February 10 – MLS side New York City FC (NYFC) and USL club San Antonio FC have announced a partnership from the 2017 season that will make each club the other’s affiliate. The partnership will cover both playing and commercial departments.
Both teams being their second seasons in their leagues and both are owned by sports-based businesses with ambition. NYFC is joint owned by City Football Group (owner of Premier League Manchester City) and Yankee Global Enterprises (owner of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees). San Antonio is owned by Spurs Sports & Entertainment which also owns and operates the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), a number of other team franchises in South Texas as well as the AT&T Center and Toyota Field stadia.
A press release said the two clubs “will explore opportunities in marketing, community relations, player development, academy expansion and growth as well as other key areas of sports business.”
This includes player movement between the clubs with San Antonio in particular looking to benefit from the strengthening of their roster with loan players of MLS quality.
The USL is the second division of US and a number of MLS teams play second teams in the league. NYCF doesn’t have a second team in the league but with this deal is recognising the value of second team outlet.
Initially the agreement will last for one season. San Antonio has applied for one of the MLS expansion slots and if successful the affiliate status would no longer be applicable.
The hook up is between two of the highest performing ‘corporate’sports groups in the Soccer marketplace in the US – both hold premium franchises, are used to success with their teams and are hungry for more.
SAFC Managing Director Tim Holt said: “NYCFC has quickly established itself as one of the highest performing clubs in Major League Soccer, and there is a considerable amount we can learn from their successful sporting and business models. We look forward to cooperating with our new partners and are excited by this tremendous boost headed into the 2017 season.”
NYCFC will benefit from having the extra leverage in the US sports market and their marketing expertise. Sporting Director Claudio Reyna (pictured) said: “Spurs Sports & Entertainment is a best-in-class professional sports organization that New York City FC can learn a great deal from as we look to grow our club on and off the field within the American sporting landscape. We also believe this will be a mutually beneficial relationship which will allow us to share ideas and knowledge on team and coaching development between the two clubs. This is an exciting announcement for both clubs and I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits that both teams can reap from it.”
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