Major League Soccer and Commissioner Don Garber held a live question and answer session on Twitter yesterday as a part of MLS All-Star Week. Many criticize the league for a lack of transparency and details, but such opportunities to interact with league and club executives are unique in professional sports. Often times, it is the players who provide insight and the business that are less outspoken on social media.
The live session with Garber lasted nearly ninety minutes. Here’s what Business of Soccer learned:
- Major League Soccer is about to begin discussions for broadcast rights. The current contracts in the United States with ESPN, NBC, UniMas, and Univision are through the 2014 season. In Canada, contracts with TSN and RDS are through 2016.
. @pan_janet we are excited about our media future – – broadcast, digital, etc. Discussions start in the fall. Lots of interest.
— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) July 29, 2013
- The league is not in a position to finalize how large it would like each conference (or a single table) to be in the future.
- Garber continued to emphasize the importance of having a franchise in the Southeaster United States. It has been no secret that Orlando City SC is a favorite on the list given the support from the city, investors, and supporters. There has been a lot of hype surrounding a potential franchise in Miami due in large part of David Beckham expressing interest and the meetings he attended in the city.
- Columbus Crew are prepared to make a huge announcement today. The event will take place at Crew Stadium’s Upper 90 Club at 12:00 PM ET. Hunt Sports Group Chairman Clark Hunt will address the media alongside Columbus Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. More information can be found here as the team provides updates.
- MLS is excited another club has taken a step towards breaking ground on a soccer specific stadium. After 18 season in Major League Soccer, D.C. United announced its plans for stadium last week. The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 season.
- North American soccer fans have long criticized the lack of support from MLS and USSF towards the U.S. Open Cup. For this reason, many professional clubs did not take the tournament seriously and attendance continues to reflect that notion.
- Despite the recent announcement of a stadium to be constructed in Washington, D.C., the New England Revolution continue to seek options for a soccer specific stadium. The club currently plays in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
- Following the partnership between MLS and USL, there was speculation of an affiliation between the NASL and MLS. The idea has been disregarded by both commissioners, though each recognize the importance of having professional clubs at each level. Garber did not provide insight into any possible developments with the NASL.
- HBO Real Sports further highlighted the Chivas USA lawsuit last week. Garber and MLS have been unable to provide additional insight. For more on the case and the details surrounding the lawsuit, click here.
- Despite criticisms, Major League Soccer provides fans with opportunities to become engaged within their local club as well as the league, itself. Understanding what drives fans to become customers is valuable to the league. As stakeholders, fans should value such opportunities to attend and participate in Supporters Summits, etc.