Don Garber: Bring Back The New York Cosmos!!!

November 10, 2010 at 5:13 am | Posted in General Football, Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS | 4 Comments

What is the name of the greatest football team which no longer plays football?  Answer: the New York Cosmos.   The New York Cosmos were the flagship of the old North American Soccer League (NASL).    The NASL died in 1984, and a team which had become world famous died with it.   The team which had, at various times, the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer, Neeskins, Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto playing with them,  was a serious football club, not just in the NASL but in the world. I remember the incredible excitement that was generated when the Cosmos came to town in the NASL days, and when we beat them in the 1979 Semi-finals.

When you look at dead brands, surely one of the dead brands that has the most potential for rebirth and enormous growth is the NY Cosmos.   The name inspired soccer fans across the continent and the world.   People would love to see the team make a comeback.

There is a bit of a problem in that what made the Cosmos successful was that its owners were willing to pay sky-high wages and transfer fees to create a superclub.  It was this superclub model that eventually sunk the NASL because other smaller market clubs started trying to keep up with the Cosmos by getting their own superstars to play for them.   Eventually, the teams could not take the financial strain.  They then had to hire no-name players, the quality went down, the fans lost interest, and the league died.

Would the Cosmos brand work in the fiscally responsible salary capped Major League Soccer? I think the brand is so strong that it would transfer well into the MLS.  The team and its memory has so much affection and history that people would still go to a game to see a bit of history when the Cosmos came to town.   In the old days, teams could count on getting their best attendance by far when the Cosmos came to town, and I would wager that the name still has the potential to attract more fans to the park just by name recognition alone.

The Cosmos would provide an excellent local derby for the NY Red Bulls and the Philedelphia Union.

Frankly, it is too good an idea for MLS not to promote.   Every team in the league would benefit from increased attendances. It is time for this once great team to rise again.   Now comes the challenge: finding some real estate in New York to put a soccer specific stadium on.   If the investors can be found, and the real estate can be found, this would be a fantastic step forward for MLS.

Don Garber: bring back the New York Cosmos!!!


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  1. Good for the league, bad for NYRB. NYRB already struggles to fill that beautiful new stadium, even after buying the likes of Henry and Marquez. Bringing the Cosmos back would really put a strain on NYRB, I’d say almost to the point where Red Bull might consider pulling the plug and backing out of the franchise.

    Mind you, Red Bull does have a knack for creating winners in everything it touches, so it might be the best company to be backing a team that might be heading towards a situation that would normally break a franchise in North America.

    • I’m of the view that the NYRB and the League in general would get a bump in attendance and profile as a result. NYC is a huge sports market, and is well capable of supporting two teams, as they do in hockey, baseball and NFL. If you look at baseball, there is no doubt the Yankees are by far the most popular team in NYC and elsewhere, but the Mets do just fine as well. Some like to support the Mets just because they hate the Yankees.

  2. Hi

    What would be intresting is if the NYRB re-branded themselves the NY Cosmos (powered by Red Bull our something like that). As it is the blatant Red Bulls namehasnt helped attendance so i doubt the name itself has been a huge marketing win. However if they could be the company that “gave wings” (ok sorry for that one) to the rebirth of the Cosmos they may get more media attention.


    • I think this would not be necessary because I think RBNY would get a bump in profile and attendance just by being in the same league as the Cosmos. Red Bull are a very successful and savvy company with excellent marketing skills. I think the addition of the Cosmos would be a marketing boost for RBNY, and if they play their cards right, they could create fan loyalty through the rivalry and competition with the Cosmos, thereby enhancing their own brand and fan base.

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