Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

We're minutes away from the start of 2014, our "gap year" between the introduction of the club in 2013 and the start of play in 2015.

This upcoming year promises to be a very exciting one, as this is where everything comes together. Right now, NYCFC is little more than a handful of staff and a temporary crest. By this time next year, the club will almost be ready to take the pitch. In that time we can look forward to the first player signings, the unveiling of the club crest, an announcement of homes both temporary and (hopefully) permanent, and much, much more.

Happy New Year to everyone associated with the club. 2014 will be our chance to show that NYC truly is Blue.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Circle January 3rd on That New Calendar

Information on City's Bronx stadium proposal has been slow in recent months, but we may have just been given an unannounced peek into the timeline.

Bloomberg has this report on the plan to bail out the defaulted parking garage:
Yankees Parking Debt May Get Funds From Planned Soccer Arena

By Michelle Kaske
Dec 18, 2013 4:50 PM ET


Investors holding about $238 million of defaulted tax-exempt bonds used to construct parking garages at Yankee Stadium in New York are set to benefit from a planned land sale for a new soccer stadium at the site.

Bondholders have agreed to extend negotiations with the issuer for two years provided that the New York City Football Club enters into an accord by Jan. 3 to purchase a portion of the parking structures, according to a filing with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The club is a Major League Soccer expansion team.

Proceeds of the sale would repay some of the debt, with the remainder to be restructured, said John Miller, who helps manage $90 billion of munis, including some of the parking bonds, as co-head of fixed-income at Nuveen Asset Management LLC in Chicago. Remaining parking facilities would then receive business from baseball games and soccer matches, Miller said.

“When the soccer stadium is constructed, you actually have two event centers -- Yankee Stadium and a soccer stadium -- serviced by one parking lot,” Miller said.

The bonds, which are repaid with parking revenue, are in default as fans take trains, buses and taxis to see the Major League Baseball team rather than driving to games in the Bronx.

Bronx Borrowing

Bronx Parking Development Co. issued tax-exempt bonds in 2007 through New York City’s Industrial Development Agency to build the garages and renovate two others.

Bonds due in October 2017 traded at an average price of about 32 cents on the dollar today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Neither we nor the city have made any decisions about a location for a stadium,” Risa Heller, spokeswoman for the soccer club, said in a statement. “We are reviewing sites all over the city.”

Edward Moran, a financial adviser for Bronx Parking Development; and Steven Polivy, an attorney representing the company, didn’t return phone messages and e-mails seeking comment. Neither did Ray Orlando, a spokesman for New York’s Office of Management and Budget.
Seems to me that they buried the lede, at least from our perspective, in the second paragraph.

The new and important information is the January 3 date for the team to sign an agreement with the garage company. That means that, barring an extension of that deadline, we could City publicly commit to the Bronx site in a little over two weeks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Man City 2014-15 Shirt Leaked?

Footy Headlines is claiming that they have a leak of Manchester City's home shirt for 2014-15:

Ordinarily, Man City news wouldn't make this blog—I'm not terribly interested in the parent organization on its own, only as it relates to NYCFC—but I'll make an exception in this case because the shirt design would be so good for our club. Swap out the black for navy, add whatever NYC-themed crest the club settles on, and we're good to go.

It looks quite reminiscent of Brooklyn design firm Hyperakt's excellent logo and kit proposal:

Of course, Adidas has the MLS league-wide kit contract through 2018, so whatever design we get with be saddled with three stripes down the sleeves. Ah, well.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Pretty Good Day

As if Tuesday wasn't a good enough deal, with the announcement that Jason Kreis will be the club's head coach and the report that City is close to a stadium deal in the Bronx, I received this in the mail on the same day:

All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

NY Post: Bronx Stadium Deal “Very, Very Close”

Almost at the same time City announced that Jason Kreis will be the club's first head coach, the New York Post published this report:
Bronx scores $400M soccer stadium

By Josh Kosman
December 10, 2013 | 10:58pm


After looking at sites in Queens and Brooklyn, a Major League Soccer franchise on Tuesday stood close to a deal to build a 28,000-seat stadium in The Bronx just south of Yankee Stadium, The Post has learned.

The New York City Football Club — majority owned by the Manchester City Football Club of the Premier League in the UK — is “very, very close” to inking a deal with GAL Manufacturing, an elevator parts company, sources close to the deal said.

The deal with the soccer club, which is 20 percent owned by the Yankees, will also include the not-for-profit Bronx Parking Development Company.

The $400 million stadium will be located on what now is an empty lot between the Major Deegan and East 153rd Street, a source following the situation said.

Mayor Bloomberg has blessed the pact.

However, the team will not move forward without mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s blessing, and he has not yet reviewed the deal, sources said.

The complex deal includes the NYCFC paying for GAL to relocate.

Under the proposed plan, the NYCFC will fund construction of the stadium with city-backed tax exempt bonds.

The club would make pilot payments through a 35-year deal and guarantee bondholders revenues from suite sales, naming rights and the like, a source said.

That is similar to the way the Yankees, Mets and Forest City Ratner recently paid for their stadiums.

The new MLS team plans to start playing games during the 2015 season at Yankee Stadium.

It hopes to start playing in the new digs in 2018 or 2019, the source said.

Neither the Yanks nor the NYCFC could be reached for comment.
Interesting. Not much new about the plan here - all of the details were outlined in the New York Times back in August - but it's interesting to hear that they might be close to a deal.

There has been much made amoung fans of other teams that City wasn't held to the preferred "stadium deal must be in place" standard of MLS. The counter-argument has always been that the deal was in the works, thanks in no small part to the three years MLS spent working on it, and that the league knew an agreement was close. This would seem to bear that out.

Not to be outdone, the Daily News has this piece from columnist Juan Gonzalez opposing the deal:
Bronx soccer stadium deal near Yankee Stadium offers big incentives to Arab firm

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will have 30 days after inauguration to ink a deal that would allow a stadium for the New York City Football Club to be built on city land — that would be rent-free for decades.

