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Yanks, Manchester City awarded MLS expansion team

In partnership of sports' biggest names, New York City Football Club to play in 2015

The Yankees are helping to bring another professional sports franchise to New York.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced Tuesday that a global partnership between the Yankees and England-based Manchester City Football Club has acquired the MLS' 20th expansion club -- New York City Football Club -- to be based in New York and begin play in 2015.

"When the opportunity came for us to partner, we do what we do all the time -- we get sought out, but we only partner with quality people, brands that we believe can stand up with ours," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "And Man City, there's no doubt, is one of those.

"We're a great partner because we know New York City. We know how things work. We're going to help them, and we know how to build championship teams."

Manchester City will be the majority owner of the club, while the Yankees, as an investor, will be an active member of the ownership group. The two franchises will have an existing commercial relationship through Legends Hospitality, LLC. Manchester City will be in New York this weekend for a "friendly" exhibition match, to be played Saturday at Yankee Stadium against Chelsea FC.

"We are enthusiastic believers in the development of soccer in the U.S., and we know also that the MLS is a very well-managed league," Ferran Soriano, the CEO of Manchester City Football Club, said. "This opportunity in New York, we believe, is huge for us, huge for the city, and huge for U.S. soccer. We will work to deliver to the fans in New York good, beautiful football."

The team is seeking a permanent home in New York -- across the Hudson River from the New York Red Bulls, who are based in Harrison, N.J. -- and is expected to play at an interim location in 2015. Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, according to the team ownership, could be considered as temporary sites.

There has been discussion about building a new stadium at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, located near Citi Field in Queens, and Levine insists there will be no ill will between the New York baseball franchises if that plan comes to fruition.

"We're competitors with the Mets, but we're also partners with them in Major League Baseball," Levine said. "This has nothing to do with the Yankees and the Mets. As far as I'm concerned, one of those temporary sites could just as well be Citi Field as Yankee Stadium. This is about bringing everyone together for a football club in New York City."

The Metro New York area has already played host to the 1994 World Cup, the 1999 Women's World Cup, three MLS All-Star Games and multiple international exhibition games. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to host an event Wednesday that will introduce the first member of the NYCFC front office staff.

"For us to bring together an ownership group of these two winning organizations with global profile and incredible expertise -- and to do it in New York -- has been a priority for us since the league was founded in 1996," Garber said. "This is a market that has a rich history of soccer events, and an enormous profile."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak
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