NY Soccer Examiner
The New York Red Bulls may soon have some significant competition in their market. According to Dylan Butler on Soccer By Ives, New York City has acquired the rights to field a USL First Division team beginning in 2010.
The team would reportedly play out of Hofstra University with some home games potentially being played at Randall’s Island or Columbia University.
According to Butler’s sources, the franchise would also be looking to build its own soccer-specific stadium somewhere in Queens, perhaps stepping on the toes of MLS, which has been working on such a project with potential investors for some time.
Though officials at the Untied Soccer Leagues are yet to confirm these reports, Ives Galarcep is typically an extremely reliable source. Assuming these reports are true, the new team could have major implications on the Red Bulls.
New York City is still a largely untapped market for the Red Bulls, who have been struggling to draw numbers at the Meadowlands for years. The team’s move to Harrison, NJ, does not displace them any further from New York, but the addition of a team that may actually play within the city will appeal to fans.
Even if the team plays at Hofstra, it is still directly competing for Red Bulls fans on Long Island and within New York City. If marketed properly, the potential USL-1 team could find success, particularly if they obtain their own stadium in the heart of Queens.
This could be a situation where the market is being tested with a USL-1 team that can progress to MLS if it finds success, but for right now, the folks at the United Soccer Leagues are a step ahead of those at Major League Soccer, which still does not have a direct presence in New York City.