By Juan Gonzalez
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2:30 AM


  
Twitter: @viperRBNY
Will it be a last-minute gooooal in the Bronx for the Yankees and their Middle East sheik soccer partner?

City officials are scampering to sign a deal by the end of this month for $300 million in tax-free bonds that would allow the Yankees and a royal from the United Arab Emirates to tear down one of the bankrupt Yankee Stadium garages and build a Major League Soccer stadium, two sources close to the talks have told the Daily News.

A draft of the agreement circulating among Economic Development Corp. staff would require Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to decide within 30 days of his inauguration whether to approve the deal for the new soccer franchise, the New York City Football Club, the sources said.

Under the complex proposal, the new soccer team — a joint venture of the Yankees and Manchester City Football Club, a British team owned by Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan — would pay virtually no rent for 38 years for the largely city-owned land on which the proposed 28,000-seat soccer venue would sit.

The new franchise would also be permitted to divert the property taxes it would normally owe the city to pay off its bonds, the sources said — a deal similar to the one the Yankees and the Mets got for their new stadiums in 2005. The soccer club would be exempt from sales taxes or mortgage taxes.

The soccer venture would pay an estimated $25 million to bondholders of the bankrupt Bronx Parking Development firm for its E. 153rd St. garage, which sits on city-owned land. In addition, Yankees President Randy Levine is trying to buy out and relocate a nearby elevator equipment company, GAL Manufacturing Corp., which employs more than 350 workers.

The soccer club needs the manufacturing site, the parking garage and an agreement by the city to permanently close E. 153rd St. for the new stadium.

Levine declined Tuesday to discuss the deal or even confirm an agreement was near. But he has been busy courting the support of Bronx public officials for days.

“NYCFC is looking for a home, not simply a place to play,” said Risa Heller, spokeswoman for the soccer venture. “As we have said from the start, we are reviewing sites all over the city.”

Community opposition earlier this year in Queens killed a proposed stadium for the new team in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

With the team scheduled to begin league play in 2015, it will have to share space in Yankee Stadium until its own field is built.

Mayor Bloomberg’s aides redoubled efforts in recent days to lock in a deal before de Blasio takes office. The Economic Development Corp. “is trying to get a memorandum of understanding done before Bloomberg leaves office,” one source told The News.

It could still take months or years for land-use procedures and City Council reviews to be completed, but reaching a preliminary accord now could force de Blasio to take a stand quickly.

The last-minute rush has sparked unease even among EDC staffers accustomed to generous deals for big companies.

After all, it was the Yankees who demanded 9,000 parking spaces before agreeing to build their stadium. That led to a financial debacle when fans shunned overpriced garages.

Now the garage company is bankrupt and the city is owed nearly $50 million in back rent and taxes that it will never recover.

So why are city officials considering yet more subsidies to a new sports franchise controlled by the Yankees and a sheik whose family oversees more than $400 billion in oil wealth?

GIFT GOAL

28,000 seating capacity

$300 million in tax-free bonds

38 years of free rent

$25 million in payout to parking lot owners

$400 billion in oil wealth controlled by Abu Dhabi Sheik Mansour
We'll see what happens next.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Coach Kreis!

Just minutes ago, NYCFC confirmed that Jason Kreis will be the team's first head coach! Obviously we'll have a lot of details to talk about in the next few days and weeks, but it's great to have this made official.

Here is the team's official press release:
New York City FC is today delighted to announce that it has appointed Jason Kreis as its Head Coach. The team, which will begin playing in its inaugural season in 2015, was announced as Major League Soccer’s 20th Expansion Club in May this year.

The role, which formally begins in January 2014, will see Kreis first travel to England to spend time at English Premier League associate club Manchester City FC. There, he will work closely with Head Coach Manuel Pellegrini, World Cup winner Patrick Vieira and Txiki Bergiristain, the club’s Director of Football, Champions League winner, and former Director of Football at FC Barcelona.

During this time, Kreis will be immersed in all aspects of Manchester City FC, observing in particular, the club’s approach to coaching, training, and player development, with the goal of applying similar approaches to New York City FC.

Kreis joins the Club having spent nearly seven years in charge of Real Salt Lake, during which time the team reached its first post-season playoff appearance in 2008, won its first MLS Cup Championship in 2009 and, most recently, came second by the narrowest of margins to Sporting Kansas City following a dramatic penalty shoot- out last weekend in the 2013 MLS Cup Championship.

His playing record at Dallas Burn and Real Salt Lake is equally impressive, having been the Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1999, the third highest scorer in MLS regular season history and the first to hit 100 MLS career goals. After retiring as a player from professional soccer during the 2007 season, he was immediately named head coach of Real Salt Lake, becoming the youngest active head coach in MLS.

Speaking of the appointment, NYCFC’s Sporting Director, Claudio Reyna said, “Jason is one of the true pioneers of Major League Soccer, and a leader any team would be proud to have at the helm. His skills and experience, together with his commitment to quality football make him the ideal choice to lead New York City FC in its first season and beyond. He has already left a historic mark on the league, both as a player and coach and we have every confidence in him continuing to do so at New York City FC.”

Echoing these sentiments, the Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferran Soriano said, “We are delighted that Jason is joining us as our Head Coach. His experience in MLS speaks for itself and he will be able to add to that experience by working with our football team in Manchester during 2014. With the leadership of Jason and Claudio we are providing New York City FC with both top-level knowledge of soccer in the US and world class soccer know-how from Europe. This is the ideal platform for NYCFC to start. We are very excited.”

Jason Kreis commented, “I am looking forward to making my contribution to New York City FC from the very outset. The opportunity to develop the first professional club based in New York City was impossible to pass up as was the chance to immerse myself in the football operations in Manchester observing some of the leading figures in European football. There will be a lot to do before our inaugural season in 2015, but I’m confident that with the support teams in the City organization, we will be well placed to hit the ground running.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with Real Salt Lake, including its fantastic fans for the many special years I spent there. I wish them all the very best for the future.

