Manchester City partners with New York Yankees to own MLS team

The Premier League giant and historic baseball club team up to own New York City Football Club, which will be the first MLS franchise located within the five boroughs
NEW YORK - Manchester City is partnering with the New York Yankees to own a Major League Soccer team, league commissioner Don Garber announced on Tuesday.

The 20th MLS expansion club will be called New York City Football Club and expects to start play in the 2015 season.

Manchester City, owned by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, will be the majority owner of the team. As an investor, the Yankees will be an active member of the ownership group.

“We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City soccer," said Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City. "In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”

While MLS has been negotiating with New York to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, NYC FC will start play at an interim home and will consider other sites for a stadium. It will become the first MLS club whose home will be located within the five boroughs.

The new team is intended to spark a rivalry with the New York Red Bulls, who play in Harrison, N.J.

“This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country," Garber said. "The New York area is home to more than 19 million people­, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”

Speaking to Goal prior to the official announcement, City defender Gael Clichy pointed out how a high-profile club in New York will benefit European teams.

“Everything is possible in football, and you can tell New York football is a growing sport, soccer is a growing sport in the U.S.," he said.

"Of course, a European team would like football, soccer as you call it here, to be even bigger [in the United States]. It’s going to take time, but anything that [Manchester City] can bring to MLS and to the American soccer is welcome."