Teams in the MLS on average are worth $185 million which is 80% higher than just four years ago.
That boost in overall value comes while the league promotes itself as being truly major or as popular and important as the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL.
However, that is a tall order of business to accomplish. While other sports leagues in the U.S. represent the top of the line when it comes to their sport, the MLS must compete with soccer leagues around the world that are much more established.
Nevertheless, Don Garber the MLS commissioner believes the league, which began its season Friday, has a selling point that is very unique related to courting players – an opportunity to live in Canada or the U.S.
Many players in the league come from places where living might not be as easy as in the U.S. and the economic opportunities might not be the same. Educational opportunities could be even better in the U.S. said Garber.
The MLS has focused as well on building players from the U.S. A movement exists for the sport. Both girls and boys play on the same pitch when young. The same balls are used, as well as the same size field and same rules.
Garber and the MLS want children to start younger as clubs spend millions of dollars in their own soccer academies for the country’s younger players.
Garber took the reins of the MLS in 1999. At that time, only 12 teams played in the league. Now the league is 22 strong. Los Angeles will debut its second team during 2018. Miami should launch the 24th team with backing from David Beckham the former England captain and star with the LA Galaxy.
Twelve other cities are bidding at this time to receive the rights to begin four other teams. The most likely locations would be Detroit, St. Louis and San Diego.
Expansion teams increased in value and now are approximately $150 million starting their first season.
The league is finalizing a new deal as well with a company on social media to broadcast its content online as well as reach a wider audience. Something the NFL as well as NBA and even other companies have done.
The demand for tickets to soccer games is increasing as well. The league in fact has the quickest growing market in resale tickets.
The league also is able to count on Spanish coverage and the language is part of its DNA. Thirty-five percent of the league’s fan base is Hispanic.
At the same time, the younger people have become a huge demographic for soccer in the U.S.