Soccer Business Bits: MLS Salaries, Bye Bye Becks (again), ESPN Broadcast and More

mlsAs we are still travelling, here are a few quick business hits.  A modified MLS salary list has been released and posted by the MLS Players’ Union.  The list is a fun and informative read, especially this late in the season, as it allows you to compare production to income.  Moreover, it allows you to compare the various teams’ salary numbers in relation to the salary cap.  TFC and the Galxy are well over the “soft” $2.3 million cap, while teams like RSL and New York are below the cap.

There are now reports that David Beckham is again looking to head to AC Milan via a loan deal.  This is not surprising, however the fact that he is looking for a loan rather than considering a buy out of his contract, suggests that he is planning on playing the last two years of his deal in LA.  This alos suggests that the much maligned negotiation efforts of MLS and the Galaxy last Spring may have had their desired effect.

ESPN2 finally got back into the MLS television business on Friday with the much anticipated Beckham/Blanco match in L.A.  Blanco din’t play, but ESPN again struggled to get to MLS broadcast in time thanks to a long running football game. Attendance wise, the game drew 21,600 which is good for the Galaxy this year, but disappointing given the matchup.  As a business note, the Galaxy are now very close to a playoff birth which could bode well for television ratings and playoff attendance.

One final note.  Soccer stadium naming deals are notoriously subject to the marketplace, and with new MLS stadiums coming on line in the next couple of years and other naming rights deals coming due, it will be important to monitor the League’s ability to secure these deals.  In Jacksonville and Dallas, NFL teams are without stadium naming rights deals.  While MLS teams will likely look for less money, than teams in NFL, the current market may make securing such deals challenging.

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