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Volume 21 No. 34
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Forty Under 40: Chris Schlosser

GEORGE IVANOFF / MLS
While at Columbia Business School in the mid-2000s, Chris Schlosser thought he’d follow many of his classmates into finance. But the longtime soccer fan also thought there was an opportunity for MLS to make inroads in the digital advertising space and wanted to pitch an idea to the league, so he sought out the advice of one of Columbia’s professors: U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati.

Gulati introduced Schlosser to MLS’s Mark Abbott and Soccer United Marketing’s Kathy Carter, who had been coincidentally discussing a similar idea with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and many of the league’s owners. With their guidance, Schlosser spent the second year of his MBA studies working on a plan that spoke to those mutual interests, and after graduating, he joined the league full time to start MLS Digital and launch a SUM ad network.

“Looking back on it, I was so naïve in business school on how big of an opportunity this really was,” Schlosser said. “I look back and think if I really truly understood how incredible it was, would I have been more intimidated? But in many ways, this was living out a passion of mine.”

Schlosser has become the league’s point person for a number of significant undertakings on the digital front, from migrating all of MLS’s digital assets in-house from MLB Advanced Media in 2010, to launching new, modern websites for the league and its clubs. He’s also worked to keep the league on the digital forefront, including partnerships with Twitter and Snapchat around MLS’s biggest events.

Managing more than 100 people across MLS Digital, Schlosser and his team have spurred record levels of digital traffic across MLS-owned platforms, including a 20 percent increase in the number of average monthly users last year and a 40 percent increase in page views.

“MLS is just such a rocket ship, and you’re really starting to see our momentum pick up,” he said. “My dream is that the digital business is that fuel for the rocket that really helps propel the entire enterprise.”

— Ian Thomas

Chris Schlosser

Major League Soccer | SVP and General Manager, MLS Digital
Age: 36
Where born: Philadelphia
Education: Colby College (B.A., economics and international studies), Columbia University (MBA)
Family: Wife, Emily

Advice I’d give to my younger self: Say yes more; you never know where it will take you.
2016 will be a good year if: Copa America Centenario sets as many records as we think it will.

Person in the industry I'd like meet: Richard Branson.
I'd like to change jobs for a day with: Elon Musk.
Groups supported: MLS WORKS, Cycle for Survival, Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve done: Bungee jumping in Whistler, B.C.
You'd be surprised to know: I didn’t have a TV until I was in third grade and no cable until high school.