Will MLS Give USTA a Free Kick?

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 8, 2013

USTA opposition to a proposed new soccer stadium near its Flushing Meadows complex is looking more promising after a rival development plan surfaced 10 miles away. The New York Cosmos, hoping to join Major League Soccer as an expansion team, have proposed building a stadium near Belmont Park Race Track on Long Island. The Cosmos’ plan provides an alternative to MLS’s Queens proposal, which has stalled in recent weeks.

MLS has long been interested in expanding from 19 to 20 teams, and the league hasn’t been shy about its desire to put its next franchise within one of New York City’s five boroughs. The long held assumptions were that the Cosmos would be that team with Flushing Meadows the location. However, the USTA, which is planning a $500 million tennis center expansion, has been concerned about the additional traffic and infrastructure improvements needed if a soccer stadium is built.

It’s too early to tell whether the Flushing Meadows plan is dead or the Belmont Park plan is viable, but moving the conversation away from the National Tennis Center is sure to appease USTA officials.

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