New York City FC and their Willets Point redevelopment partners are marking the NYCFC stadium-included project entering the public land use approval process with a social media marketing push to rally support.
The NYCFC stadium is the focus of a new petition, with supporters of the stadium’s construction urged to sign in order to help “bring NYCFC home to Queens.”
Instagram and Facebook are awash with sponsored posts from the team, or from the more vague “Transform Willets Point,” all with various calls to action to show support for the stadium or more generally for the improvement (by way of massive real estate redevelopment) of Willets Point.Most notable is the petition, but there are also many other prompts popping up to get users to “learn more” simply by bringing them to the Willets Point redevelopment project’s website.
The timing of this new marketing blitz aligns neatly with NYCFC stadium entering New York City’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP), the lengthy, sometimes complicated public approval process that must be cleared before stadium construction can begin.
Public hearings, public scrutiny, and political gamesmanship are all hurdles the Willets Point redevelopment will have to keep clearing.
NYCFC CEO Brad Sims is expecting the stadium project to face further complications, telling the Queens Daily Eagle, “Over the next seven months, there’s going to be challenges. It’s naive to say there won’t be, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Thus banking a bunch of petition signatures and harvesting a bunch of contact information from people who are openly pro-NYCFC stadium makes sense as a challenging new chapter in the stadium process begins. There may come a point soon when it’s beneficial to have X number signatures or a targeted list of people to reach out to when looking to mobilize Willets Point-related support at a specific time of need.
This dynamic already played out in April at a Public Scoping Meeting for the Willets Point project, which saw NYCFC fans make multiple statements in support of the project, statements which are now included in the development’s Final Scope of Work, one of the many documents finalized as part of the project entering public review.
It’s unclear how big this newest marketing push is—perhaps myself and other followers of NYCFC who are being served these ads are seeing them often due to our particular interest in NYCFC. It’s also unclear exactly what the team hopes to get from the petition signatures and calls to action of its stadium supporters. Multiple recent requests to ask executives from NYCFC questions related to the stadium have been rejected.
For now it looks like NYCFC and the rest of the Willets Point development team are trying to spread the word of the stadium wider while bracing for potential political or community opposition that still might crop up during the months of ULURP that remain.