Will Westchester County become the home of a professional sports team? The answer is… maybe.
Consistent roadblocks for the building of a soccer-specific stadium in New York City for the newly formed soccer club, New York City FC, have caused some to turn their attention to Westchester.
Co-owners Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees have been on the hunt for a home for NYCFC since the club’s formation, and NYC’s lack of support has made the prospect of building there difficult.
As a result, Yankees President Randy Levine hinted that the organization would be looking at options outside of NYC. “Tim Pernetti talked about the preference is New York City, but if it is not going to happen in New York City, there is other places I would advise we look at,” said Levine after a press conference announcing NYCFC’s plan to use Yankee Stadium for their inaugural season. Naturally, rumors have circulated about the potential of a home in Westchester County.
Westchester would come, of course, with its own set of challenges, too. One could only assume southern Westchester would be a viable spot, considering proximity to the city, and the organization might be hesitant to return after a failed deal with Manhattan College—a plan to improve the college’s athletic facilities in exchange for its use as NYCFC’s training grounds was initially approved by the Town of Harrison Planning Board despite some local opposition. The partnership fell through after the Purchase Environmental Protective Association as well as three local residents filed suit against the College, Planning Board, and NYCFC.
NYCFC, though, may find an answer in Yonkers. Mayor Mike Spano previously expressed desire to bring a professional sports franchise to Yonkers. If this were to occur, the most likely option would be to build a stadium adjacent to the Empire City Casino, a site easily accessible by public transit.
Regardless of where NYCFC will make its home in the future, Westchesterites will want to keep a close eye on the fledgling organization. The team’s owners have been successful in attracting some serious talent. David Villa, formerly of Atlético Madrid, a top club in the internationally renowned Spanish Primera was the club’s first signing. As the all-time top goal scorer for the Spanish National team, Villa’s generally considered one of the best strikers in the world. Villa’s joined by Frank Lampard, formerly of Chelsea—another historically acclaimed player, though, at 36, toward the end of his career.
NYCFC’s first season will be played at Yankee stadium, a short subway ride away. Season tickets for the 2015 season have already gone on sale, with the first set going to NY icon Mariano Rivera.