Quiet Times in American Soccer

With the February 11 CBA deadline looming, it has been a quiet week in the world of American soccer business. Teams are getting into the swing of their pre-season, team marketing campaigns are lurching forward, International players are trialing and discussing contracts, but overall there has been little business news coming from MLS in the last couple of weeks.  We’ve kept our coverage of the CBA negotiations  fairly minimal, as it is a topic that has been adequately and aggressively covered elsewhere. Nevertheless, here are a couple of quick thoughts on the business implications of the ongoing negoations.  Presuming there is a deal, we will discuss the implications of the features of any agreement at great length.

From a business perspective, the extended negotiations have likely not had a substantial impact on the ability of individual teams to sell tickets and merchandise.  Most casual fans are unaware of the CBA and likely have little idea that strike or lock-out is possible.  Sponsors might be a little reluctant to entire into a deal with MLS or individual teams, but most are on long-term deals that remain active and new prospective partners can build contractual protections into any agreement to insured that their interests are secure in the event of a work stoppage.

Media partners are not yet impacted by the work issues as there are no games to televise and no events to cover. Group sales are just about to start now that the schedule has been released and most teams have not yet started selling individual game tickets.  If there is a deal by February 11 (or the end of the month), there will likely be no adverse impact from the work stoppage.  Obviously if weeks become months, there will start to be a ripple effect and the business interests of league will start to be impacted.

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