UPDATE: As I was publishing this post, I received the email announcement from the club:

The text reads:
On behalf of everyone at New York City FC, we are thrilled to have you join our family. Since May we have been building the foundation of your Club, all while connecting and learning from our local clubs and groups to develop relationships in the soccer community in New York City.

The countdown is on to our inaugural MLS season in 2015 and in the coming months we will be bringing many firsts to the NYC pitch. As one of our very first supporters, you will have access to the best seats in the house as well an inside track on every big event and announcement.

That starts right now. We are pleased to announce that Jason Kreis has officially been named the first Head Coach of New York City FC.

After retiring as a player from professional soccer during the 2007 season, Kreis was immediately named head coach of Real Salt Lake, becoming the youngest active head coach in MLS. In this role, Kreis led Real Salt Lake to its first post-season playoff appearance in 2008 and to its first MLS Cup Championship in 2009, becoming the youngest coach in MLS history to do so.

"I am thrilled about the opportunity to join the first Major League Soccer team in New York City and help build this club into something special that all New Yorkers can be proud of. Your support will mean everything as we get closer to playing our first game in 2015, and I can't wait to be a part of growing this fan base into one of the best in the league."

(link to PRESS RELEASE)

New York City FC's history has begun, and you're a part of it!

Your friends at New York City FC.
Good to have something concrete to talk about.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Garber: Man City Investment "a Postitive" for MLS

Yesterday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber stopped by the Fox Sports studios in New York City's Chelsea Piers to appear on the program "Crowd Goes Wild". He talked about (among other things) NYCFC, the Yankees and a potential location for our club's new stadium.



Co-host Regis Philbin introduced the Commish and started off the conversation:
Philbin: How about the New York Yankees getting involved in soccer?

Garber: Very cool. It shows where the league is, Regis, you have the Yankees and Manchester City-club over in England-coming together, buying a team in New York City. That'll give us two clubs in New York. That'll start in 2015, hopefully in a stadium that will be - maybe even adjacent to Yankee Stadium.

Philbin: Well, that would be great. But I keep hearing something's brewing out in Queens. Is that-

Garber: You know, Queens was a hope and a prayer. We were trying to get a stadium in Flushing Meadow Park, once we got the Yankees done, I don't think the Mets were too excited about-

Philbin: Yeah.

Garber: -having a soccer stadium in their backyard.

Philbin: (overlapping) No. I think they'll be glad to have you in the Bronx!

Garber: (overlapping) Yeah, the Bronx is cool.

Philbin: (overlapping) Apparently close to the Stadium!

Garber: (overlapping) Subway ride, the Yankees having a stadium right next to their baseball stadium, could be very cool.
That's the big news being bandied about today, although I don't think Garber said anything terribly newsworthy. We've known since August that NYCFC had zeroed in on a South Bronx site for the stadium, and that the Queens plan was dead. He didn't exactly break new ground there.

What was more interesting to me was his defense of foreign investment in MLS clubs:
Let's put it in perspective. Three hundred plus million people here, we represent almost every country from around the world, America is the largest purchaser of World Cup rights, more people go to Brazil from the US than will go from England or go from Jamaica or any other country from around the world, so our country really is a soccer nation. So that creates an opportunity, so when Manchester City comes here, or Tottenham comes here, or AC Milan comes here, it's a big market, that's a positive thing, the rising tide lifts all boats, MLS has got a lot of boats on that rising tide, so we benefit from that. Kroenke owning Arsenal and owning one of our teams is a positive, Man City owning a big team in the Premier League and owning NYCFC is a positive, all of that is us trying to create more and more energy so that America could one day win the World Cup.
That's certainly the business model MLS has been pursuing:
  • DC United is now owned by a Southeast Asian investor who also owns Inter Milan;
  • David Beckham is in talks to purchase an expansion franchise in Miami, if he can get a stadium deal in place;
  • Arsenal and the Colorado Rapids are owned by the same billionaire (this time an American one);
  • the San Jose Earthquakes have a partnership with London's Tottenham Hotspur; and
  • Real Madrid and Real Salt Lake have a business arrangement that goes beyond the ludicrous shared name.
MLS obviously sees the world as getting smaller, and these international arrangements as increasing the visibility and viability of the American top flight as a whole.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kreis Responds to "Almost 100%" Report

Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis has responded to Sports Illustrated's report that he's "almost 100%" committed to NYCFC: Fair enough. It's got to be supremely frustrating, as he prepares for their MLS Cup match in Kansas City, to have to address rumors about his next job. He's in Salt Lake City, if only for now, and that's where his responsibilities lie. There will be plenty of time for this next week.

The Salt Lake Tribune has posted a video, where they asked Kreis to respond:

Reporter: "There's a report today in Sports Illustrated about you going to New York as a head coach. Do you have a response on that?"

Kreis: "I have no response, it's the same response I've had for the last eight weeks - has it been eight weeks? at least? - the last two to three months now, that my focus is on this team, and will continue to be on this team, this club, and doing everything that I can for the next five days. And then after that (smiles) I'll go into hiding for three days, and try to make a decision."

Reporter: "So a decision isn't made then, Coach?"

Kreis: "Oh, no."

Reporter: "Will this match have an impact on that decision?"

Kreis: "I don't think so. As I said, I have a view that what this club has done, what this team in particular has done this year is already successful. The result this weekend is icing on the cake, insignificant to my decision."
As it should be. The Tribune also interviews Real Salt Laker Kyle Beckerman in that same video. The midfielder had this to say:
Reporter: "There was a report today that Jason is going to leave for New York-"

Beckerman: "Oh, really?"

Reporter: "-is that something that you guys have talked about as a team? How do you guys kind of deal with that, with the uncertainty?"

