New York City FC’s home stadium is Yankee Stadium, and if the name isn’t a dead giveaway, they’re a secondary tenant. While it’s not exactly a rental situation — NYCFC is partially owned by the New York Yankees’ holding company Yankee Global Enterprises — the baseball team is going to win out every time scheduling conflicts arise.
Thanks to a rainout earlier in the MLB season, one of those conflicts has come up. On Sept. 23, NYCFC will have to play at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut, because the Yankees need to make up a game.
#NYCFC's Home Game vs @HoustonDynamo Relocated to Pratt & Whitney Stadium— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 22, 2017
DETAILS ➡️ https://t.co/6MDzAqcio2 pic.twitter.com/Lt2bAhhAcW
This is extremely inconvenient for NYCFC fans, most of whom are used to taking the New York City subway to get to games. Taking public transportation to Hartford would require multiple service transfers, and even if you have a car, it’s probably going to be a five-hour round trip from the city.
This a is particularly bad look for NYCFC, a team whose brand is predicated on being located within the five boroughs of New York City. A New Jersey location has hindered the New York Red Bulls’ ability to draw fans from within NYC, which is why MLS Commissioner Don Garber made getting a team into the city a top priority in the early part of this decade.
When NYCFC came into existence, the league and owners promised that the team would work toward a soccer-specific stadium, and that Yankee Stadium would just be a temporary home. But NYCFC blog Hudson River Blue has moved on and accepted that idea as a fantasy, detailing failed plans to build a suitable home for the club at Chelsea Piers, in Flushing Meadows, in the Bronx, and in upper Manhattan. As they note:
“NYCFC has performed inadequately in its pursuit of a soccer-specific stadium. Upon founding, fans of the fledgling club were promised the eventual construction of a stadium, yet repeated political and business missteps by the organization have handicapped even the most meager attempts.”
Now, an inevitable scheduling conflict has forced NYCFC — a team that exists partially because many soccer fans were unwilling to take a 30-minute ride on the PATH train to New Jersey — to play two-and-a-half hours away from their home in the Bronx.
If there’s any silver lining here, at least NYCFC will get to play one game on a field that is not ridiculously narrow or allegedly crooked.