Yankees, Manchester City Team Up for MLS Launch

New NYC pro soccer club to debut in 2015

Two of the world’s most prominent sports franchises have joined forces to bring a new Major League Soccer club to New York.

The New York Yankees and Manchester City Football Club announced today that they will scrape together the necessary funds to launch the 20th MLS team, with plans to begin play in a yet-to-be-identified Gotham venue in 2015.

While financial details were not disclosed by either the Yankees or Man City, it is believed that the cost of getting New York City FC off the ground will work out to around $100 million. The Yankees are believed to be willing to front a quarter of the startup cash, while majority owner Man City will shoulder the lion’s share of the burden.

The last expansion team to join the MLS was the Montreal Impact, which played its first season in 2012. Owner Joey Saputo and his investors ponied up approximately $40 million in startup fees.

With a net value of $2.3 billion, the Yankees are the nation’s most valuable sports team—and third in the world behind Real Madrid ($3.3 billion) and Manchester United ($3.17 billion). Forbes estimates Man City’s value at $689 million.

Man City in 2012 won its first English Premier League title in 44 years. The club this year finished a rung below its crosstown rivals. (Man U in April won its 13th EPL crown with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.)

“We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City soccer,” said Man City CEO Ferran Soriano, by way of announcing the deal. “In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization.”

The Yankees and the EPL club have an existing commercial relationship through the international entertainment/marketing organization Legends Hospitality, LLC.

“We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in the New York market and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city,” said Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the New York Yankees. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York—and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy.”

Yankees president Randy Levine will serve as the point person in leading the effort to launch and establish NYC FC, which joins the New York Red Bulls as the area’s second MLS club.

While the two investors plan to build a new stadium in New York, no one expects a project of that magnitude to be completed in time for the expansion team’s inaugural season. As such, NYC FC will play its 2015 home games at an interim facility.

Levine today said it’s possible that the new club will play its opening season on the Kentucky Bluegrass of Yankee Stadium, adding that the organizations will assess all local options. (The House That George Built will host a friendly between Man City and Chelsea on May 25. On that same day, the Yankees will be in the middle of a three-game stint in Tampa.)

Media rights were not disclosed, but it’s a given that NYC FC will find a home on the YES Network. Per SNL Kagan estimates, YES in 2013 is on track to generate $466.7 million in affiliate fees and another $73.2 million in ad sales revenue.

More details will be made available during a joint press conference that will be held in New York tomorrow at 10 a.m.