The 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) season just kicked off this past Sunday featuring its two new expansion teams: The Orlando City FC and New York City FC. Since 2009, nine new teams have been added to the original league. (mlssoccer.com) The league is comprised of 20 teams currently. It is set to debut3 new teams in 2017: Atlanta, Miami, and another team in Los Angeles. By 2020 the MLSwill have 24 teams after they add one more after 2017. (mlssoccer.com) Why is the league expanding so rapidly? The sport of soccer is becoming more and more popular in the United States each year. This is causing a rise in demand for professional soccer in the States. To meet this demand there has been a rapid increase on the supply side for MLS teams. The value of teams is rising rapidly.
In 2008, Forbes calculated the average worth of an MLS team. It was $37 Million. In 2013, 5 years later, “each team was worth $103 Million, the average MLS team value reports a 175% increase over [those] five years. That means the average increase is 29.6%”(Laidig.) That is an unreal amount of increase. The sport itself is growing on all levels, which is producing lots of demand. Each MLS team brings a youth academy, pro-development, and minor league team with it (mlssoccer.com), which in turn is expanding soccer a lot. On top of that other recreational and youth systems are rapidly growing in metropolitan areas across the country (US Youth Soccer.)With the MLS adding two new teams this year, and 4 more in the next 5 years, into very good markets the of value of teams will continue to rise.
Another cause of this expansion is linked to the fact the MLS is starting to attract bigger names to the league. Each year there seems to be a few stars enter the league. To name a few in the past: David Beckham, Robbie Kean, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Defoe, and Clint Dempsey. This year another 5 big stars came into the league: Mix Diskerud, David Villa, Kaka, Sebastian Giovinco, and Jozy Alitidore (Brown.) These names may not mean much to you, but if you are a soccer fan you’ll understand how exciting it is to have them here. These big names allow teams to drive up prices of tickets, while also selling more tickets. People want to see these players in person and are willing to pay a good amount to do so. The level of play in getting better each year which is causing lots of players to now realistically consider coming to play in the United States.
Seven years ago, in 2008, the MLS had a cumulative value of $518 million dollars. In 2013, five years after that, the league was worth $1.9 billion. That is a 277% increase all the teams were operating in the red, in 2008, meaning none of them were making profit. Contrarily, in 2013 over half of the teams were operating in the black (making a profit.) (Laidig.) The MLS is rapidly growing as soccer in the United States is growing. The league is becoming more stable and team values are skyrocketing. The state of the MLS is very healthy with the potential for much more growth. It will be exciting to see where the league goes over the next 10 years. The future is bright!
Brown, Cy. “The MLS Season Starts with Some Big New Names.” SportsonEarth.com. 2015 MLB Advanced Media, 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
Laidig, David. “What a Difference 5 Years Make: MLS Shows Economic Growth.” Major League Soccer for Minnesota RSS. MLS4MN, 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
“Major League Soccer.” N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <www.mlssoccer.com>.
“MLS Soccer Logo.” Logopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
“US Youth Soccer Experienced Significant Growth in 2014 | US Youth Soccer – Region III.” US Youth Soccer. N.p., 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.