Man City owners to establish New York soccer team
As Sport360° reported back in December, it appears that Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is poised to complete a $100million deal to establish a new franchise in America’s Major League Soccer.
According to reports that surfaced in the States overnight, Sheik Mansour of Abu Dhabi has been in discussions with US soccer authorities for four months – consistent with our original story – and that he will be behind a new team to be based in the New York City borough of Queens.
Rumours suggest the new team will be called New York City Football Club, cementing a link between Sheikh Mansour’s club in England and the new entity. They will be ready to join the MLS in 2016, where they will form a new rivalry with the New York Red Bulls, who actually play in New Jersey.
The new club will play in a purpose-built 25,000-seater stadium in Flushing, close to both the famous tennis facility and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team.
The Daily Mail has even reported that the news could be made official at a pre-season exhibition game in New York between Manchester City and Chelsea in May.
Back in December, Sport360° reported that Abu Dhabi United Group (AUG), the group that owns Manchester City, were ready to not only fund the new team but would put up to $350 million into the new stadium. The presence of ex-England captain David Beckham in Abu Dhabi added considerable weight to these claims.
Beckham spent five years with Los Angeles Galaxy, winning two MLS Cups, and has previously stated his ambition to own a franchise in the future. Reports claim he could take up an unspecified role with New York City FC.
City officials at the time denied the claims, but a statement that read “Manchester City are not buying an MLS club” doesn’t preclude their owners from doing so.
The MLS is clearly good business. LA Galaxy, Beckham’s former employers and the richest franchise in the league, is now worth in excess of $100million according to Forbes.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline have also expressed their interest in tapping into the lucrative US sports market.
In an interview with Sport360° back in February, Emirates' senior vice president Boutros Boutros confirmed Emirates were keen on branching into US sport sponsorship.
"We’re big into cricket, soccer, golf, rugby, but there is still room in the future to establish ourselves in other sports," said Boutros. "We plan three or four years ahead, so this (deals in US sport) is now on our agenda.”