06.23.09

The UFL : Coming Soon To A NYC Outdoor Sporting Venue. Or Maybe Not

Posted in Gridiron, New York, New York, Ugly New Stadiums at 12:30 pm by

Of the fledgling United Football League’s register-yourself-as-an-agent web page, reader Cosgrove Watt, asks, “has Darren Heitner been made aware of this unique and exciting opportunity yet?” And while I agree this could well represent Darren’s best shot at busting out of the web model / pro bowler ghetto, I’m more impressed with other aspects of the UFL’s business model. To wit, fielding 4 teams (NY, SF, Vegas, Orlando) playing in 7 different cities (the above four, plus Hartford, LA and Sacramento). If the star power of Jim Fassell and Denny Green doesn’t bring enough credibility to the upstart league, how about their grandiose plans for a New York stadium?

The league’s site audaciously claims “the most appealing venue may be the Mets™ new baseball stadium Citi Field in Willets Point in the New York City borough of Queens” (can’t you just imagine Jeff Wilpon blushing?), while adding hopefully, “the new Yankee Stadium, set to open spring 2009 with seating for 53,000, would also be ideal for a UFL team.” It’s a bit of a climb-down after those two buildings, however.

Another possible UFL venue is Laurence Wein Stadium at Columbia University in Manhattan. The stadium currently seats 16,500 with the possibility for expansion. Placing a UFL team in Wein stadium would make the UFL team the first major professional football team to play in Manhattan.

Hofstra University™s James M. Shuart Stadium, which opened in 1962 on Long Island, currently seats 15,000 but could also be expanded. Within the past decade, Shuart Stadium has received a new artificial turf playing surface, several sections of new chair-back seating, a new sound system and a $3.8 million Field House in the south end zone. Shuart Stadium also served as a home for the Long Island Rough Riders of professional soccer’s A-League.

Other possible UFL venues include Major League Soccer™s Red Bull New York, which is currently building a 25,000 seat stadium in Harrison, New Jersey (11 miles from New York City) and is planned to open in the summer of 2009; Rutgers Stadium (40 miles south of New York City) with a seating capacity of 41,500; and Princeton Stadium (50 miles south of New York City) which seats nearly 28,000.

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