Plugged In: Bill Peterson, NASL commissioner
Bill Peterson was named commissioner of the North American Soccer League in November after a career that’s had him spanning the globe. He spent much of the 1990s with the World League of American Football (later branded as NFL Europe) before joining AEG Sports in 2000. At NASL, which has three-month seasons in the spring and fall, the goal is to have 18 franchises in the now nine-team league by 2018. That should keep Peterson, 48, on the road from NASL’s Miami headquarters in the years to come. He also will continue to serve as chairman of USA Cycling’s board of directors, a position he’s held since 2010.
Our club owners want to be a part of NASL. They want to build something. They’re not focused on joining MLS or any other leagues.”
Doing business in the U.S. vs. Europe: Europeans measure time in centuries, not minutes. Real, personal relationships are valued more and accomplish more.
Favorite place to live: Central Pennsylvania, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Ponte Vedra Beach … I’ve had the chance to stand in more than 50 countries. I’m the luckiest guy I know.
Favorite place to work: Every stop has contributed to my personal growth, but I must say doing business in flip-flops is nice.
NASL’s mission statement: We’re not established to be a minor league or a feeder league. Our teams are in it to win matches and championships. The league is here to entertain fans and help pro soccer grow in North America.
On the New York Cosmos joining NASL in the fall: As the NASL, how can you not want the legendary New York Cosmos to be a part of it? I’m excited about the approach of Cosmos management. They come with a legacy, but they also know Pelé’s not playing for them anymore. They will stand on their own.
Keys to success: Tickets and sponsorships, tickets and sponsorships, tickets and sponsorships. We need each team to be relevant in its own market.
Other properties that intrigue: Formula One and NASCAR, because I love all types of racing. I believe there are a lot of interesting opportunities to grow those properties globally.