Garber Promotes 22 MLS Players In World Cup, Hopes To Ride Event's Momentum
MLS Commissioner Don Garber today promoted the impact the World Cup will have on MLS, noting that 22 players from the league will participate in the event and will be "waving the flag of Major League Soccer." Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," Garber noted their presence should raise MLS' profile and let fans know that "right after this Cup is over, we've got an MLS team in your market." He said, "You should come out and support the beautiful game here in the United States, and also in Canada." CNBC's Scott Wapner noted the World Cup "couldn't come at a better time" for the league, with two new teams joining next year, Spain F David Villa signing with NYC FC and David Beckham working to get a stadium in Miami. Garber noted, "It's been a real great time for us in MLS. The league is not yet 20 years old, but by the end of the decade we'll have almost 24 teams, we're building stadiums all over the U.S. and Canada." He noted the league has added "great players that are either international guys" or players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, who "will be the stars of the U.S. national team, guys who have come home to the United States, come home to Major League Soccer." Garber: "You think about where we are compared to where the other major leagues have been at this time in their life span, we're doing pretty darn well. We feel good about it."
GETTING IMPATIENT WITH MIAMI: Garber acknowledged that Miami recently rejected a second proposed stadium site for an MLS facility, and if Beckham cannot get a stadium, his option for a franchise expires. Garber: "Not only does Miami not get a team ... it will be a shame for David Beckham, who would not be able to execute his option. This was our second setback in Miami. We're scratching our head. We think we've got an unbelievable proposal. We're offering to privately finance the entire stadium. You have David Beckham, who will have a financial partner that will be among the biggest anywhere in the world. Somehow we can't seem to convince the politicians down there to provide us with an opportunity to pay for a stadium in their city. If we can't get it done, we're not going to Miami, and I think that'll be a shame for the residents in that city" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 6/12).
IMPACT-FUL MEETING: In Montreal, Pat Hickey noted Garber this week met with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre to discuss "ways that the Impact and the league could participate in the city's 375th birthday" in '17. The MLS All-Star game "could be on the schedule, but Garber suggested that the league would be looking for some well-heeled sponsors to help make it happen and that it was important to find the right team to play the All-Stars." Meanwhile, the three Canadian franchises "are among the most successful in MLS but Garber doesn't see any further expansion north of the border" (Montreal GAZETTE, 6/11).