It turns out that MLS is not run by a bunch of crazy people who were so blinded by the idea of putting an expansion team in New York City proper that they were willing to basically give away a stadium to make it happen. At least, that was my take-away from the latest developments with the proposed stadium in Flushing Meadows, which included MLS officials finally going on the record about some of their plans.
There was a lot of talk about how important this could be to that community, but here's the most interesting part from my perspective: The economics are straightforward:
The stadium will be entirely funded by the club's owner and it will create an estimated 2,200 construction jobs, 160 full-time jobs and 750 part-time gameday jobs.
One of the biggest complaints from MLS fans who are skeptical of giving a second team to the New York market was that there was this belief that the league was going to pay for the stadium and then basically hand it over to the new owner. Even if that owner had paid the rumored $100 million price tag on the team, that would have only covered a fraction of the costs to build a stadium.
With this now in the open, putting a 20th team in New York City makes even more sense. MLS would finally have direct access to the biggest city in North America, the league would have a huge influx of money from the expansion fee and there would be another potentially marquee destination for Designated Players.
Of course, there are still plenty of reasons to be skeptical of putting a 20th team in New York, not the least of which is that they'll surely be some level of competition for attention for the Red Bulls. But at least now we can focus on the actual merits of the market, instead of worrying that the league is making a huge financial gamble on the backs of the existing teams.