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.