16 April 2011

Donnie's New York Soccer Surcharge

By: Leo Glickman

In tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine, available on line right now, there’s an excellent article about the Cosmos and MLS. Check it out if you can.

We have linked the article so we won’t recite it chapter and verse here, but a few points.

  • We must all thank Pepe Pinton for preserving the physical history of the Cosmos like the royals protect the crown jewels. I was lucky enough to see some of it in the Cosmos office, and it’s beautiful, and there are some real gems.
  • Citifield is mentioned as a possible site for the Cosmos inspirational game that’s long been planned.
  • If there was any doubt, Kemsley and the Cosmos want IN on MLS real bad.
  • Garber is committed to the present MLS model of parity.
  • Oh, and Garber expects $100 million from a New York City MLS franchise.

ONE HUNDRED MILLION??? He foresees a 150% increase over other recent franchise fees for New York City.

Now, if you’re a New Yorker, you’re used to being ripped off. It’s 13 bucks to cross a bridge for god’s sake. Everything is more expensive, and everything seems to include a New York City surcharge. And now Don Garber wants his pound of financial flesh from New York City soccer fans in the form of a grossly over-priced franchise fee?

In case we have any readers unfamiliar with the capitalist system, let me explain. People who invest money try to recoup their investment, plus make a profit. Now it’s certainly true that the business of sports doesn’t always follow a scientific capitalist model, because some team owners get something other than money by owning a team - their egos stroked. Nevertheless, by and large owners want a return on their investment.

Who would the Cosmos, or any other prospective investment group, recoup the New York City franchise fee premium from? The fans, of course. Television rights are negotiated by the league, so they’d need to get their money back in the form of ticket prices and gear. By my back of the envelope calculations, that’s 25 bucks per ticket for five years to the fans, that’s how you make back the extra franchise fee.

This is what the self-proclaimed “boy from Queens” has planned for you, a Queens soccer surcharge. He wants you to pay extra money, and exclude the hundreds of thousands of working poor soccer fans from around the globe who live within spitting distance of the stadium. The very people who would make the Flushing Meadows site such a special place for US soccer.

With the possibility of the inspirational game being played at Citifield, we are reminded that everyone is looking to Flushing Meadows as the best option for a soccer stadium. But the league - in addition to showing no regard for the fans - is being utterly short sighted. Flushing Meadows works with a fully engaged community brimming with excitement and electricity on game days. If you make it too pricey for lower middle class often immigrant families to go to games, you undercut the excitement. Ask a tennis fan if Corona is a particularly exciting place to be during the US Open. Of course not. And ditto for Mets games.

Higher taxes, higher tolls, higher rents, higher prices to see a damn movie. But a Soccer surcharge? Maybe it’s time we take our advice from the great Howard Beale, stand up, and shout “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”


Franco Z. said...

Garber = Dr. Evil?

ali said...

*Stand up, sticks head out of window*

Anonymous said...

Garber is such a dick head i wonder every day how this guy is still in MLS HQ. the guy is from frickin Queens (as am i) he should be lending a hand to Cosmos not bankrupting us for the sake of his mls cartel. and his committment to parity? give me a break mls needs diveristy in club strenght not have everyone be the same. this is cookie cutter soccer. Parity = boring. thats why i dont watch it. i started taking interest when comsos starting popping up. I hope Cosmos obliterate MLS into pieces. no mercy on mls, garber or parity. THIS IS COSMOS!