How do you get a new sports team in New York City? Find a foreign billionaire buyer. It worked for the Brooklyn Nets, and now it's the same path being taken for the new Major League Soccer team than hopes to plant itself in a new stadium in Flushing, Queens. Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family who owns the Manchester City franchise in England, has entered the final stages of negotiation with MLS. Sheik Mansour has a personal fortune of $4.9 billion, and his family has amassed an oil fortune of $150 billion. Sources told the Times that the prospective owners are willing to pay a $100 million expansion fee to add the team to the league. They would be called New York City F.C. and begin play in 2016.
Plans to put a 25,000 and 35,000-seat professional soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park have been controversial within the local community, as it will take away 13 acres of parkland, but the city is likely to finalize the $340 million deal in the coming weeks. The new owner would privately finance the stadium, which would operate on a 35-year, $1-a-year lease with, according to Crain's, "no sales taxes on construction materials, no property taxes, and no revenue sharing with the city." The official announcement is expected to come May 25 when Manchester City plays Chelsea at Yankees Stadium. Until then, why don't we spend some time getting to know the royal sheik? He once flew Jay-Z and Kanye to Abu Dhabi for his niece's 16th birthday. This should be fun.
· Sheik Said to Pursue Soccer Franchise for Queens [NYT]
· Park Deals Chip Away at City's Gems [NYT]
· MLS Flushing Stadium coverage [Curbed]