I have been a fan of the New York Major League Soccer franchise for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my neighbors had season tickets for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, who played their home games at Giants Stadium. In 2006, the team was purchased by Austrian energy` drink company Red Bull GmbH.
For many years Red Bull had been known for their involvement in action sports like cliff diving, BMX and skiing.
In 2005, they made their first forays into soccer with the purchase of a team in Salzburg, Austria. The franchise previously known as SV Austria Salzburg was rebranded and renamed Red Bull Salzburg and would compete at the first division of Austrian soccer.
Shortly after, Red Bull purchased the MetroStars franchise in Major League Soccer and rebranded them the New York Red Bulls.
With the money of Red Bull and the desire of many to play in New York, the Red Bulls became a landing spot for a host of big name players including Youri Djorkaeff, Rafael Marquez and Thierry Henry, despite the lesser quality of MLS. Red Bull also built the team its own state of the art stadium in Harrison, New Jersey that opened up in 2010.
In 2009, Red Bull purchased another team, this time in Leipzig, Germany. While the United States and Austria are not among the best in the world, the German football league structure is as good as it gets.
The team purchased in Germany was in the fifth-division and would require a series of promotions to reach the pinnacle of German soccer, the Bundesliga. The company announced that their goal was to have the team in top division in ten years, but they did it in seven. As RB Leipzig continued to rise, they justifiably became the jewel of Red Bulls’ soccer investments.
Last season, after a series of expensive purchases like Timo Werner and Oliver Burke, the team incredibly finished in second place in their first campaign in the Bundesliga and this season are competing in the UEFA Champions League.
Recently, MLS has added teams in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. All have shown a willingness to be among the league’s premier spenders. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have continued to operate on a shoestring budget comparable to that of a much smaller market like Minnesota.
I believe that in the best interest of the team and MLS, Red Bull should sell the New York Red Bulls.
The franchise has consistently shown a lack of desire to spend money on the players that MLS now attracts. In order for MLS to move forward it needs all teams in major cities to have owners willing to spend money like Arthur Blank has with Atlanta United. There is a reason that the Stan Kroenke backed Colorado Rapids sit at the bottom of the Western Conference. Like Red Bull, Kroenke also has a stock in European soccer as the majority owner of Arsenal.
MLS is continuously expanding as cities and ownership groups across the country vie for a spot in the league. I would be shocked if there were no interest in taking over the Red Bulls if they were placed on the market.
As a lifelong fan, I would like to have an owner who is dedicated to the team and not to their other interests.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.