Late last month, news broke that select fans were invited to focus groups regarding what they’d like to see in a New York City FC soccer-specific stadium, the first of which was scheduled to take place on September 11. NYCFC Nation would later report that these focus groups were being hosted by Fusion Focus RRU, the same recruitment specialists responsible for gathering research for the newly christened Los Angeles FC and the rival New York Red Bulls, both of whom (admittedly) have beautiful soccer-specific stadiums.
Hudson River Blue was able to get in contact with multiple individuals in attendance for some of the meetings, all of whom wish to remain anonymous, and hear some details about what was discussed.
To spare you all the suspense, no, a specific location was not mentioned to be chosen and/or secured in any of the group meetings. However, discussions seemed to indicate that the stadium would be in one of the five boroughs, as ease of access by way of the subway was stressed hard by attending supporters.
Things that were discussed seemed to vary from group to group, but at least one of them talked specifically about capacity — the general consensus being a stadium with 28-30K seats — and a rigging system for supporter-created TIFOs, much like the ones they have at Red Bull Arena and the Portland Timbers’ Providence Park.
A particularly big topic of conversation revolved around what was referred as a “Pioneer Package” which would include a one-time payment that would provide perks such as a long-time price lock on season tickets, a lounge at the new stadium for “Pioneer members”, and early access to tickets for alternative events at the stadium among other things. The price for this package would vary depending on where you sit in the stadium and whether or not you are a City Member, ranging anywhere from $250 to upwards of $500. Mind you, this payment would not include season tickets.
Though the details were scarce, this doesn’t seem like a ploy by the club to get season ticket holders or City Members to renew their memberships next season. Given the fact that these focus groups are being hosted by a third party and contain questions specifically about the desired fan experience regarding a future NYCFC Stadium, it seems that the club is legitimately close to procuring a stadium site and are genuinely curious as to what the fans want and don’t want.
There’s no way to tell exactly how far along the line this will be. But there’s a strong chance that we are as close as ever to putting Yankee Stadium and our uber-small pitch in the rearview mirror.