New York City FC, Owned by the Yankees and Manchester City, Will Be 20th MLS Club

By Ty Duffy

MLS now has an official heel. Manchester City and the New York Yankees have teamed up to launch New York City FC. The club will be MLS’ 20th club and join the league for the 2015 season. The deal could bring nearly $500 million in new investment into the league.

"“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” Garber said in a statement released by the league. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”"

Man City will be majority owner of the club, but Yankees president Randy Levine will head the ownership group. The two clubs were already partners with the Dallas Cowboys in a hospitality company. The big deal for MLS is the Yankees getting involved. It’s a surprise. It’s great for marketing. It also increases the probability of getting a favorable stadium deal done within the city.

MLS’ strength in recent years has been catering to organic, grassroots fan interest and the live experience in new markets. Partnering with an unapologetic corporate entity that ringed a baseball field with ludicrously expensive “Legends Seats” seems antithetical to that trend.

It will be interesting to see whether the team can attract enough of a fan following and create the “rivalry” with the Red Bulls the league expects. The market has had nearly 20 years to show it can support one MLS club, and largely failed despite a new stadium.

[Photo via US Presswire]