Soccer Business Bits: Looking North-Canada in the News

tfcAccording to multiple news sources, TFC is set to announce the signing of Julian de Guzman as its Designated Player at a press conference tomorrow.  de Guzman, arguably Canada’s top player, is set to come to Toronto on a free transfer following a successful run in La Liga with Deportivo La Coruna.  A defensive midfielder, de Guzman’s signing will upgrade a Toronto side in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year.    At the same time, in what appears to be some creative juggling of the salary cap, TFC fan favorite Danny Dichio is set to retire and join the Toronto coaching staff.

In our view, the arrival of a DP to MLS is always good news.  The timing of the signing is a bit strange; it seems too late for a new arrival to help Toronto’s flagging fortunes.  While deGuzman is not the type of player to draw fans to away games, he will raise the League’s profile in Canada at a time when a Vancouver franchise is on the horizon and Montreal possibly close behind.

Speaking of Montreal, there have been a number of stories floating around about the possibility of David Beckham joining the Saputo bid to bring a team to the Canadian city.  It is well known that Beckham has the right under his contract to purchase an MLS franchise and Montreal may make a likely outpost for his purchase.

Finally, MLS has announced that the 2010 MLS All-Star game will take place at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.  Given the location, it is not a stretch to assume that the game will feature a Mexican side in the annual MLS v. International Club format.  The venue is an interesting choice for MLS, and in our view, a bad selection.  The All-Star game has succeeded as a showpiece event for the League, and the prospect of bringing a Mexican team to Houston suggests that the MLS fans will be among the minority at their own event.  Moreover, it is highly unlikely that MLS will sell out the event at the 70k seat venue.   It is already surprising that MLS chose Houston over the new stadiums in Philly or New York; now MLS has gone one step further and removed the game from the cozy confines of Robertson Stadium.