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SBD/January 10, 2014/Franchises
Michael Bradley Heading To MLS Toronto FC Shows Growth Signs For Team, League Alike
Published January 10, 2014
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BIG UPS TO THE LEAGUE: In DC, Steven Goff writes Bradley's move to Toronto FC is "terrific for MLS." The league "would gain the U.S. national team's most important player ... in the prime of his career in the build-up to a World Cup." Bradley by "cutting short" his time in Europe "further bolsters MLS's credibility at home." It is "an unbelievable coup for the Toronto organization." However, Bradley "is to join the most dysfunctional operation this side of Chivas USA" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/9). In N.Y., Billy Witz writes under the header, "Deals Show MLS Is No Longer An Afterthought." Witz writes when a player like Bradley or Sounders F Clint Dempsey, who signed with his MLS team last summer, returns to the league "in his prime, it is another promising sign for a league that is also making steady progress in franchise values, development programs and popularity" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10). ESPNFC.com's Jeff Carlisle said, "This is a statement of intent from MLS. It was easy to think that Dempsey's arrival last August was a one-off but here we are five months later and another big U.S. international is coming home to MLS." He added, "They've made it clear they want to be one of the top leagues in the world by 2022. Now that can viewed with a fair amount of skepticism, of course, but if you’re actually going to try to reach that goal one of the things that you have to do is get the best American players playing in North America and from that standpoint it definitely is a trend" ("OTL," ESPN2, 1/9). ESPN’s Ian Darke said Toronto FC adding Bradley is "brilliant for Major League Soccer and I hope the other clubs get the wherewithal to attract other players who are at their peak" ("ESPN FC," ESPN2, 1/9).
MARKETING EXPORT: The transfer agreement sending Defoe from Tottenham to Toronto FC includes an advertising rights agreement between the clubs. Toronto FC and MLSE will provide Tottenham with promotion, advertising, broadcasting, social media and digital rights across all of MLSE’s properties and media platforms. MLSE will also carry official Tottenham merchandise at its retail outlets (Chris Botta, Staff Writer).