The rumors were true after all. The New York Cosmos returned to the heap bin they last encountered after the demise of the NASL in 1984. Then as now the current NASL is losing clubs but the Cosmos departure marks the sinking of the league flagship the past four seasons.
The New York Cosmos ceased operations due to financial constraints, something that hovered over this franchise over its entire reboot and was a primary reason why they took their time assembling then entering the playing field after two years. They had no signed players, no field, or a league to play their games.
The rumors about the team and the plans they had were always in question when they rejected the large fee that would have allowed them to enter the MLS in 2013. But they chose a now Division II NASL and took a half-year before committing a team to the field of battle. Surprisingly, they won the second half and the championship.
The Cosmos had been in a search for a stadium of their own. This was a significant failure. By possessing a stadium to call your own, you avoid paying expensive fees to the facility owner and control your own dates, opponents, and events in which income goes directly to the club which allows for profit and by extension survival. They looked at Brooklyn, Queens, and even Belmont as one project that they waited for endlessly for the city to approve until time ran out. They made the playoffs in their second year but were eliminated.
Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Giorgio Chinaglia
These men represented the Cosmos proclivity in the 70s for spending top dollars for superstars which far which far outstripped the old NASL and its ability to keep up. In year three the Cosmos tried this again with the acquiring of Spanish soccer Icon Raul. It spurred New York to their second championship in three years. But the investment may have done more harm long-term than the short-term benefits provided.
The Cosmos ended this season on top once more but had to play its championship game in Belson Field at St. John’s University due to conflicts of schedule they had with the reps of their home field in Hofstra.
That might have been the loudest hint of all. Tickets sold were in serious decline with Raul and Marcos Senna retiring after the 2015 title year.
As successful as the Cosmos were on the field with three championships in four years, sports franchises are still businesses. And when money is not flowing into the bottom line, changes have to be made or you go out of business, as pointed out by assistant coach Alecko Eskardarian:
— Alecko Eskandarian (@alecko11) December 6, 2016
The Cosmos could have continued on but the money drain would have only gotten progressively worst. This was a strategic decision to close shop now with the hope that maybe a future investor will revive the once and still proud franchise who successfully returned the brand to the present if only briefly.