SBJ/September 10-16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLS to use summit to tell its business story

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Major League Soccer will host more than 250 team, league and industry executives Wednesday and Thursday in Columbus for the 2012 MLS Business Summit. The featured speakers will be U.S. men’s soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Claude Ruibal, YouTube global head of sports content.

“It’s an opportunity to share a sense of pride about how far we’ve come in the last few years,” said Brad Pursel, MLS vice president of club services, “but also to take a leaguewide look ahead.”

The event is just the second of its kind in the league’s 16-year history. The first was in Chicago in 2008. MLS traditionally has used its All-Star Game week and its MLS Cup championship game to convene leaguewide meetings, but MLS Commissioner Don Garber wanted to bring back the summit this year.

The event was scheduled for this week so as to follow the U.S. men’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica at Columbus’ Crew Stadium on Tuesday night. The majority of summit participants are expected to attend the game.

The following morning, to start the summit, Klinsmann will speak and take part in a question-and-answer session. Ruibal will speak later in the day.

Six months ago, MLS Digital and Bedrocket Media Ventures launched Kick TV on YouTube, creating a global video site with news, analysis, instruction and classic-game broadcasts.

Other sessions set for the opening day of the summit include remarks by Garber, MLS President Mark Abbott, Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter, MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler and Todd Durbin, MLS executive vice president of player relations and competition. There will also be a panel with executives from key league partners, including Panasonic, AT&T and Quaker Oats.

The summit’s second day will be for departmental meetings, with sessions planned for corporate partnerships, digital, finance, community relations, legal, marketing, fan development, ticket sales and communications.

The event is closed to the public

Since the league is no longer hosting MLS Cup at a predetermined, neutral site — the finalist with the best regular-season record will host the championship game starting this year, on Dec. 1 — the summit could become a more frequent event.

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