Big weekend for Major League Soccer, with the finalization of the Bradley and Defoe deals and the rumored end game of the coming television deal. Let’s start with the television deal, where John Ourand (and others) have reported that Fox Sports and ESPN will be the English language partners of MLS starting in 2015. NBC is reportedly out after three years (successful on the screen, but not with ratings). While the deal has not been finalized, there are suggestions that it will be for a long term of at least 7 seven years and could be worth $70 million per year, which is more than double the value of the current deal. The details of the new deal may be announced as early as this week in Philly during the draft and convention. Obviously, it is difficult to analyze this deal until it is finalized, but the rumors are certainly promising for the future stability of the league.
Of course the other big news over the last few days involves the voyage to these shores of both Mark Bradley and Jermaine Defoe. The analysis of how these players will fit into the long tormented TFC side will be left to others, but potentially 9 figure outlay for these two players bears mention here. The signing of such prominent players is certainly a welcome development for fans of the league, but MLS is continuing to risk creating the have/have not culture the league has worked so hard to avoid. We will have more about this issue once the deals are finalized and more details emerged, but TFC has certainly puts its chips on the table for 2014.
One final note. MLSSoccer.com continues its tradition of outstanding coverage of the combine and draft. However, I am curious to see where you all get your draft coverage. Drop a line with your favorite combine and draft follows and sites.