Thoughts on the State of the League

mlsBefore we get to the meat of tonight’s post, please remember to cast your vote for Front Office of the Year.  Voting closes tomorrow at 8.

On Tuesday Commissioner Garber gave his annual State of the League Address.  As usual the talk included some prepared remarks followed by questions from both journalists and fans.  Not surprisingly, much of the discussion centered on expansion with the Commissioner making specific references to a number of potential expansion targets.  The Commissioner suggested that Atlanta and Miami are both on the near term radar screen (although he acknowledged the challenges surrounding success in Miami).  He also pointed to Texas, St. Louis and other locations for the 24th and final? MLS franchise.

Not surprisingly, the Commissioner addressed the League’s struggles with television ratings.  Interestingly, he took the opportunity to “call out” television partners for failing to provide MLS with scheduling priority and promotion.  He mentioned the “Game of the Week” concept and referenced the promotion provided by NBC for its Premier League properties.

Garber also mentioned that there is $20 million in annual spending on youth programs and that MLS is looking for support from college soccer to help develop players.  He also discussed flexible scheduling and the possibility of moving to a Winter schedule.

Overall, there were few surprises in his talk.  He did mention that MLS is still losing money, perhaps with an eye towards upcoming CBA negotiations.  Right now, the focus is expansion, television ratings and a broadcast deal.

For a recording of his talk, click here.