SBD/January 13, 2014/Franchises

MLS Toronto FC Set Significant Payroll Spike With Additions Of Bradley, Others

Toronto FC makes major investment in on-field product with signings of Defoe and Bradley
Toronto FC is "entering a whole new financial zip code in MLS" with the acquisitions of MF Michael Bradley, MF Dwayne De Rosario and F Jermain Defoe, according to Neil Davidson of the CP. Bradley and Defoe were officially introduced by Toronto FC today, and while the team did not disclose the terms of their contracts, Bradley's reported $10M transfer fee "alone exceeds the 2013 salaries listed" for Sounders F Clint Dempsey and Red Bulls F Thierry Henry. Defoe's transfer fee is "pegged at between" $9.8-13.1M (all figures U.S.), with lengthy contracts reportedly worth $6.5M and $7.6M per year for Bradley and Defoe, respectively (CP, 1/12). Davidson reported rapper Drake "spoke to Defoe several times by phone during negotiations." MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that the calls "made a difference" in Defoe signing with the club. Drake on Saturday said, "I don't know if I had an influence with him coming here. I think that all I did is just give him the necessary information that he needed about a city that he didn't know much about." Davidson noted the Raptors "brought Drake on board in September as global ambassador, saying he would be heavily involved in the rebranding of the team over the next two years." But his role "seems to have evolved and increased, as witnessed by his lending a hand to the soccer arm of MLSE." Drake said of the Raptors hosting "Drake Night" for their game against the Nets on Saturday, "I think tonight is clear evidence that the relationship is evolving by the day" (CP, 1/12).

HOME IS WHEREVER I'M WITH YOU: MLS club NYC FC Dir of Football Claudio Reyna said that the team "hopes to have an announcement by the end of the month on the location of its training facility/team offices, which will be in New York State but not in the five boroughs of NYC."'s Grant Wahl wrote Westchester County "seems a real possibility." Additionally, Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano "revealed a team badge is coming in the next few weeks, as is the announcement of the team's temporary stadium host." Wahl noted the "odds-on favorite is Yankee Stadium." Soriano said that NYC FC is "looking at several sites in the Bronx and elsewhere in the city" for a sites to build a permanent stadium. Soriano: "We are going to be patient. We need the community to say, 'We want you here,' because we’re going to be here for years and years. So if it takes more time, we’ll take more time" (, 1/10).

SERVING SOUTH BEACH: In Miami, Patricia Mazzei reported David Beckham's MLS investment group "plans to seek state funding for a downtown Miami stadium and has hired a top Tallahassee lobbyist to help out." Brian Ballard "will work on behalf of Miami Beckham United to pursue a state sales-tax subsidy similar to what other professional sports teams across Florida have received for building new facilities." Ballard "wouldn't specify how much the investors might request," but the number is "expected to be similar to past deals for other teams." For Beckham's team to obtain funding, lawmakers "would first have to add" a potential MLS club to the state's list of pro sports teams. A state rep "tried to make the change" last year, but "the effort stalled" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/10).
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Franchises, Toronto FC, MLS

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