Exciting sporting negations underway

August 16, 2012 by  

Not far from Bellerose, an exciting development is shaping-up that could give the New York Mets baseball team a new neighbor and Flushing Meadows a new tenant. According to reports in the New York Post, Major League Soccer officials are in discussions with state and local authorities on a deal that would bring a new, 25,000-capacity stadium, along with a professional soccer team to the park complex.

Flushing Meadows, at 1,255 acres, is the largest park area in the borough of Queens. The site has hosted two World Fairs, professional baseball, and U.S. Open tennis. Surrounded by neighborhoods with significant resident population from South America and Mexico, the region is filled with enthusiastic soccer fans. As New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg noted at a recent news conference:

“In Queens, in particular, soccer is a very big game.”

In addition to sports enthusiasts, the local business community is also watching how plans progress for the soccer stadium and franchise. Professional level sports matches have potential to boost the bottom line for diverse organizations from the hotels that house out-of-town ticket holders to the printing companies that produce the event programs and team souvenir books.

Given the economic benefits of a new, privately-funded stadium, it is not surprising the venture is getting support from the state’s governor, as well as Mayor Bloomberg. Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo, said:

“We support bringing major league soccer to New York and are working with MLS to make that a reality.”

There seems little doubt that the MLS deal will be closely watched by elected officials at all levels in the coming weeks.