New York City FC will play its first season at Yankee Stadium, the club confirmed on Monday.
NYCFC will employ a modified version of the temporary layout used to stage friendlies in the past to host an expected 17 home matches in 2015.
"We couldn’t be happier about it," NYCFC chief business officer Tim Pernetti said in a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Monday morning. "It is the most accessible venue in the market. I think our fans will have a variety of ways of getting here to see the quality of soccer that I think is going to be really high-level, exciting and fun. We’re going to create a tremendous experience at Yankee Stadium. Plus, This is the first MLS season that will be played in New York City. What better place to do that than Yankee Stadium? No better place."
In order to make Yankee Stadium more suitable for MLS use, NYCFC expects to reduce capacity from 49,642 to 33,444. Even with certain sections of the stadium closed for NYCFC matches, Yankee Stadium is expected to have the second-largest capacity for regular-season soccer matches in MLS behind CenturyLink Field in Seattle (38,500).
Most of the concerns surrounding the use of the venue stem from converting from baseball to soccer on a regular basis. It is expected to take the better part of three days to convert from one sport to the other, according to club officials. Those efforts will involve moving the mound and shifting the soccer field toward right field in an effort to squeeze the expected 110×70 field within the current footprint of the stadium.
Those machinations will allow NYCFC to play its home matches at Yankee Stadium next season, but they also raise the question about when the club will move to its own venue. NYCFC continues to search for a suitable location to build a soccer-specific stadium within the five boroughs, but it has not yet struck a deal on the venue.
Despite the uncertainty, Pernetti denied a New York Times report from last week stating NYCFC will play its first three seasons at Yankee Stadium in order to provide more time to devise a permanent solution.
"We’re not going to put a timeline on it," Pernetti said.