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Volume 20 No. 46
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Industry vet Stevenson will lead new MLS business unit

In a significant restructuring at MLS, former Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson was named president and managing director last week of a new league business unit called MLS Business Ventures.

In addition, MLS President Mark Abbott was given additional responsibilities and the added title of deputy commissioner.

Stevenson will lead a new business unit at Major League Soccer.
Stevenson, a 30-year sports industry veteran with experience also at the NBA, PGA Tour and Golf Channel, will join MLS next month. He will oversee all commercial and revenue areas for MLS and Soccer United Marketing, the league’s commercial arm, including media and broadcasting, marketing, content and digital.

Stevenson will report to MLS Commissioner Don Garber. SUM President Kathy Carter and MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler will report to Stevenson.

“Gary’s vast experience in the sports and entertainment world, along with his deep understanding of the media landscape, will play a pivotal role in growing key areas of our business and forming new partnerships,” Garber said in a statement.

Stevenson in a statement added, “It is an exciting time for Major League Soccer and I believe the league and Soccer United Marketing are poised for tremendous growth. … I look forward to doing my part to help MLS grow its fan base and media value, as well as expanding the commercial value of soccer in the region.”

Abbott, who has been MLS president since 2006, will manage all areas of league operations and competition, including product strategy, player relations, strategic planning and communications. He also will lead a new business development group to identify new areas of opportunity for MLS and SUM.