Is it blasphemy? Soccer is being held at New York’s Yankee Stadium, built for baseball.
Wikipedia states that “(O)n April 21, 2014, it was announced that New York City FC, a Major League Soccer expansion team owned jointly by the New York Yankees and Manchester City, would play in Yankee Stadium from 2015 until their new stadium is completed. NYCFC played their first game at Yankee Stadium on March 15, 2015.”
On a gorgeous Thursday night in April, fans chanted “olé olé olé olé” under banners of Babe Ruth on the concourse outside, according to USA Today. Young men in bright blue scarves discussed Mix Diskerud’s latest performance while going through security.
Over 20,000 fans showed up at Yankee Stadium on April 11th (a weekday evening) to see New York City F.C., the city’s new MLS expansion team, take on Philadelphia Union in a game that was being branded as a possible new rivalry, states USA Today.
The game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Regional rivalries are part of MLS’ development strategy, similar to the three-team grouping in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. The rivalries drove fan interest and ratings when they played on national TV, states USA Today.
No one is sure if the NYCFC–Union rivalry will take off. It still feels new, states USA Today, but NYCFC is a new team.
It was “born of the wealth of Manchester City and the New York Yankees and the desire to bring soccer to the Big Apple. (The New York Red Bulls actually play in Harrison, New Jersey, which is just a PATH train-ride away.)
Despite being the wrong shape for a soccer venue, Yankee Stadium is surprisingly intimate. The field is packed into the outfield and reaches just to the pitching mound, which is covered for every game.
(NYCFC’s schedule was worked around the Yankees schedule to give the stadium crew time to set up the field.)
The supporters’ section, located in the left field bleachers, is loud and still figuring out what it means to be a supporters’ section.
It’s “beautifully raw,” according to USA Today. The fans sing songs, usually made famous by other soccer clubs. (They particularly love an updated version of “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel, which is a mainstay at stadiums on both sides of the pond.)
But the teams may need some new chants. “We don’t like most of the chants,” said Marvin Blugh, a 25-year-old from Brooklyn who bought season tickets in the bleachers this year. “Feels like we’re ripping off the other teams.”