Major League Soccer expansion club New York City FC and Yankees team president Randy Levine announced on Monday that the 20th MLS franchise will call Yankee Stadium it's home when the team begins play next season in 2015.
Here are some things to take note of, along with some quotes from Levine and others from today's press conference in the Bronx:
** “We are thrilled to call Yankee Stadium our first home for New York City FC,” NYCFC chief business officer Tim Pernetti said in a statement. “Yankee Stadium is one of the world’s most legendary sports venues and a great and accessible location for fans.
"There is no better place for New York City FC to kick off our historic first season in MLS and we look forward to hosting soccer fans across all five boroughs, and beyond at Yankee Stadium next year.”
** According to Yankees chief operation officer Lonn A. Trost, the stadium will be downsized from its current capacity of 49,642 seats to 33,444 seats for MLS matches. The field will be 110 yards by 70 yards. Conversion of the stadium from baseball to soccer, and vice versa, takes three days.
“The field conversion takes about three days,” Trost said. “We’ve been analyzing that when it comes to the schedule. We can work it in. The most difficult thing will be waiting on baseball to release its schedule in December.”
** Coming from the press release, NYCFC's 2015 home schedule will not have an impact on the schedule of the Yankees.
“By hosting the New York City FC for its inaugural season, Yankee Stadium will be hosting a very special chapter in sports history,” Levine said in a statement. “The Yankees are pleased to welcome New York City FC, all of its players and its fans, to our home, and believe the team’s dynamic presence in 2015 will make the stadium the most vibrant venue in the world.”
** For the time being, there is no telling how long NYCFC will be calling Yankee Stadium it's home. While the team continues to look for a deal to build a soccer-specific stadium, there is no timetable on how long it'll play in the Bronx.
“This is going to be our home for a few years,” said NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. “All the players I’ve spoken to are aware of it and it has not been a problem. We have 17 home games here and we want to make this our fortress as best we can. We are not concerned about it. My approach and Jason’s approach is that there are no excuses.”
"It’s been no secret that our plans all along are to do a deal to build a soccer-specific stadium within the five boroughs," Pernetti said. "We are continuing to do that. We’re conducting the same thorough search and developing our plans. Our goal is to be in a soccer-specific building as soon as possible. We’re going to take our time to get it right."
** One fun tidbit worth sharing: season tickets for the club's inaugural season also went on sale today, and Mariano Rivera was announced as the team's first season ticket holder -- his account number will be #42, of course.
"The real reason Mariano Rivera retired is he is going to be the striker for New York City Football Club." Levine joked during the presser.
"There are a lot of people that love soccer in New York City. Soccer was always my number 1 game. Baseball got in the way." Rivera said.