After signing a deal with Nike, the New York Cosmos announced a brand new partnership with Emirates. Another meaningful deal for the Dubai based airlines.
On August 3, the New York Cosmos will resume its history and will play in the North American Soccer League (NASL). Pelé was the guest of honor on Tuesday in Manhattan to officially launch the partnership between Emirates and the iconic New York Cosmos.
“Today, when I travel around the world, every place I go people say, Pelé, when will the New York Cosmos come back. I played 25 years for Santos and we won a lot of things. I played for Brazil and we won World Cups. But people want to know about the Cosmos. We made soccer in the United States well known.” Pelé said in English.
That was then.
The news conference Tuesday was to announce a jersey sponsorship deal with the Middle Eastern air carrier Emirates, which also sponsors European powers like Arsenal (and has its name plastered on that club’s stadium in north London), Paris St.-Germain, A.C. Milan, Hamburg, Olympiacos and most recently Real Madrid.
The deal with the Cosmos is for three years and will pay the club about $1 million a year. The red Fly Emirates logo is splashed across the Cosmos white home and green away jerseys.
But unlike with many of its other deals, Nike’s relationship with the Cosmos is as a supplier (the club pays for the uniforms) rather than a sponsor (free gear).
The Cosmos, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, were at the pinnacle of their power, domestically in the original N.A.S.L. and internationally. Players like Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Johan Neeskens were well-known football superstars who came to America to sell the game. For a time they succeeded, supported by the cash and marketing acumen of Warner Communications.
Then, it was over. Quickly. The Cosmos and the N.A.S.L. bascially packed it in after the 1984 season. The club, the brand, lay dormant until several years ago when it was bought from its custodian, G. Peppe Pinton, and underwent a splashy, but ultimately unfulfilling relaunch by the British businessman Paul Kemsley.
His effort to muscle his way into Major League Soccer as the league’s 20th team and second in the New York metropolitan area, fizzled in a sea of red ink and bombastic marketing.
The operation was taken over by Sela Sports and handed to Seamus O’Brien, the founder and chief executive of the World Sport Group — Asia’s top sports marketing/media/event management company. O’Brien promised to get the Cosmos back on track and back on the field, saying from Day 1 “judge us by our deeds, not our words,”
The club has designs on building a privately financed 25,000-seat stadium and retail complex on the grounds of Belmont Race Track in Elmont, N.Y., and expects to know the fate of its plan by end of the current legislative session in Albany, O’Brien said on Tuesday. For now, the club will play at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
“They have a year to get up and running,” O’Brien said of New York City F.C., which plans to begin play in M.L.S. in 2015. “We’re not afraid of the competition. It’s a good thing. We think the soccer economics of this city will be able to support three teams. I once lived across the street from three teams. In the largest metro area in the world, that’s not going to be a problem.”
But while O’Brien and others have compared New York to London, which more than a dozen professional soccer teams call home, those teams do not have the N.B.A., N.H.L., N.F.L. or Major League Baseball to compete against. Add up those professional teams in the New York area and they approach the number of soccer teams in London.
Perhaps most strange is that soccer fans in the United States who are younger than 40 have no memory of the Cosmos. They may have heard stories, read books, seen films and videos on YouTube, but the institutional memory is stronger outside the United States, where the Cosmos name still resonates.
So the posters around the room on Tuesday said, “Don’t Call It a Comeback,” and pointed people to Twitter, that most modern social media creature with the handle #cosmosreboot. “On August 3 we begin our journey back to the top,” O’Brien said. Time will tell. [Source: New York Times]
The real question is: Is there a place in the New York area for three football teams? One playing in New Jersey, one in New York City (either in a new stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park or perhaps in a new building next to Yankee Stadium) and a second-division club on the border of Queens and Nassau County? You tell me!