It’s been quite a while since we’ve had something to talk about in regard to New York City FC’s ongoing search for a stadium to call their own. As a matter of fact, the last time we actually wrote an article even somewhat related to the stadium search is when we reported on some of the discussions had in the focus groups conducted by third-party RRU back in September.
Alas, there’s finally something new to share.
A little over a week removed from Claudio Reyna telling SBI that the team was “close” to settling on a site to build a stadium, Randy Levine — president of the New York Yankees, who own 20% of the club — has alluded to an NYCFC stadium announcement being in the not-so-distant future in a recent interview with Bloomberg about the Yanks repurchasing the YES Network.
Check it out for yourself! The statement comes at 4:30.
For those of you who are too lazy to scrub through the video — or have had it stripped by Apple News — Levine says this about the potential of NYCFC having a stadium in the near future:
“We’re in active negotiations trying to get a new stadium here in New York. We hope to have some announcement this year, so it’s been great.”
“This year.” THIS F—ING YEAR!
At first glance, it looks all too similar to what we’ve heard before. Upon further inspection, however, Levine’s statement could hold quite a bit of weight.
You ready for this bout of over-analyzing things? Of course you are!
Firstly, let’s analyze Levine’s use of language: he doesn’t use terms like “searching” or more vague phrases like “we’re working on getting a stadium.” Instead, he says “active negotiations.” As we all know, negotiating for something means you have already decided that you want it and are now in the process of working out a deal that will allow you to procure that special something. This is much different from “searching” for something, which means that you have an idea of what you want but either haven’t found it yet or don’t know for sure.
(Yes, I may very well be reading way too far into is. And I do apologize for the 1st grade English lesson.)
Another reason to be excited about Levine’s comments is the fact that his comments on the stadium situation were completely unsolicited. Scarlet Fu — the Bloomberg interviewer — simply asked Levine about New York City FC and the Yankee’s relationship with Manchester City (which is pretty much the shorthand for City Football Group these days). It was Levine that put the stadium subject forward.
All of this is up to one’s own interpretation.
Now let’s ask the burning question. Is Levine being honest? Is he just turning our wheels and telling us what we want to hear? Honestly, I don’t know. But it’s certainly cool considering his role with the club.
Despite the team he’s president of being co-owners of NYCFC, Levine hasn’t really been at the forefront of the club’s media relations since the pleasantries of the club’s announcement and the signing of David Villa. Since then, Levine — and the Yankees organization at large — has taken a back seat when it comes to the club’s dealings, leaving most of the heavy lifting to in-house suits such as Reyna or former team president Jon Patricof. This makes Levine’s comments, at the very least, more intriguing.
With all of that said, let’s take a quick refresher course on the recent happenings as they pertains to the search.
Back in April of 2018, it was reported by YIMBY that NYCFC had plans to build their stadium at the Harlem River Yards in the Bronx. A week later, Patricof — club president at the time — clarified that proposal was “not active.” You could imagine our disappointment.
But months later, something happened. Something big.
That June, the New York Times broke a story claiming that negotiations for NYCFC to build a stadium at the GAL Manufacturing facility, also located in the Bronx and only blocks away from NYCFC’s current home Yankee Stadium. This proposal — which was more or less confirmed by a club spokeswoman in the report — would include “a park, a hotel and conference center focused on soccer and sports, shops, office space, a school and as many as 3,000 affordable apartments.” Since then, outside of the focus groups, the news has been scarce.
Right now, the GAL factory is NYCFC’s best bet. It obviously has legs, hasn’t met much opposition to speak of, is a fine piece of real estate in an easily accessible location, and hasn’t been shot down by team brass. And with both Reyna and Levine expressing a strange sort of optimism recently, it’s quite possible that we are close to hearing what we’ve been dreaming of since 2013:
“Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. Your new home. Enjoy!”
God, I really hope I’m not psyching myself up for nothing.