Beckerman: "I feel - we kind of thought maybe it would happen. I think... he's a great coach, people are going to want him, and so how can we hold somebody back that wants to go somewhere, if that's the case? And so... we're okay with that. We knew he wouldn't... his commitment, his desire - anything he would have done with our team if he's coming back next year, he would have done the same if he's leaving. So we knew nothing was going to change, and we feel if he does go, we have a core here, we have a coaching staff - coaches that can step up and keep what we've got going on. But we'll be sad to miss him, if that's true and he does go, we'll definitely miss him. I mean, he's been the leader of our group for now 5, 6, maybe 7 years, so - it'll definitely be strange, but you can't hold somebody back if they want to go, and try something else. It's on the Eastern Conference, so we'll only see him once a year (laughs). So it's not the worst. But no, hopefully it's not true, and hopefully he stays."
We'll see what next week brings.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kreis "almost 100%" to NYCFC?

This tweet comes from Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus: And a follow-up: This is excellent news, if true. Kreis has done an amazing job with Salt Lake, and his experience in the league would go a long way with a club starting from scratch.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Join the Movement"

This has been heating up Twitter feeds and Facebook pages this morning - MCFC has launched a major promotional push for our new club.

Very clever. Minor quibble - no Queens, and "Harlem" gets a shout-out while Chelsea is stuck with "Manhattan" - but it's a great start.

To support this effort, the club has also launched a new contest: each week a winner will be randomly selected to receive two tickets to the first NYCFC home game. Of those weekly winners, one will also receive the Grand Prize: round-trip air flights and hotel for two, and the signed ball from the video.

Ticket winners will be selected every Friday at 5:00 PM EST on November 22, 29, December 6, 13, 20, 27, and January 3, 2014. The Grand Prize winner will be announced on January 3, 2014.

Enter at nycfc.com/jointhemovement.

The video doesn't tip City's hand to its branding plans; the players are wearing Man City gear and the only marks are in Man City's standard font:

We'll just have to wait to see what they have planned. But it's great to see City starting to stake its claim.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reyna Honored by South Bronx United

Last night, South Bronx United held its third Annual Benefit in SoHo.

South Bronx United is a youth soccer organization that uses the sport to "help youth build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond". A very worthy group.

The honored guest at the benefit was none other than our Director of Football, Claudio Reyna:
Good to see the club laying down roots in the community.
Congrats, indeed!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"MLS Expansion Team NYC FC Makes Three Executive Hires"

SportsBusiness Daily is reporting that NYCFC has added three new staff members:

MLS Expansion Team NYC FC Makes Three Executive Hires

By Christopher Botta, Staff Writer
November 12, 2013


NYC FC, which begins MLS play in '15, has hired Doug Fillis as Senior VP/Partnerships, Josh Neier as VP/Finance and Mike Quarino as VP/Ticket Sales & Fan Services. Fillis most recently was Rutgers Senior Associate AD/Administration, where he was a colleague of former AD Tim Pernetti, who is NYC FC's Chief Business Officer. Neier spent the last 10 years at MLS, most recently as Senior Dir of Finance. Quarino was VP/Ticket Sales & Fan Services for the MLS Union. All three begin their positions with NYC FC immediately.
Very interesting. We knew about Mike Quarino, but I don't believe the other two had previously been announced.

The organization is coming together. And they bring some good experience within the sport.


UPDATED 11:14 PM:   The announcement is now up on the club's website, with more information on the three new hires:
Three new leaders at Major League Soccer’s 20th team preparing for inaugural season.

Doug Fillis, Josh Neier and Mike Quarino will take the newly created roles of Senior Vice President, Partnerships, Vice President, Finance and Vice President, Ticket Sales & Fan Services respectively.

Speaking of the new hires, Tim Pernetti, Chief Business Officer of New York City Football Club said, "Launching a Major League Soccer expansion team, especially in a market like New York City, requires progressive and experienced leadership in the front office. In Doug, Josh and Mike we have a team with proven leadership and real expertise in their fields in roles which we have identified as central to our growth. These additions to our team are an exciting step on the path to building a premier Major League Soccer Club."

For the past eight years, Fillis has worked in college athletics, most recently at Rutgers University as Senior Associated Athletic Director for Administration. In this role he was responsible for sealing a $65 million partnership with IMG College, overseeing the school’s $100 million fundraising campaign, and securing and leading major sponsor partnerships. Prior to this, Fillis oversaw all revenue businesses, development, and fundraising at the U.S. Military Academy, managing the naming rights agreement with Siemens and, the business plan, including sponsorship and revenue creation, for the Army at Yankee Stadium Series.

Both Neier and Quarino come to NYCFC from previous jobs within Major League Soccer. Neier previously spent 10 years in the finance department of Major League Soccer and was most recently Senior Director, Finance, for the League. Quarino most recently spent five years with Philadelphia Union as Vice President of Ticket Sales & Fan Services, overseeing all ticket programs and revenue as well as serving as an integral part of the senior management team that launched the Union as an expansion team in 2010.

Quarino also spent six years as a Senior Manager of Ticket Programs with the New York Red Bulls, responsible for the Group Sales Department where he was named in the MLS Ticket Sales Best XI in both Total Revenue and Group Ticket Sales in 2007 and 2008.

The three new hires will join Tim Pernetti and Claudio Reyna, Director of Football, in NYCFC’s front office with immediate effect.

Announced in May 2013, New York City Football Club will be the league's 20th team, beginning play in the 2015 season. The team was launched in partnership by Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees and is led by Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PRWeek: "MLS expansion club New York City FC hires Edelman"

Today, as New Yorkers head to the polls to elect our next Mayor, comes word of a new hire for NYCFC.

From PRWeek:
MLS expansion club New York City FC hires Edelman

By Lindsay Stein
November 05, 2013


NEW YORK: Major League Soccer expansion franchise New York City FC has brought on Edelman and research and analytics subsidiary Edelman Berland to support the team's launch for the 2015 season.

The club is working with Edelman to engage fans across New York City's five boroughs, support community efforts, and create buzz for team's debut.

The soccer club, which would become MLS' 20th team in 2015, is jointly owned by the New York Yankees and the UK's Manchester City Football Club soccer franchise.

