Yankees, Man City Partner On MLS Team NFL Set To Award Super Bowl Sites NFL Owners Approve Falcons' G-4 Funding NFL Draft Could Be Moved To May Cowboys HQs Could Leave Valley Ranch ESPN Has First Mass Layoffs In Years NBPA Meets With NHL, MLB Union Heads "30 For 30" To Feature Pistons' Bad Boys Survey: Retired NFLers Suffer Ongoing Pain New IndyCar Exec Walker Looks To Win Back Fans
Upcoming Conferences and Events
SBD/4/Leagues Governing Bodies
HIGHLY-REGARDED DON GARBER SET FOR CHALLENGE IN NEW MLS ROLE
Published August 4, 1999
NFL Int'l Senior VP/Managing Dir Don Garber "has been hired" as the new commissioner of MLS, replacing Doug Logan, according to sources of Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST, who reports that Garber will be introduced today and "receive" a three-year contract. Goff writes that Logan was "forced out after losing the support" of MLS' "major" investors such as Lamar Hunt and Robert Kraft. Garber is an "experienced marketing" exec but has "no experience in soccer." Former USSF President Alan Rothenberg said that he "first spoke" with Garber a year ago. Rothenberg: "We saw the writing on the wall with Doug. We didn't offer [Garber] anything but we wanted to check him out. Robert Kraft was his most vocal proponent. ... It became increasingly clear that Doug was losing support." Goff, on the transition: "The shake-up comes at a time when MLS, in its fourth season, is struggling to improve attendance and television ratings." Goff adds that Garber "managed" NFL Europe and "may consider re-hiring" former MLS Deputy Commissioner Sunil Gulati (WASHINGTON POST, 8/4). In Boston, Frank Dell'Apa writes that Garber has "been on the fast track toward becoming a candidate for NFL commissioner." One source, on Garber: "This is a huge coup for MLS. He walked away from a great job in a league which anyone in sports management would kill to be involved in. He also turned down the presidency of NHL Properties and he believes the MLS is a tremendous product." Dell'Apa cites another source, on the move: "This is not a sign of instability. They had somebody to take his [Logan's] place, and it's early enough so that he can begin working on next year" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/4). In Chicago, Bob Foltman notes that MLS is "losing an estimated" $15M-20M a season. Rothenberg, on Garber: "His talent in terms of running a business, in terms of sponsorship and licensing and grass-roots marketing, are tremendous. It's what the league can really use right now" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/4). In N.Y., Alex Yannis writes that MLS' "lack of progress" cost Logan his job. Rothenberg, on Garber: "I believe he has the potential to be the second coming of Pete Rozelle" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4) LOGAN COULDN'T GET OVER THE HUMP: In N.Y., Michael Lewis writes, "Three major factors led to Logan's demise -- stagnating TV ratings and attendance and the February firing of deputy commissioner Sunil Gulati." One "highly placed" source, on replacing Logan "midway through the season": "The timing of it would be based on his successor. You don't want to wait several months and then he's not available" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/4). USA TODAY's Jerry Langdon noted that Hispanic support of MLS, "responsible in large part for the first-year spike, has faltered" (USA TODAY, 8/4). MLS' average Nielsen rating on ESPN has "dipped" from 0.45 in '98 to 0.37 in '99, while the rating on ESPN2 has "increased" from 0.22 in '98 to 0.27 in '99 (CNNSI.com, 8/3). In Tampa, Bill Ward writes that Logan was "criticized by fans and observers for a variety of reasons, most often for what they considered poor promotion, direction and marketing." Mutiny GM Nick Sakiewicz: "I'm a little surprised at the timing. ... I think Doug did a fair job given the size of the task he had but I suppose there's always someone out there who thinks they can do better" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/4).