San Antonio FC announced this afternoon that it has established an affiliation with New York City FC of Major League Soccer. The two organizations are separated by a greater distance than most clubs making such an arrangement, but also unlike the others, this is a power move of the highest order.
NYCFC needs to establish a connection with a USL club, per the existing agreement between the two leagues. SAFC needs to strengthen its business, its roster, its connections, and anything else that will keep it in front of the committee debating MLS expansion.
SAFC Managing Director Tim Holt said in a statement, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with New York City FC as we continue to shape the ambitious future of San Antonio FC. 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.”
That’s a pretty predictable statement when you’re engaging with an organization as big as City Football Group, but NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna actually returned the sentiment, saying that SAFC’s parent company Spurs Sports & Entertainment is an organization, “New York City FC can learn a great deal from...” That’s high praise, but he’s not wrong.
Despite the money and power of CFC, they are still relatively new to the US, while SS&E is arguably one of the most business-savvy sports brands anywhere. For NYCFC to navigate the landscape here for the long haul - especially in a world of salary caps, TAM, and GAM - will take a considerable amount of humility. This is one good step in that direction.
What do you think about this affiliation? Let us know in the comments below!