Can Red Bulls v New York City be the Big Apple’s big derby?

This weekend sees the return of the New York MLS derby shortly after the Red Bulls won the inaugural meeting 2-1 in May.

A game which saw plenty of incidents, including a first-half red card for the Red Bulls’ Matt Miazga, ensures that this new derby got off to a controversial start.

MLS is crying out for an inter-city derby to generate interest both for domestic fans and global audiences but what are the chance of soccer being the biggest story in town?

Here we take a look at the Big Apple’s most noteworthy rivalries to what MLS is up against.

NFL – Jets v Giants

As the only inter-city rivalry in the NFL since 1995 you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be one of the fiercest across the entire league.

However, with the Jets playing in the AFC East and the Giants operating in the NFC East they only actually meet once every four years or on the rare occasion that both sides make the Super Bowl.

As such there have only been 12 competitive meetings since 1960. If anyone   is keeping count the Giants are up 8-4 but to be honest – no one is!

Rivalry rating: 1/5

MLB – Yankees v Mets

Unlike their NFL equivalents the Mets and the Yankees meet every year to contest a fierce rivalry that peaked when the sides met in the 2000 World Series.

When the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants left for LA and San Francisco respectively the Yankees were the only team in town until the Mets joined the league in 1962 and attempted to scoop up fans of the vacating teams.

As such, the Yankees have twice as many fans but research shows that Mets supporters are more knowledgeable about their team.

With the Yankees winning 27 World Series to the Mets’ two this is hardly a close rivalry, but both sets of fans will still profess a hatred of the other.

Rivalry rating: 2.5/5

NBA – Knicks v Nets

As a member of the now-defunct rival league the ABA the Nets were supposed to be based in Manhattan as the New York Americans until the NBA’s Knicks kicked off.

As such the plans changed and the Nets name was born with the team originally setting up camp in New Jersey. When the Nets later joined the NBA they were fined almost $5m for encroaching the Knicks’ territory.

This rivalry intensified in 2012 when then-part-owner Jay Z relocated the Nets in Brooklyn to create the Battle of the Boroughs. Constant sniping at board level, forcing the Knicks to “overpay” for Carmelo Anthony and Calling on Knicks fans to support the Nets instead has added spice to this clash in recent years and it doesn’t look like dying down soon.

Rivalry Rating: 3/5

NHL – Islanders v Rangers

The New Jersey Devils are traditionally part of this mix but the Islanders’ resurgence as contenders in the East means this is the Big Apple battle at present.

With hockey just about the only US sport where fans will get really raucous this is the biggest sporting rivalry in the city. In the same way you would expect to see at English football games, both sets of fans can be heard chanting about their rivals, even in games against other sides.

An on ice tussle between fans on either side dressed as Santa at a promotional event in 2003 shows event the holiday spirit can’t dampen this derby.

Rivalry Rating: 4.5/5


James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.