On May 25th 2017, inclement weather forced the New York Yankees to postpone their game against the Kansas City Royals. The game was rescheduled for September 25th, which was originally scheduled as a day off for the team. New York City FC was scheduled to play the Houston Dynamo at Yankee Stadium on September 23rd at 3pm. As a result of the schedule change the Yankee Stadium grounds crew would not have enough time to convert the field from soccer to baseball in the timeframe allotted. As a result, the Yankees have told NYCFC they will have to find another place to play their match.
Under ideal conditions the transformation of Yankee Stadium from soccer to baseball or vice-versa takes approximately three days. “Three days is important based on weather,” Yankees COO Lonn Trost said in 2014.
Under the schedule set out by both teams at the beginning of the year, there would have been approximately 72 hours between the final whistle for NYCFC’s match on the 23rd and the Yankees taking the field for their game on September 26th. However, because of the Yankees 1:05pm game on Monday, there would be less than half the time required to set up the field.
As a result NYCFC have found themselves in a situation they never wanted to envision. With a month to go, they were without a home venue for a regular season match. The team made it a priority to find a suitable venue with a grass surface. CitiField was in use and Ichan Stadium was far too small forcing them to search outside of New York City.
For the first time in team history, New York City Football Club will play a home game outside of the five boroughs. The team relocated their match on September 23rd to Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The team that had set itself on being the “only team in New York City” and advertises itself as antipathy to the Red Bulls who play in New Jersey will play a home game in another state.
In a huge blow to a fan base that has had to endure playing at Yankee Stadium with no timeline for a permanent stadium solution, season ticket holders will now have to find a way to make the 100 mile trek north to watch their team play.
“While we understand this will be an inconvenience for some, we are confident we have put together an excellent variety of ticketing and transportation options for our fans,” said team president Jon Patricof in a statement released by the club.
NYCFC have seen Season Ticket Holder numbers fall since the 20k announced during the inaugural season. As a result of ongoing cancellations ticket sales representatives have asked fans to meet with team staff to address their concerns. In a furtherh blow to ticket revenue, all fans who have tickets for this game are eligible to receive a refund or tickets to another home game at Yankee Stadium.
The team will make transportation options available to fans, but made no mention of the fact that for New York City residents the only public transportation available to them would be the nearly 3 hour MetroNorth ride from Grand Central to Hartford.