Khaldoon Al Mubarak was a successful businessman long before he turned Manchester City into a sporting superpower. And the Emirati is bullish on the potential of Major League Soccer and his club's new franchise within the league, New York City FC.
In a video interview posted on the Manchester City website, the chairman of the club used a portion of his end of season chat to praise MLS and predict big things from the emerging league.
"This is a great move for Manchester City," Al Mubarak told mcfc.co.uk. "We've been looking at doing a deal with an MLS franchise for, I would say, a good year now. Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Its popularity is growing immensely, MLS has been a big success. If you look at the growth trajectory of MLS over the last couple years, and if you look at the future for the next five years, this is really the place to be.
"It's a great league, it's very well run, Don Garber is a fantastic commissioner, there's some wonderful owners in this league. You look at the TV audience this league has been able to achieve in terms of growth over the last couple years and the trajectory moving forward, there's no doubt this a fantastic commercial proposition. Soccer is great in the U.S., it's very popular, MLS is a fantastic league with great franchises."
Al Mubarak was especially excited about placing the new club in New York, and partnering with the Yankees, one of the historic juggernauts of American sports.
"And... New York. If you are gonna pick a place to play in the United States, where better than New York? It's a wonderful city, with a wonderful sporting culture. There's no city in the United States, the entire United States, that has as much professional sports as New York.
"And New York City needs a football team, a soccer team. This is what we will bring. We will bring a new franchise to New York. We will build a team together with one of the best sporting partners in the world, the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees is, in terms of sports franchises in the United States, probably the greatest sports franchise, arguably, in the United States, and one of the most well-established globally."
New York City will join MLS for the 2015 season.