Yesterday, the Borough Boys supporters club, representing New York City's Soccer fans, hand delivered a letter to Commissioner Garber's office, expressing concern about the $100 million price tag he has put on the New York City franchise. The new franchise fee was reported in the New York Times last Sunday, April 17.
Major League Soccer Commissioner
420 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Dear Commissioner Garber:
Since 2007, the Borough Boys have worked to bring an MLS team to New York City. We have “made noise”, as you asked us to do, built a grassroots movement, and lobbied City officials and met with potential owners to show them that soccer is good business and good politics.
So, after four years of laying this groundwork, we were hugely dismayed to find that Major League Soccer has made itself a major impediment to the MLS2NYC movement. It was reported in the New York Times magazine on April 17 that a New York franchise could cost $100 million, two and a half times the fee of the next most expensive franchise.
A $100 million franchise fee can mean only one of two things: 1) scaring off potential investors by making a NYC team financially impossible, or 2) forcing investors to pass YOUR fee on to the fans.
Either way, we are very concerned about the stance of the league. We know you’re from Queens, so presumably you know the borough. Take a long walk, start out on Greenpoint Avenue and end at the Flushing side of Roosevelt Avenue. You’ll find a rich soccer culture amidst hard scrabble, working poor and middle class neighborhoods. These are the people who will fill your stadium, if you allow them. These are the people who will create the electric environment around the stadium on game days. These are the people who will make New York one of the great soccer destinations of the world, and increase the interest and value of your league along with it.
Price them out and you’ll just have an MLS stadium dead zone. You might still have a viable team, but not a special team. When you go to any of the great soccer capitals in South America and Europe you realize that it’s not just the quality on the field, or even the singing in the stands, but the atmosphere, before and after the game, and the culture of the team that make the experience great. Do not undermine this very special opportunity for our city and your league. Be fair with New York and you will be rewarded with not only the greatest soccer scene in MLS, but among the best in the world.
We thank you for your consideration and look forward to a response.
The Borough Boys Supporters Club &