New Possible Stadium, Hiring for NYCFC

Stadium proposal in the Bronx submitted; Tim Pernetti set to be new chief business officer
by Nick Chavez   |   Monday, September 09, 2013

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

New York City FC has had a busy week if recently-emerging stories of the fledgling MLS club are to be believed.

According to reports, NYCFC are in negotiations to build a new stadium in the Bronx, just south of Yankee Stadium. Allegedly, the club is also set to announce former Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti as its Chief Business Officer.

NYCFC to be neighbors of the Yankees?

If NYCFC are able to successfully close negotiations with the owners of the 9-acre property between East 153rd Street and Major Deegan Expressway, the new soccer specific stadium (SSS) will have connections to rail and subway lines (an important facet for a new SSS in New York City for MLS, hoping to make the stadium easily accessible to as many fans as possible), as well as to the NYC landmark and tourist attraction Yankees Stadium and the Gateway Center, an expansive retail center just east of the Harlem River.

There’s no doubting that being in a location so close, familiar and easily accessible to the majority of the nearly 19 million living in NYC’s metro area will be ideal for MLS’s newest franchise, which is scheduled to begin playing in 2015 in a temporary location, most likely Yankee Stadium itself, until the new venue is built.

NYCFC’s new stadium will reportedly have 25,000-30,000 seats, though it would be wise for the SSS to be built with the capability of adding many more seats in the future. With NYCFC’s stated mission to become a great, global football club, and considering the insatiable ambition and embarrassment of resources at the disposal of the club’s owners, Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees, there are plenty of reasons to believe they may outgrow even a stadium of that size.

Considering Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium can seat over 85,000 spectators, and that Madrid is considerably smaller city than NYC and is the home to a few other top-flight football clubs, one would expect that NYCFC’s stadium could have room to grow in the coming decades. But it is certainly wise to start with a more modestly-sized stadium while MLS’s popularity still continues to grow.

Though it appears an official proposal has been submitted for the Bronx location, other locations are still in consideration. Yankees President Randy Levine was quoted saying, “We’re still looking at 4 or 5 sites, in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx–the 153rd Street site is one of two that we’re looking at in the Bronx. … Everything is on the table until we make a decision.”

Former Rutgers AD as CBO?

Reports have surfaced that former Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti will be announced as the new Chief Business Officer of NYCFC next week.  The anonymous source for this information is someone with “direct knowledge of the hiring.”

If true, it is an interesting selection since Pernetti was the athletic director of Rutgers during the time of the infamous scandal of Rutgers men’s basketball Head Coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing some of his players. As a result of the incident, Pernetti was forced to resign.

That aside, most accounts of Pernetti are quite positive. He has been very successful in several fields, including sports media management in ABC Sports and CBS television coverage of college athletics. He also received the Sports Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award recognizing the most influential figures in the sports business under the age of 40 in 2008.

During his time in charge of Rutgers Athletics, the school achieved record fundraising gains, receiving an estimated $70 million through these efforts from 2009 -2013. Pernetti has also been credited with forging the historic deal to make Rutgers a Big Ten Conference competitor in 2014.

Though seemingly a controversial hiring by NYCFC, it does seem that Pernetti may end up being an opportunistic stroke of genius, as he is already quite accomplished and experienced in his relative youth, and is known to be a very passionate, creative and energetic leader in the field of sports, and is obviously very influential and well-connected in the NYC/NJ metro area. These are certainly qualities that can help propel NYCFC’s business and sporting ventures in the right direction. 


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