Edelman will also work to incorporate the values of both the Yankees and Manchester City into its outreach to connect with fans on a more intimate level.

“New York City has built so many great sports teams, and both the New York Yankees and Manchester City have a tremendous history of accomplishments,” said agency president and CEO Richard Edelman, in a statement.

The team is still without a home. In August, the club reportedly filed plans to build a soccer stadium in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium. Residents and elected officials had previously objected to the club constructing a stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

Edelman Berland is working with New York City Football Club on research initiatives to help the franchise understand the soccer market in New York and build its fan base.

Additional information about the account was not disclosed.

Last month, New York City FC hired Droga 5 as its advertising AOR, working on fan activation and engagement projects.

Retired English soccer superstar David Beckham will work to establish a team in Miami in coming years that would become the league's 21st club, according to the Associated Press.
I know it's frustrating from the outside, not to know what's going on with the club, but it's good to see that they're continuing to ramp up its operations.

Monday, November 4, 2013

NYCFC Hires VP of Ticket Sales & Fan Services

New tweet worth noticing: Mike Quarino is NYCFC's new VP of Ticket Sales & Fan Services. He comes to us from the Philadelphia Union, where he held the same position.

Welcome to New York, Mike!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Yes!

A very pleasant surprise for this Friday: Can't wait. I'll post a picture as soon as it arrives.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Mayoral Race and Our Stadium Hunt

New York is in the final stages of a mayoral election. On Tuesday, November 5th, New Yorkers will go into their polling places to elect a successor to Michael Bloomberg, who is being term-limited out. This time for real.

That new mayor will take over in January, and will have a considerable effect on NYCFC's plans for a new stadium. Bloomberg shepherded new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets, and has in the past been very supportive of an MLS stadium, particularly plans to build at the World's Fair site in Queens.

So where how will next week's election impact a potential stadium for NYCFC?

Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio is the commanding favorite in the race. He's not been too kindly disposed toward the new stadium. In a written response to the New York Times before the primaries, de Blasio criticized the idea of ceding parkland to what he termed "corporate entities," and he called the proposed Queens stadium a "bad deal for New Yorkers."

Mr. de Blasio's opponent in the general, Republican Joseph J. Lhota, is not given much of a chance to win, but his comments are still important in taking the city's temperature. Lhota was similarly unimpressed with Bloomberg's plan, rejecting it outright. "While he supports bringing Major League Soccer to New York, he said that a park was not an appropriate location for such a stadium and he urged the league to look at other sites in order to preserve parkland."

Recently, New York Times writer Michael Powell had this to say about the candidates' stances heading towards Election Day:
Early on Tuesday night, (Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio) was asked about Major League Soccer's attempt to place a Spaceship-Enterprise-size soccer stadium in the midst of Flushing Meadows, Queens's densest and most heavily used park. He cleared his throat with some populist rumbling about city tax giveaways. Then he allowed that, well, perhaps, maybe, a pro soccer stadium might raise the money needed to give that dowdy dowager of a park a face-lift.

It was left to (Republican candidate) Mr. Lhota to make the point that, perhaps fortunately for Flushing Meadows, appears to have won the day: Our urban parks are a precious patrimony, and in this densest of American cities it is rarely wise to auction off greensward. If Flushing Meadows-Corona Park needs money, and enough three-piece-suit-wearing worthies cannot be found to toss together a conservancy, a mayor should find a way to pay for that park.

"It shouldn’t be in that park," Mr. Lhota said of the stadium. "We don’t have enough park space in this city as it is."
In an early October Reddit Q&A session, de Blasio said this in response to a question about a Manhattan location:
I have not heard any viable plan for a stadium in Manhattan and I don't foresee that. The only way there could be a status in Queens is if the conditions I've laid down are on complete parkland replacement and sufficient subsidies for surrounding parkland. I wouldn't be shocked if a soccer team ended up using Yankee Stadium or CitiField.
Given the ownership situation, that would mean Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Baseball stadiums aren't always terrible places to watch a game; the configuration of the pitch fits quite well in the Stadium's field with the exception of the seats from home plate to third base, and even that's not too far away.

Of course, the Stadium has good access to multiple subways and Metro North, and the area is accustomed to handling large amounts of gameday traffic.

I don't think NYCFC would consider it ideal in any way, but they could well end up using the big ballpark in the Bronx as a temporary home for several seasons. The Queens plan seems dead regardless of Election Day's outcome, but the recent proposal to build on a site one block south of Yankee Stadium might well emerge as the best possible replacement.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The View From Pier 40

The club tweeted this pic today: That's a view from Pier 40 on the Hudson River. I know that the stadium plan on that pier isn't going to happen, but still.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

NYC is Blue!


A new name for the blog today - "NYC is Blue" - and a custom URL:

www.NYCisBlue.com

I've updated the blog header, and will continue to chronicle the development of our very own MLS franchise right here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Retweet & Follow/Win a T-shirt!

The latest from NYCFC: I presume they mean the t-shirts used in all the press photos:

And worn by Manchester City during warm-ups in their game at Yankee Stadium:

Really want one of those. I've entered; how about you?

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Blue Skies"

As we await more information from the club's development, hopefully even the hiring of a head coach, I've been thinking about the fan culture. We'll need songs. Hey, it's never too early, right?

I know that Man City supporters sing Rodgers and Hart's "Blue Moon," but we need to find our own traditions. I'd like to suggest Irving Berlin's 1926 song "Blue Skies".

Strikes me as a perfect song. Easy to sing, relatively simple lyrics, it can be upbeat and peppy. If the club is winning, it's a celebration; if they're down then it's an expression of enduring optimism.

Here are the lyrics:
Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on
If you're feeling really ambitious, you could always add in the original opening verse:
I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev'ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door
Skies were gray but they're not gray anymore
"Blue Skies" has been covered dozens of times, by singers as varied as Judy Garland to Willie Nelson, Josephine Baker to Rod Stewart. Besides the Sinatra linked above, I'm partial to Ella Fitzgerald's interpretation:

Then there's Irving Berlin himself.

