Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2007 MLS State of the League - Preview

Tomorrow, MLS Commissioner Don Garber will give the annual 'State of the League' address at 2:15pm ET/11:15am PT. This is his chance to explain to fans and media a like just where the league stands today and in what direction it plans on going over the next 12 months.

Normally, there is not a lot of detailed information in this address; instead it is more of a big picture event filled with talking points. That's not to say it is not interesting, just a warning not to expect great explanations of anything.

MLSnet will probably carry this event live.

Anyway, here is my guess over what to expect from the 'State of the League Address - 2007.'

Things to expect:
- Beckham, Beckham, Beckham. Talk about the number of tickets sold, jerseys ordered and news stories wrote/broadcasted. He will stress that Beckham is not here to save the league, just to enhance it just like a number of other international signings.
- Talk about television by mentioning again that MLS is getting paid by four networks for the rights to broadcast as well as talking about the Gold Cup ratings beating the NHL finals.
- Toronto FC and how much of a success it has been.
- Seven teams playing in six soccer specific stadiums with one more opening next year (Salt Lake) and at least one more the year after that (New York).
- Quality of players MLS is improving every year.
- Expansion cities up for consideration including San Jose, Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, Las Vegas, New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Expect one or two others to make the list like San Antonio, Miami, Vancouver, Atlanta or Rochester.
- The new city for next year will not be announced however he will say they are very close to finishing something (i.e. San Jose). Also, he wants the league to be 16 teams by 2010 and hopes to know the other two cities by the start of 2008.
- New owners coming into the league. Talk about DC United, KC Wizards and Chicago as teams with new owners since last year.
- All-Star game against a foreign team is an attempt to bring non-MLS soccer fans into the fold (he mentions this just about every year, so no big guess here).
- Talk about the international competitions such as SuperLiga.

Things that would be a surprise:
- Naming a specific expansion city.
- Change of league to a single table
- Change of playoff system.
- Calling out Washington DC to get a stadium deal done much like he did to Salt Lake last year.
- Adding another network to their TV list (or maybe a satellite radio deal).
- Expanding the number of teams or changing the SuperLiga in some way.

Things that would be a shock:
- A big name signing that would rival Beckham.
- Plans to do away with single entry system.
- A large increase in player salaries.
- Games to air live in Europe.
- Setting up an international break during the summer.
- A stadium deal for KC.
- Resigning as commissioner

There is my guess for what Garber will say about the league tomorrow. I'll check back in afterward to let you know where I stand on the 'shock' scale.

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Anonymous Downs MacRury said...

Breaking Beckham news from eTrueSports:

David Beckham, worried about LA traffic, has made a tender offer for the Pacific Coast Highway with the intention of taking the famed road private. "It will be like a big driveway," explained wife Posh Spice.

11:55 AM  

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