Back in Hartford after a fairly seamless return trip from Kansas City, I wanted to provide some additional business tidbits from the event. MLS did a great job with some of the “little things” during the celebration. Buses were provided from downtown to the stadium for fans and media. While certainly convenient, the league also provided water, soda and beer for those on the buses while running MLS video on bus screens. There was also a VIP area in the hotel lobby with souvenirs and momentous avail able for purchase. Throughout, downtown was buzzing with talk of the game.
The big business story to emerge from match came courtesy of Commissioner Garber’s halftime announcement that the league will expand to 24 teams by 2020. Obviously this has significant business implications. There will be substantial additional expansion fees to continue floating the league, there will be additional jersey and sponsor sales and perhaps most importantly, the league will now penetrate four additional markets around the country. Many commentators have noted that this will make MLS a more attractive television package for the new deal in 2014. While that is likely true, it bears noting that the next MLS television deal may expire before all of the new expansion franchises are located. As a result, it may be the following deal that fully encompasses the new markets.
Some other ASG notes. The League took over the Marriott Hotel in downtown Kansas City. The scene was rather remarkable. The lobby of the hotel was teeming with players, team and league executives and media types. Also present (although in fairly limited numbers) were fans decked out in team gear nervously approaching players for autographs. There were also a small collection of seemingly professional memorabilia collectors. These men huddled in a corner looking for opportunities to approach players with various paraphernalia for a quick signature.
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