February 8, 2013
By Charles Cuttone
NASL commissioner likes Cosmos plan
North American Soccer League Commissioner Bill Peterson, who took over from David Downs at the end of last year, likes how the New York Cosmos are progressing for their re-entry into the professional soccer world---especially the team's plans to build a 25,000 seat stadium on the grounds of Belmont Park.
|The New York Cosmos’ proposed 25,000-seat stadium is the centerpiece of a larger development at Belmont Park.
Courtesy New York Cosmos
"It's genius. It's a beautiful design, and more importantly, they have done a good job in what is still a very young organization of organizing themselves to not only move this project along, but move it along in New York City is not easy," Peterson said. "The job they have done in a short period of time is just amazing. I have been around a few of these (stadium projects) and what they've been able to accomplish so far is just amazing."
Peterson, who was Senior Vice President of AEG Sports and Managing Director of the Home Depot Center from 2000 to 2006, does not see an issue with overlapping with MLS, even if the league goes ahead with plans to add a second New York team playing in Queens.
"I don’t foresee a time where we are truly overlapping," he said. "Take New York for instance. It’s obviously a large metropolitan area. Currently there is a team and a stadium in a different state from where we are going to be in. Our local ownership group doesn’t view it as an issue either."
The Cosmos’ plans call for developing a 25,000 seat stadium that would cost $200-$240 million. The plan also includes a 60,000-square foot area that would feature nine restaurants, some 250,000-square feet of retail space, a 175-room hotel, a community center, a 4.3 acre public park, soccer fields for the community and an overpass over the Cross Island Parkway that would connect the hotel and restaurants to the stadium.
"I don’t consider that overlapping,” Peterson said. “We don't really bring that into play when we are evaluating where we are going to be or what we are going to do.”
With such ambitious plans to develop a stadium and no league salary cap in place, Peterson said he is not worried about the Cosmos taking on their former persona and outspending other teams in the league for top talent.
" I think there is enough discussion amongst the owners and understanding not only of what sunk the last iteration of this league, but also other leagues since then in different sports," Peterson explained. "There is a very clear understanding that that would benefit no one. Why would you come into a league like ours, where it is today, and commit to a $200 million stadium and a $400 million development and run it over a cliff. You just wouldn’t do that. The guys around the table are smarter than that."