Monday, January 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

MLS assesses its future following big summer

By
From page B8 | August 08, 2014 |

PORTLAND, Ore. — This summer showed Major League Soccer that attracting U.S. fans to the game is no longer an issue. It’s engaging them that the league sees as its next step.

MLS wrapped up its All-Star game celebration Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory over German power Bayern Munich.

The match at Portland’s Providence Park capped a wildly successful few months for the sport stateside, following the U.S. national team’s run to the round of 16 in Brazil that drew record television ratings.

And it was certainly not lost on the league when an exhibition match between Manchester United and Real Madrid drew nearly 110,000 fans at the Big House in Michigan last week.

MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott met this week with a group of reporters to discuss the state of the league, which is in the midst of its 19th season.

“From our experience we had a breakthrough in cultural relevance that we hadn’t really seen before,” he said.

Given that breakthrough, it wasn’t surprising that one of the biggest themes Abbott hit on was expansion.

The league aims to expand from its current 19 teams to 24 teams by 2020. Abbott said further expansion would likely be unwise, based on business models that take into consideration the player pool and television deals.

“When we started the league, we did a lot to study all the other professional sports leagues, and we studied the North American Soccer League, specifically,” he said. “We were concerned not about the ultimate size but the rapidness of the expansion. When we think about expansion, we try to think about it strategically.”

Orlando will join the league starting next season, along with a second New York team. Atlanta comes on board in 2017 and superstar David Beckham’s group will land a Miami team pending a stadium deal.

There are several cities vying for that final spot, including Sacramento, California, home of the popular USL PRO side Sacramento Republic FC. Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas are some of the other cities that the league is looking at.

But MLS will face some challenges in the coming year. The MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement will expire after this season and player compensation is key to growing the league, which is still snubbed by top homegrown players who choose the big contracts and international notoriety associated with the top global clubs.

But the trend has started to shift with players like Clint Dempsey going to the Seattle Sounders and Michael Bradley playing for Toronto FC.

MLS player compensation totaled $42 million in 2007 and has risen to $115 million this year, according to salaries released by the MLS Players Union and analyzed by The Associated Press. The average grew from $113,800 to $208,100.

Dempsey has $6,695,000 in guaranteed compensation with Seattle and Bradley $6.5 million with Toronto. But the median — the figure where an equal number of players are above and below — is just under $92,000.

The minimum salaries of $48,500 (for the first 24 players on each roster) and $36,500 (for the final five) figure to be a point of contention in the CBA negotiation.

“In terms of the underlying facts, there are many good news stories that we have, but we continue to face financial challenges at both the league level and the team level,” Abbott said. “We will be very open with our players about that and we will be very clear about the financial condition of our teams and our league and clear about the type of investments we can make and clear about the type of investments that we can’t make.

“We don’t go into looking for a fight, and neither do they. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Raising the salary cap would help clubs attract talent. The clubs have a $3.1 million salary cap, although top players like Dempsey and Bradley are considered designated players, meaning only a portion of their salary counts against the cap.

Abbott did not outline formal plans to raise the cap.

The league will also have to deal with the fate of Chivas USA in Los Angeles. The league bought the team from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes in February, and the search for a new owner is ongoing.

MLS is also seeking a new home Chivas, which shares StubHub Center with the L.A. Galaxy.

Abbott would not rule out league control of the team extending into next season, but the MLS is committed to keeping the team in Los Angeles.

“We believe Los Angeles is a market that has the capacity for two clubs,” he said. “As you know, we love rivalries. We see that in the Northwest. We think that the rivalry in L.A. can be as compelling.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Teen finds entrepreneurial path at young age

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Time for Relay for Life kickoff event

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Suisun Senior Center offers monthly dance

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Wedding Faire offers one-stop browsing for couples

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Crab feed tradition continues this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government agencies post meeting times

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield schedules workshop on downtown plan

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
.

US / World

 
US gas prices fell 13 cents per gallon, but expected to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
2 Marines identified in deadly California helicopter crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Santa Ana winds knock out power to thousands in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Boy shot by Los Angeles deputies treated for graze wound

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama to seek wilderness designation for Alaska refuge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ukraine: Phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Zambia: Edgar Lungu sworn in as new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Greek radical left wins election, threatening market turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Potentially historic’ storm headed for Northeast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Balloon crew launches in bid to break 2 major records

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Obama: Counterterrorism operations in Yemen not affected

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Zoo offers creepy way for lovelorn to get even with exes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Democracy or republic?

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 26, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Do elected officials get it?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 15 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Jan. 26, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscope Jan. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
My sister is jobless and homeless and I’m not sure how to help

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscope Jan. 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe in Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Birdman’ tops SAG Awards, Redmayne upsets Keaton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Complete list of winners at 21st annual SAG Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Curry leads Warriors to 19th straight home win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Serena Williams to meet Cibulkova in Aussie Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Watt gets 2 turnovers, dances in friendly Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Tavares scores 4, Team Toews outscores Team Foligno, 17-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Chip Ganassi Racing’s ‘star car’ wins Rolex 24 at Daytona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots’ Browner gets a 2nd chance at a Super Bowl ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Family attorney: Cubs great Ernie Banks died of heart attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bill Haas pulls away to win Humana Challenge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jeff Gordon to be Fox guest analyst during XFINITY season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sherman doubts any punishment ahead for Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: Browns WR Josh Gordon fails another drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Coach K gets 1,000th win as No. 5 Duke tops St. John’s 77-68

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 8 Comments

.

Comics

Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Word Sleuth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7