Berlin was born in Russia, but his family moved to New York City when he was a toddler to escape the anti-Jewish pogroms. He grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side, taught himself to play the piano and worked his way up to become one of the signature songwriters in American popular music. All within a few miles, a story that just couldn't happen anywhere else.

It's Tin Pan Alley, it's Broadway, it's uniquely New York City.
Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see
From the Bronx or Pier 40 or wherever NYCFC calls home, I can hear it now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Loic Remy to NY City?

The NYCFC Supporters' Club is reporting this rumor: I don't know what the source is, but it's interesting. Unfortunately, that's all we have. Just an unsourced rumor.

Loïc Rémy is a 26-year-old striker currently on loan to Newcastle United from Queens Park Rangers. He has 5 goals already for Newcastle. He has been on the French first team since 2009.

Maybe they have their eye on Rémy now, but the first match is a long way off to be signing players, especially since they don't even have the coach yet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shout-Out From the Big Boys

A nice little Twitter surprise: And there it is, on NYCFC's website:

Nice to get noticed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Daily News: MLS to Winter Schedule? (Now Updated)

The New York Daily News is reporting some surprising news about Major League Soccer:
Major League Soccer is inching closer to adopting a European-like schedule that could be implemented by the start of the 2014 season.

The plan, which has the full support of FIFA, the sport’s governing body, would have the MLS season begin play in either late July or early August and include a six- to eight-week winter break. The championship would either be played in late May or early June. The MLS season currently begins in March and runs until the championship match in the first week of December.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has been considering adopting the calendar used in Europe for several years but talks have intensified in recent weeks, according to a league source. The move would also placate FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has been an outspoken — and often unfair — critic of the country’s fastest growing professional league.

“It would be better for U.S. soccer, and specifically also for the (United States)national team,” Blatter once said. “And the popularity inside the country.”

Most European domestic leagues begin in late August and end in early May. A winter break is necessary for the MLS since it has franchises in several cites — including Chicago and Toronto — where playing matches in December and March is a risky proposition.
Weather is, I think, the least of the problems with a move to the winter. If MLS is seriously thinking about doing this, then they're ready to go up against college football on television. That they're even considering it is a positive sign.


UPDATE: MLS has responded:
A spokesman for Major League Soccer said on Monday that while the league is weighing the possibility of potential changes to its schedule in the future, a shift to a more European-like schedule in 2014 is not a possibility.

A report published Monday in the New York Daily News citing league sources indicated that the league is considering a schedule that would begin in late July or early August and include a six- to eight-week winter break before wrapping up with MLS cup in May or June, beginning as early as next year.

The MLS spokesman, however, denied that any major changes are on hand for next season.

“We recently conducted a survey and it had some questions about possibly moving the schedule, the MLS spokesman told MLSsoccer.com via e-mail on Monday. “We regularly conduct market research on a variety of topics. Our fans’ preferences are important to us and we’ve proven to be good listeners.

“We will announce plans for the 2014 season before MLS Cup. The timing of the 2014 schedule will be very similar to the current season.”

MLS executive vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche took to Twitter on Monday to respond to rumors about a scheduling change following the report in the Daily News.

“'Rumors’ is an appropriate way to classify it,” Courtemanche responded via Twitter. “MLS has reviewed many possible schedule formats throughout the years.

“We hope to announce soon, but the timing will be very similar to the current season. Many options have been considered, and the fans will have a voice IF the schedule format ever changes.”
So not 2014. But doesn't sound like the move is entirely off the table, either.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crest Concept - DawgPacPBH

Over on the SportsLogos.net boards, user DawgPacPBH has created a fantastic crest concept for NYCFC.


I really like using the Chrysler Building as a overriding shape. Very clever.

I'm not sure that the Brooklyn Bridge really works the way he's rendered it, sagging down in the center. The Bridge, like all suspension bridges, arches in the middle.

I prefer this slightly earlier draft, featuring not the span but one of the bridge's limestone tower.


I love the three-quarter profile. Very bold.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Droga5 Hired as "Lead Creative Agency"

AdWeek is reporting that NYCFC has hired an advertising agency to begin the process of branding and marketing.

Droga5 Gets Work for New York City Football Club
New MLS team hires agency
By Gabriel Beltrone

New York City Football Club has hired Droga5 as its lead creative agency.

NYCFC is the newest team unveiled by Major League Soccer, and the league's 20th. It is jointly owned by by English Premier League team Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees, which together purchased the rights to NYCFC for a reported $100 million this spring. Manchester City FC is owned by a group of investors led by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

NYCFC is the second team in the New York Metro Area after the New York Red Bulls, which play at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

NYCFC is expected to start playing in the 2015 MLS season. It does not yet have a permanent home stadium, but its owners have been exploring possible sites to build one, including in Queens.

Droga5 will help NYCFC with work like fan activations as the nascent team builds its brand.

"In Droga5 we have found the ideal partner to help us establish and grow New York City Football Club," said NYCFC CEO Ferran Soriano, in a statement. "While they have a global perspective, they are also locally rooted in New York, ensuring proper understanding and communication with our fans in this great city."

Droga5's headquarters are in New York City. The agency also has an office in Sydney, and this year opened shop in London.

"As an agency of people who both live for football and love New York, the branding and launch of our city’s first MLS team is a dream project,” said Jonny Bauer, Droga5's chief strategy officer, in a statement.
No indications yet if Droga5 will be handing the general marketing, kit and crest design, or both (I'm still pushing for Hyperakt's crest concept).

The agency's client list is very impressive but doesn't include any sports teams. It should be very interesting to see what they come up with the club.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

NYCFC on WFAN!

Huge news - NYCFC has reached a three-year broadcast deal with WFAN. Billed as "first and most listened to sportsradio station in the nation", WFAN will broadcast the team's MLS matches and have the option to broadcast friendlies as well.

