Last night while cleaning some things up, I stumbled across my NY Cosmos fitted that my got me a couple of years ago. It got me thinking about what the NY Cosmos have been through the last few years. They kind of exploded back on the scene a few years back. Not with any on field performances or anything like that, but a marketing campaign that was pretty impressive. Damn near every pole in the LES and Fairfax district had Cosmos stickers, colabs with Umbro, parties were being done with Jeff Staple and the brand was seemingly everywhere. Eric Cantona was part of the management team of the club, Pele was back in the mix, talk of an MLS franchise was all over the place and they seemed destined to become the second professional soccer team in the NY city area.
Their marketing initiatives were heavy and they made serious noise. They were clearly unsustainable but damn if they didn’t try. In some ways it was a nod to the way things were for them in their heyday. They made mad noise but they just couldn’t sustain what they were trying to achieve.
So last night I was just thinking about how much things had changed. The big publicity splash had faded. People on the management staff had come and gone. The stickers that I had seen on the poles in the Fairfax district seemed to be fading with the gloss that the Cosmos enjoyed just a few shirt years ago. But, they were at least trying to get things more sorted on the pitch. Joining the NASL and signing players at least was showing that they were trying to move beyond just marketing and hype and put a product out on the field.
So I’m thinking all of this last night (Monday night). Then today there is news that Manchester City and the NY Yankees are the proud owners of a new MLS team in NYC. Obviously a very big announcement and a major move by MLS. Talk about walking in the room and swinging a big stick. These cats are no joke.
But all this begs the question, where does this leave the NY Cosmos? New York is no doubt a major city. And soccer has been shown that big cities can support more than a couple teams. I mean London has a grip of teams. But, that is London and this is the US. Can a US city, even New York City, support more than two teams? Is the NY Cosmos trip back to the top of American soccer simply stalled or is it done altogether?
I don’t think anyone knows the answer to this. Maybe Don Garber knows whether or not a third MLS team in NY would ever happen or not. Time will tell I suppose. But it does seem like there is a cautionary tale in here somewhere. I wonder if they blew their proverbial load too soon. Did they come out of the box too hot with no real plans to build on the buzz? Where along their new path did the wheels start falling off?
I know they have another new owner in place, but some serious things have gone down with this heritage club over the past few years. The new owner of the Cosmos, Seamus O’Brien, seems like he is right where he wants to be. At least according to some quotes that can be attributed to him. Check out this article in Forbes to get a sense of where his mind is at right now. But personally, I’m not sure how this can be a positive for the Cosmos. I guess time will tell what happens from here.
And that picture above, that was from their offices a few years ago. I was in NY for some meetings so I stopped by to chop it up with the NY Cosmos folks and I snapped a handful of pictures of their offices. This being one of them. They were in the midst of their marketing blitz, they had some incredibly talented people on board and had some ill office space in SoHo (if I remember correctly). I don’t know if they still have the space, but I seem to remember hearing that they got rid of it. Shame if they did.
This is a soccer club with an incredibly interesting past (and present) and whose story continues to intrigue and bewilder the soccer community. Is there room for them in MLS now? Is the strength of their heritage enough to ever get them in MLS now as a third team in NYC? Seems like maybe more questions than answers at this point.