Let America Sheikh: Manchester City owner looks set to announce creation of New York-based MLS franchise

Paddy von Behr

The un-charted territory of Major League Soccer may be next on the Manchester City owner’s to-do list, after it was suggested he is looking to establish his own franchise.

The New York Times reported Sheikh Mansour is ready to invest a $100million ‘expansion fee’ to create the 20th MLS team, based in New York.

City are believed to be hoping to announce the news next month, with a number of details within the deal still to be agreed upon.

However, Michael Bloomberg, the New York mayor, suggested to reporters last week the deal is close to completion.

He said: “Hopefully we’re getting close to announcing a new soccer stadium here in Flushing Meadows Park.”

There are suggestions the franchise will be named ‘New York City FC’ and will be entered into the MLS from the start of the 2016 season.

The move represents a genuine intent from the Abu Dhabi royal family to expand its football portfolio beyond City.

The USA is one of the sport’s fastest-growing markets and relatively un-tapped in terms of commercial potential.

Better-established world powers such as Manchester United and Real Madrid have captured the burgeoning Asian markets, but America remains un-conquered.

Ownership of an MLS franchise may also give City the opportunity to utilise the team and the league to nurture youngsters of their own, as well as picking up new talent.

And with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations imminent, additional revenue streams will be invaluable for a club that will need to adjust its finances. 

Image courtesy of Manchester City FC, with thanks.

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