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SBJ/March 5-11, 2012/In-Depth
What a difference a decade makes
Published March 5, 2012, Page 18
|Tampa Bay Mutiny, circa 2001
Fast forward to 2012, as the league kicks off its 17th season, and you’ll find an MLS on much more secure footing, with several positives to highlight. Among them:
■ Montreal paid $40 million to become the league’s 19th club and makes its debut this season. This comes on the back of MLS welcoming clubs in Portland and Vancouver in 2011. A potential New York expansion team could go for as much as $100 million.
■ This season, 15 of 19 clubs will be playing in stadiums built with soccer in mind. In 2002, only one club played in a soccer-specific stadium.
■ In 2011, MLS set a record for average attendance at 17,844 fans per game, with a record 87 sellouts during the regular season. Ten clubs averaged more than 17,000 fans per game. In comparison, attendance for 2001 averaged 14,961.
■ A decade ago, the league’s national TV agreements were barter arrangements and MLS covered all production costs. Now, MLS receives a rights fee from its TV partners with production costs covered. The Los Angeles Galaxy has its own multimillion-dollar agreement with Time Warner Cable.
|Seattle Sounders, circa 2011
— Staff reports