Friday, January 4, 2013
Mets propose soccer for CitiField
From the Daily News:
The controversy over a plan to bring professional soccer to Queens just got more intense with sports magnates and politicians alike mixing it up.
The Mets are “very interested and fully capable” of bringing Major League Soccer to Citi Field, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) announced Thursday.
The move would boost the baseball team’s coffers and eliminate potential competition from a $300 million MLS soccer stadium proposed for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Vallone, who is running for Queens Borough President, said this would be a win-win for soccer fans and open space advocates opposed to another stadium going up in the park.
“We have a state-of-the-art stadium sitting there waiting to be used a few yards away,” Vallone said. “This way we get to keep the parkland and we get Major League Soccer in Queens.”
Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz confirmed the idea is on the table.
“The Mets would be open to discussing the use of Citi Field for a potential MLS team,” Horwitz said in a statement.
But MLS spokeswoman Risa Heller dismissed the proposal.
The league is in talks with the city to build a 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in Flushing Meadows.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), who has championed the push to bring MLS to Queens, said using Citi Field wouldn’t work.
“The long-term economic impact would be significantly different,” he said.
A new soccer stadium is expected to create 2,100 to 2,300 construction jobs, 160 full-time and 750 part-time positions, MLS officials previously said.