Yankee Stadium has played host to soccer matches including Manchester City-Chelsea last May. (Elsa/Getty Images)
New York City FC have a temporary home for the next three seasons.
The New York Times is reporting the expansion Major League Soccer franchise will play its home games in Yankee Stadium until it can find a permanent home. Jointly owned by the Yankees and Manchester City of the Premier League, the team begins its inaugural season next March.
The fledgling team has had difficulties getting approval for its stadium plans. Last year, community opposition tanked a plan for a stadium located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the same area as U.S. Open Tennis venues and the New York Mets' Citi Field. The team then turned their attention to the borough where their partners play. In August, Yankees president Randy Levine said the team was in negotiations for a nine-acre patch of land that could accommodate a 25,000 to 30,000-seat stadium.
Per the Times report, ownership is comfortable with the short-term solution:
A Yankees executive emphasized to reporters earlier this year that a potential shared space was not a concern, saying the Yankees “realized what we were getting into” when they went into their M.L.S. partnership with Manchester City.
At an event in February to announce a summer exhibition game between Manchester City and Liverpool, Mark Holtzman, the Yankees’ executive director of nonbaseball events, said the team generally required several days to prepare for events and then several more to repair the playing surface for baseball. But he also noted that since its opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted soccer games as well as a schedule of summer concerts.
“Technology has gotten to the point where I think we can turn it around pretty quickly,” Holtzman said.
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New York City FC is a rare exception to the new expansion requirements that MLS has placed on cities that hope to join the league. Typically, a pre-approved stadium deal is a huge factor in in selection for admission. Commissioner Don Garber stated last year that he wanted to add four teams to the league by 2020.
The team is expected to make an official announcement next week.