleftarm says:

        Why? If people are so fickle that they’re going to change teams because the stadium is more convenient or whatever, then they’re going to switch eventually anyway.

  13. beto says:

    “Trost said there will be about 17 games during the regular baseball season that will overlap with the MLS season.” … So every game. Easier way to say it! Every game will have infield dirt on part of the field…

  14. Adam M. says:

    This is far less complicated than you might imagine. Small sample size, but if you compare the 2014 Red Bulls home dates with the Yankess home dates, there is very little problematic overlap. In part because MLS starts earlier than MLB, the Yankees are not home for 5 of the first 6 Red Bulls home games. For 6 games that do overlap, moving soccer up the the weekend or back to a Wednesday solves the problem because the Yankees hit the road. Only one overlapping game, on 9/6, falls does not lend itself to a minor adjustment because it is smack in the middle of a Yankee homestand. The Red Bulls do have 3 regular season home games in October, which begs the question of what happens during playoff baseball, particularly if both the Yankees and NYCFC both advance. Some on the fly work may need to be done there. Overall, scheudling doesn’t seem to be a major problem though.

  15. chuck says:

    If Man City loans them John Guidetti, people will show up. He’ll be a scoring machine in MLS

  16. KJ says:

    3 days to demolish/build a pitching mound and lay/remove sod? Huh, seems a little excessive.

  17. Brain Guy says:

    Just thinking out loud here — but will Yankee rainouts (and the need to make them up) complicate things further? For that matter, will rain (and its effect on field conditions) also complicate matters?