11 March 2011

Garber on the Cosmos and New York Expansion:

SI.com: The only group publicly aiming to be the 20th MLS team is the New York Cosmos.
Garber: Publicly.
SI.com: They've hired Eric Cantona, Pel矇 and Cobi Jones, among others. What are their chances?
Garber: I have a lot of respect for what [Cosmos CEO] Paul Kemsley and his partners have done to relaunch the Cosmos brand. They'll be the first to say to realize their goals, they need an MLS team, and we've been in detailed discussions with them to see whether or not that's something that can come to fruition. Before we can do that we need a stadium plan, which we don't have at this point, though we're making progress with the City of New York, which is supporting us on trying to find a suitable location. There are others much less public than the Cosmos who continue to express interest. Sometime by the end of the year we'll have a better sense as to where we're going with the 20th team. But I'm committed to trying to finalize a deal so it can be here in New York.
SI.com: The Wilpons are in dire financial straits these days with creditors demanding as much as a billion dollars after the Madoff affair. Now they're trying to sell part of the Mets. The Wilpons have to be out of the running for the 20th MLS team in New York and any stadium at this point, right?
Garber: They're not. We remain in discussions with them. I spent almost a day with them this past weekend. They continue to have interest in MLS, and they also have a pretty darn good stadium site. I have a lot of respect for Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and I think there's more to that story that's still to be told. They are good people and real sportsmen. I hope they're able to solve whatever their short-term issues are. But everything with MLS is long-term. I'm sure they'll get through their issues, and our decision here is going to be one for a generation. We've got to be sure we've got the right owner for the long term.
SI.com: Speaking of which, where is the Cosmos's financial backing coming from? The word I hear is the Middle East.
Garber: You'll have to get that answer from them. Certainly we wouldn't be in discussions with them if we didn't think they had the ability to purchase the team and pay what will be a record-setting expansion fee and also fund the construction of a stadium, which will require a significant amount of money.
SI.com: What is the current expansion fee price?
Garber: It's going to be a heck of a lot more than the last one, which was $40 million [for Montreal].

What does this mean?

Well if Garber is telling the truth and the Wilpons are still in this game, a team up of the Cosmos and the Mets spells a slam dunk.

The Cosmos according to Garber have the money for not only the Stadium, but the enormous franchise fee. Now throw in the "pretty darn good stadium site" and possible "middle eastern" investor, and you have to think ducks are in a row to get something done.

The only concern here is that Garber says the Stadium plan still is not there, however does mention discussions with the City of New York. Hopefully the Cosmos will clear up some of the stadium questions with The Borough Boys at the Q and A on March 23rd.

We all know Garber likes to speak vaguely at times, but with his constant talk of "getting something done in New York," fans of a team in NYC proper have something to be excited about.


Chris Dobens said...

Great stuff. Not sure why Wahl thinks the money will come from the Middle East, other than that so much of it does. Methinks there's a reason the Cosmos went on an Asia Tour. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some Asian investors, like Courts.

Bryon said...

You can't ask for more support & backing from MLS on this one. We just need someone to pony up for that flippin' stadium! Damn, I wish I were a billionaire!!

Nick said...

You guys are missing the point - garber pretty much says - they would not be talking with the Cosmos if he felt they did not have the financial muscle. Just confirms they do.

Look for a partnership - Wilpons, Cosmos - land near citi field. Has to be. Cant see it anywhere else.

Bryon said...

I get that, but nobody is committing to anything yet, which is what bothers me. I'm going to try & stay optimistic, but something is still making me feel iffy. Of course, I hope I'm wrong.

Nick said...

Filly iffy is perfectly understandable - we all will not be sold until this is a done deal! Agreed Byron!

Keep em crossed!

Leo Glickman said...

Couple of things.

first, Garber really should let his hair grow out a little so it covers his ears.

Second, I think there has been a lot of doubt out there whether kemsley and the cosmos could put the money together. Clearly, they have the capability.

Third, having the capability doesn't mean it gets done. This is a complicated process because of all the contingencies. It's hard to put all the financing together when there is still at least the possibility that the City/community wouldn't let it happen. Conversely, politicians don't necessarily want to commit to a project like this that will inevitably alienate some voters, only to have the financing fall through and it doesn't get done.

It's a delicate catch-22 situation. So it will ALWAYS be iffy until someone's got a goddam shovel in the ground, and even then...

I also think that Garber's mention of the franchise fee was fairly classless and I suspect a slap down on Kemsley, who I have little doubt has expressed to the league that they expect to pay less, given the investment they've made in US soccer already.