New York City FC – Looking good so far
Without question, one of the most challenging endeavours a newly formed professional football club undertakes, among others, is the knack to keep its fan-base eager and optimistic.
Majority shareholder Abu Dhabi based City Football Group’s North American project – New York City F.C will play its first game today against Orlando based – Orlando City.
The club has already embarked on a bittersweet relationship with its growing number of followers, which according to club president, Tom Glick is a good thing.
“It’s a very good sign, … to have this level of passion at this point in our development.” said Tom Glick in a recent interview with NY Times.
But the NYCFC faithful do not see it that way as they went through anxiety from the time the club crest was flaunted to the revelation of a jersey which to a neutral would suggest is the parent Manchester City’s truly sister club ending at the fiasco surrounding the arrival of profoundly publicised Englishman Frank Lampard.
On a whole, the response from the fans has been very positive with the club more than delighted by how much New Yorkers have gotten behind the team. Much of the gratitude should be given to NYCFC’s social media team and relevant supporter groups like Third Rail who have managed to keep the young millennia’s engaged.
Calling the mythical Yankee Stadium home, the club has already surpassed over 14,000 season tickets out of the total allocated seats of 27,528 before it’s maiden season, which signifies the interest placed by football loving New Yorkers on the club.
“We are delighted to see so many New Yorkers getting behind our Club. The momentum is growing every week and we have sold over 1,000 season tickets in the last 3 weeks alone,” said Tom Glick adding, “New York City FC’s 14,000 Founding Members are the foundation of our Club. They’re passionate about this Club and passionate about soccer in New York. We can’t wait to start playing for them.”
Excitement is growing to have a world famous stadium as their first home and from previous club friendly that Yankee stadium has hosted, it has proven its credentials as a remarkable football venue. NYCFC nonetheless has the intentions to build their own football-specific stadium within the city, but till that notion comes to fruition, the club is looking forward to sharing it with the Yankees.
In fact, for most of the games, the upper tiers were supposed to remain closed with the purpose of capping the capacity at below 30,000. However, with 25,000 tickets already sold for the home opener against New England Revolution on March 15th and rising ticket demand, tickets would be made available in the 300 level of the stadium for the game.
“We are excited to be making more tickets available as we see such strong demand for our first ever home game. We are extremely pleased that so many New Yorkers want to be part of history and be there as we kick-off in New York City. This is a landmark moment for our Club and for soccer in New York,” said Glick in a statement on the club’s website.
But in a competitive market, which includes prominent sports organisations such as the Giants, Yankees, Rangers, Knicks and a league neighbour in the form of the Red Bulls, the question would remain on whether NYCFC would able to rise above the noise.
As evident the fact of New York City’s attractiveness to the sports industry, it is also one which boasts of a great footballing history dating back to late 1970’s and early 80’s identifying greats like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer who braced the city. Many of the club’s season ticket holders had never had a season ticket before, so there exists a large group of New Yorkers on the lookout for a team to call their own, which many believe has been answered.
Another distinct character that the city was able to bring about within its sporting history is the ability to choose between two, regardless of the sport one would romanticise about. The opportunity to choose always came in two’s – either you were a Yankee or a Mets supporter (MLB), a Giants or a Jets follower (NFL), a Knicks or a Nets fan (NBA) with the only exception being if you were a hockey enthusiast which is when you would choose between NJ based Devils, the Rangers or the Islanders.
But when it came to football, the only major league team the city witnessed is New York Red Bulls who were based in New Jersey, who were earlier named as ‘Metrostars’. Hence, it was only rational to bring about a team in the city that could take a chunk of the 8.4 million people residing in the city.
It wouldn’t be surprising to come across an onslaught of friendly argument within the two fan bases on which club is truly New York-ish, a dispute we are all too familiar with as it seldom takes place in Manchester.