The Commissioner Speaks

Last post before the Major Soccer Season kicks off this weekend, s  Commissioner Garber held his regular pre-First Kick media conference call on Thursday.  He reiterated the great attendance success of 2011, noting 87 sellouts league wide, 5.4 million in total attendance and an average of almost 40k in Seattle.

He indicated that the league is taking control of the stadium situation in New York, finding locations, hiring consultants and researching 19 sites near the urban core.  Garber believes that a stadium ready franchise opportunity in New York City will be worth $100 million to a wide array of owners.  This is the first time the league has taken the lead in locating a stadium and the hope is that by presenting a stadium opportunity, the league will attract the most desirable ownership group.

He also confirmed that SUM sold shares to Providence Equity private equity group. Recall that last September, the Sports Business Journal reported that Providence Equity Partners was seeking to purchase 25% of SUM for $125-150 million. Finally, Garber proudly cited to an ESPN Poll that revealed that between those ages 12-24 soccer is the 2nd favorite sport. He bluntly stated that the “Statistic is empowering”.

The Commissioner also addressed a series of questions about the league’s lagging television ratings.  He admitted that the television viewership needs to increase in order to for the league to rise to the next level.  The ratings on NBC will bear watching.

Enjoy the first weekend of games and we’ll be back on Monday with a look at attendance and other stories making news over the weekend