Manchester City joined by Yankees in purchase of MLS franchise in New York

Club itself, rather than Sheikh Mansour, the purchaser in €77.5m deal

New York Yankees’ Randy Levine (left), MLS commissioner Don Garber (centre) and Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano.

New York Yankees’ Randy Levine (left), MLS commissioner Don Garber (centre) and Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano.

 

Manchester City have expanded their commercial and football activities into the United States with the majority purchase of a Major League Soccer franchise in New York. The franchise is a new one, planned to become the 20th competing in an expanded MLS from 2015.

Previous reports suggested that Sheikh Mansour, the Abu Dhabi-based owner of City since 2008, was planning to buy an MLS franchise in a personal capacity, but City’s announcement made it clear that the club itself is the purchaser. It is doing so in partnership with a local Major League Baseball team, the New York Yankees, who are taking a minority stake as an investor, with City the majority owners.

The official announcement by City, the Yankees and the MLS did not disclose the cost of the new franchise, but reports from New York suggested it cost $100m (€77.5m). The deal aims to extend City’s reach into the US and capitalise on the gradual growth of football as a game both played and watched in New York, a traditional baseball stronghold.

The development by City to have a presence and make money in new countries is seen by the Abu Dhabi ownership as vital to making the club financially sustainable and successful long-term, without major further investment.

The plans are being stewarded by the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, who was responsible for developing Barcelona’s brand and commercial activities during the club’s renaissance in the 2000s. Immediately after the Premier League season City flew to the US, where they will play Chelsea in St Louis, and at Yankee Stadium in New York.

The new franchise will not bear Manchester’s name, though; it will be called New York City Football Club. The new MLS franchise does not presently have a home but City have committed to “seeking a new permanent stadium” in New York. The club said over the past year it has been discussing the possibility of building a new stadium in the borough of Queens.
Guardian Service