WFAN is currently the flagship station for the New York Mets, New York Giants, Brooklyn Nets and New Jersey Devils. Next year, the New York Yankees replace the Mets in that lineup, and NYCFC follows the year after that. The Yankees' move from WCBS to WFAN obviously played some role in NYCFC's contract, hopefully an example of how the Bronx Bombers' marketplace muscle can be flexed on behalf of the soccer club.

This is a tremendous boon for NYCFC, as they'll be cross-promoted with many of the most prominent sports franchises in the region. It's also another opportunity to lock up the New York City market; the Red Bulls don't have any English radio broadcasts.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SI: Jason Kreis as Head Coach?

Sports Illustrated is reporting that NYCFC has contacted Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis about taking over the City Blues when they begin play in 2015.

From the article:
Although owned by an English club that is in turn held by a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, NYCFC intends to retain an American flavor. That starts with Reyna and Pernetti and may carry through to Kreis, a Nebraska native who attended Duke University and starred for FC Dallas and RSL before transitioning abruptly into coaching.

The father of two adolescent boys faces a difficult decision. He’s been in Utah since 2005, and, along with general manager and senior VP of soccer operations Garth Lagerwey, has built a veritable small-market dynasty. RSL won an MLS Cup championship in 2009, was a goal away from claiming the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League crown and has advanced to this year’s U.S. Open Cup final. Along with two additional MLS Cup semifinal berths, Kreis has compiled the league’s third-best regular season record over the past four-plus seasons.

In addition, the club has gained a reputation for developing young talent and for playing a brand of smart, stylish soccer that stands apart from the MLS crowd. RSL is effective and fun to watch, and Kreis has received much of the credit.

That’s important to Reyna, who wrote during a June Facebook chat with fans, “Our goal is to put a team on the field that plays exciting and entertaining soccer. We want to win and win with style.”
Interesting. He hasn't expressed any desire to leave RSL in the past, but perhaps Man City's resources could lure him to the Apple.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crest Concept - Milo Kowalski


We have another club branding concept today, this time from Brooklyn-based designer Milo Kowalski. He's taken a very interesting tack, assimilating the city's visual iconography and incorporating it into a unified design.


With those as inspiration, here's Milo's primary logo:


There's a lot I like about this. I'm very partial to the subway token (it features prominently in my favorite concept), and pairing it with a shout-out to the Grand Central Terminal monogram is inspired.

I love this interlocking "NYC" mark. It's distinct, and would work well on its own, as shown in some of his merchansiding mockups:


I'd kill for that navy New Era cap.

I'm less enthusiastic about the wordmark. It doesn't scan as well as I would have hoped. A good script, great for the Hinsch Diner sign in Bay Ridge, but not for a longer name. And the capitals don't work at all for initials, needing lower-case letters to offset their heavy flourish. If he had something different for "F.C." I think I'd like this much more.


Finally, we get to my biggest concern with this excellent concept: the color scheme.


Blue and orange are the city's colors, and appear on our flag (if in lighter shades). But they're already used (again, in lighter shades) by the Mets. The National League club owns blue and orange in this city, as well they should. I'm not sure that we'd want to intrude on that, even setting aside NYCFC's Yankee ownership. That's one of the things I've loved so much about the interim navy-and-sky colors; they work so well together. Not only do they compliment each other while having sufficient hue differences to look distinct even in black and white, they're unique in the New York sporting scene.

Still, this is amazing work. His logos are outstanding, in either the primary version or the monogram alone:


This is just a taste: check out the full concept here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tim Pernetti Hired as CBO

More staffing news: NYCFC has hired former Rutgers athletics director Tim Pernetti as the team's chief business officer.

Pernetti is the second major hire after Director of Football Claudio Reyna. Pernetti was quoted as saying:
“I feel truly privileged to have been appointed to this position and to play a key role in building this club from its infancy. I relish the opportunity to be part of a global organization, and also to use my experience to create a first-class club for New Yorkers and one in which they will always have a voice.
The language sounds good, although Pernetti's recent record is somewhat mixed. He had received praise last year for his role in securing an invitation for the school to join the Big Ten conference, but last month he resigned in the wake of a coaching scandal. Basketball coach Mike Rice was videotaped yelling profane and abusive language at his players and throwing basketballs at their heads during practices. Rice was fired when the tapes were made public, and the scandal widened when it was revealed that Pernetti had previously seen the tapes but chose to suspend Rice for three games and fine him $50,000 rather than fire him.

Fortunately, he won't have to face such a situation in the professional game.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Crest Concept - Matthew Wolff

Here's another crest concept, this time from Matthew Wolff, a graduate student at Parsons. Wolff is no stranger to the city's soccer scene, having already done design work for the New York Cosmos in the form of their season ticket packages and having redesigned the branding for local soccer store Upper 90 (I'm a customer at their Atlantic Avenue location in Brooklyn).

We start with a very strong primary logo.


The pentagon is a good choice, a solid geometric shape with obvious connections to the five boroughs of New York City. Perhaps more interesting than a circle, shield or other common shapes, and it's nicely balanced with the banner and crown. I love using the Statue of Liberty's crown as a flourish on the top, as well as the touch of gold it brings to the color scheme. I'm not entirely sold on the white and navy rays; think there might be something better to feature in that space.

This is his secondary logo:


Also good, although there's something about the monogram that I don't like. It's a little too spindly, reminiscent of the monogram being used by Brooklyn Industries on their clothes this fall.

This may be a little too much gold, in the total absence of white.

I do love the shield-like two shades of blue in the background of the pentagram, however. Totally missed that in the primary logo, as it is obscured by the rays. Maybe that should be incorporated into the primary more.

Finally, we see his crest on a shirt:


That's outstanding. Really, really gorgeous. Even at a little distance, the pentagon/banner/crown creates a distinctive outline that's unmistakable against the blue field of the shirt.

Great concept.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Red Bull Running Scared

I saw this ad on the subway today, stressing how easy it is to get to Red Bull Arena from NYC:

Funny. For years, RBNY was content to ignore the city, but they seem to made a significant ad purchase in NYC in the last few months. Between the Cosmos and NYCFC, they could well become the third team in the city.

