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Resources Jan 04, 2013

NY Mets offer up new Citi Field for prospective MLS team, league not interested

With open park space at a premium, should MLS be open to the idea of accepting an offer from the New York Mets to use Citi Field for a prospective team in Queens, or should it go ahead and seek a $300 million stadium in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of Queens?

According to the New York Daily News, Major League Baseball’s New York Mets have offered up Citi Field as a potential home for a prospective MLS team to play in Queens and put a second team to compete with the Red Bulls in the city marketplace.

MLS, who have openly courted a second metro-New York team, has rejected the offer out of hand.

An MLS-commissioned survey (take it for what it’s worth), cites strong support for the stadium and its proposed Queens location.

Some locals are upset that open park space in a low-income area of the borough would be used for a stadium when a “reasonable option” is available at Citi Field, which hosted friendlies last August with Ecuador-Greece and Chile-Ecuador.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the “main hurdle … is replacing the roughly nine acres of parkland the city would give up for the [privately-funded] project.”

Mets owners had previously considered purchasing an MLS expansion team, but withdrew from consideration. Parking and competition for non-baseball events at Citi Field is also a concern.

What should happen here? Should MLS accept an offer of an already-built stadium, or should it go forward with plans to build an adjacent soccer-specific facility and upset the locals concerned about a loss of park, and parking, space?

— Jimmy LaRoue

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