TOP, TOP PLAYERS
MLS Commissioner Don Garber says that the likes of Jermain Defoe, Thierry Henry, and David Beckham are the kind of players MLS needs in order to grow as the top league in this region. Since its launch in 1994, MLS has come a long way especially in the last decade.
This has been primarily attributed to the arrival of David Beckham in 2007. He played for five years in the league, which has previously not got major attention from European regions. Now, it is one of the popular destinations for pre-season tours and scouting players.
This has indirectly helped MLS clubs, who have been growing in number especially in the last few years. Even David Beckham has himself revealed the decision to start a new franchise in the next few months. His franchise will be based in Miami and is expected to involve investments of more than £ 50 million. Even though there are several high profile players even before the arrival of Beckham, his presence certainly boosted the league. Now, the league has several stars like Henry and Defoe – albeit in the latter stages of their career.
Garber, though, says that it is all the more important that such stars desire to come to MLS as a final destination before the end of their careers.
“There’s an incredible integration between sports and entertainment. It just adds a little bit to our credibility and ties into that millenial sports fan idea of what’s hip and what’s hot. We’re going to need to configure our competition to where our broadcast partners are going to get the most viewers and that means play-offs. We have got to be in a situation where our clubs are making money so we can invest in this business,” Garber said.
New expansions are expected to come up in cities like Orlando and New York.