If only they had cared more before they had competition.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

NY Times: "Soccer Club’s Latest Stadium Proposal Would Give the Yankees a New Neighbor"

The New York Times is reporting that NYCFC is looking at space in the Bronx as a potential permanent home:

Specifically, this site one block south of Yankee Stadium:

Soccer Club’s Latest Stadium Proposal Would Give the Yankees a New Neighbor
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: August 29, 2013

A Major League Soccer franchise, whose plans to build a stadium in a Queens park were interrupted by community opposition, has a new site in mind: just south of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

If the latest proposal is successful, the New York City Football Club would build a 25,000-to-30,000-seat stadium that offers connections to subways and rail lines, as well as Yankee Stadium and the Gateway Center, a large retail complex near the Harlem River.

The franchise, a partnership of Manchester City Football Club of England’s Premier League and the Yankees, are negotiating with the owners of a nine-acre parcel between the Major Deegan Expressway and East 153rd Street.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions,” Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, said, “but we’re a long way from any decision. We’re also considering sites in Queens and Brooklyn.”

Mr. Levine emphasized that if a deal was struck, it would not involve any parkland. The team, which would not play on the same day the Yankees had a home game, has sought a site that is near public transportation and communities where soccer is especially popular.

In May, elected officials, community groups and park advocates objected to the soccer club’s original plan to build a stadium on 10 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an area that already has a baseball stadium and a tennis complex.

Despite support from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the team backed away from the Queens site, saying it would explore other possible locations. But that, team officials said, does not necessarily eliminate Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as a potential site.

In July, Mr. Bloomberg appeared to indicate that the club would indeed play its home games in the Bronx, saying in his weekly radio address that “Yankee Stadium will become the home of the New York City Football Club.” A few days later, the mayor’s office said Mr. Bloomberg had misspoken.

Rubén Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, said he would gauge the reaction of local residents in the coming weeks to building a second stadium on the site before coming to a final decision. He said he would oppose any use of parkland.

It will not be easy for the club to put the Bronx site together. Sitting on the parcel under consideration is a parking garage for Yankee Stadium that is run by a troubled nonprofit, the Bronx Parking Development Company. In April, the company defaulted on a $237 million civic bond.

The soccer club would have to strike a deal with the parking company that would compensate it for the garage and put it on more solid financial footing.

The club would also have to acquire the land currently occupied by a highway ramp and a 100,000-square-foot factory, GAL Manufacturing Corporation, a family-owned business that makes elevator components and employs 225 people. Bronx officials do not want to lose a major employer. According to one person who has been briefed on the talks but was not authorized to discuss them, the soccer club has offered to build GAL a new factory elsewhere in the Bronx.
This would be a great fit, although I'm intrigued by the possibility that they could still put one in Brooklyn. I presume that the Queens site mentioned is at Flushing Meadows; ten years ago they might have been able to put something together in Long Island City, with tremendous views of Midtown. That's not far from the site where they took this publicity shot:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Some Other Team to Host Brooklyn Viewing Party

The Red Bulls are holding a viewing party in Brooklyn Bridge Park on August 10th.

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Come out to the outdoor viewing party of the season, when the Red Bulls hit the road to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Aug. 10th.The Red Bulls will set up a big screen and get the party started at Brooklyn Bridge’s Harbor View Lawn at Pier 1 (underneath the bridge).

The festivities kick off a 7:00PM (actual match start time is 7:30 PM), so make sure you get there early to snag a close spot. Bring your blankets, towels, lawn chairs and of course cameras. Food and beverages will be available for purchase as well. Cash only.

To join the event, RSVP on the team's Facebook page. For those who may have questions about transportation options to and from the viewing party, check the Red Bulls website.
This is the second year the Red Bulls have held an outdoor viewing party in Brooklyn. 

It's good to see that the Red Bulls are taking an interest in the city. Shame that it took the Cosmos and NYCFC to prod them into doing it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pier 40 Stadium Renderings Leaked

Two days ago, these renderings of a proposed MLS soccer stadium on Pier 40 were leaked on Reddit.

This was one of the locations considered before MLS turned its focus to Queens, but setbacks there might mean the West Side plan is still alive.

The roof only covers three sides of the stadium, presumably to allow gorgeous views of Downtown and the World Trade Center:

Excellent. I'd put the supporters' groups in that south stand, to complete the picture. 

Here's what the proposed stadium would look like from the Hudson River (minus all the buildings that would be behind it):

And here's a view from the West Side Highway, looking towards New Jersey.

If you're not familiar with Pier 40, it's located on the Hudson River, on the West Side of Manhattan, in the southwest corner of the West Village.

It is an oversized, square pier with more than 14 square acres of space. It currently hosts soccer fields, a dog run, trapeze cage and parking lots.

Pier 40 is part of the Hudson River Park, which has seen a massive development over the past decade. Old piers have been reclaimed and repurposed, and a pedestrian/bicycle path spans the entire riverfront from the Battery all the way up to the Harlem River. The water is a major component of life on the West Side of Manhattan, and any stadium would be integrated into the heart of New York City.

There are two major issues I see, as someone who lived near the Hudson River for many years: I don't know how well a soccer stadium would be able to handle car traffic; and it's important that the public space not be completely handed over to a private entity. MLS would have to share its treasure with the locals. If those concerns can be addressed it would be an amazing site. Breathtaking views, lots of space on which to build and just blocks from the 1, B, C, D, E, F and M subway lines as well as the PATH train from New Jersey.

In the past, it has been speculated that the Dolans might try to kill this proposal as they did the Jets' West Side Stadium project in 2005. They saw any new venue as a threat to Madison Square Garden's lucrative concert income, and spent a lot of money to make sure they didn't have the competition. This time, however, they're fighting just to hold on to the lease in their current location, and I doubt they'll have either the time or resources to spend opposing this plan.