SBD/December 9, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLS' Garber Discusses Winter Schedule, Expansion, Influx Of Big-Name Players

Garber foresees MLS investing in a variety of things to improve its product
MLS Commissioner Don Garber during halftime of Saturday's MLS Cup Final said of the league potentially switching to a winter schedule, "What we concluded is that the ten-week break that we would have to have between the beginning of the season starting up and the end of the season -- so we could potentially end in May -- would just be too hard for us to manage." Garber said of the cold weather in K.C. for Saturday's title game featuring Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake, "When you look at what we have here where fans will come out in cold weather, support their club, it's really not an 'if' it's a 'when' and frankly, I think we are getting closer to being able to handle it." Garber discussed how to grow the league's finances and teams' ability to sign big-name players, and said, "You've got to get a lot of people to watch your games on television. You've got to compete against the Champions League and the Premier League." He added, "It's supporting the best possible players that we can bring in. That's what our research told us our fans want, but it's also about having the ascension and the improvement of the American player, which means investing in that. ... I think you'll start seeing, as the league continues to grow, investments in a wide variety of things that will help improve our product." Garber said of the league's plans to expand to 24 teams by '20, "Orlando came on quick. We're working hard with David Beckham and some investors on a potential team in Miami. That only leaves us one slot until we get to 24" ("MLS Cup," ESPN, 12/7).
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