The Commish Speaks
A few quotes from Don Garber's address late today.....
On the impact of the global economic downturn: "These are challenging times for the sports industry. It is a challenging time for any company in this country or throughout the world, and Major League Soccer is no different than any other business that is operating in what is probably the most trying economic times in our generation. We and our clubs are working hard to ensure that we can weather that storm, watching what we spend and how we spend it, and ensuring we are doing as much as we can to drive as much revenue as possible over the next year or two or three, or as long as the economic crisis lasts. 2009 and beyond, we are going through a very careful evaluation to ensure that we can manage whatever risks in our business on the revenue side. ... It doesn't mean how we spend our money on players, but it does it mean how we go about marketing our league and going about our initiatives."
On the playoffs: "We believe in the playoffs and we believe perhaps the most exciting part of our season was in the last couple weeks, some of our best attended games were in the last couple weeks, some of highest television ratings were in the last couple weeks."
On the demise of the reserve division: "Are we getting the most out of our money with those players that are playing in that reserve division? The evaluation in the short term is that we are not." [The league spent substantial funds each season on developmental contracts, travel, administration and logistics to operate the reserve division.]
With more senior roster players, will the salary cap go up? "It doesn't necessarily because we had money we were spending on those developmental players. Teams can now use that money on senior roster players. It's a reallocation of money... We are moving most of that money into the senior roster."
What do you say to young Americans who want to play in MLS and might have filled those developmental roster slots that no longer exist? "We are re-emphasizing the commitment -- asked for by our fans and others -- that we have to address some of the roster challenges we have with a very crowded calendar and a very busy schedule. You can't do it all within limited resources, and our resources are getting even more stressed. I don't necessarily have to be apologetic to say that these are trying times. We've got to figure out ways that we can allocate the money we have, ensure that we are able weather the storm, make the priority at making our teams better at a time when we don't necessarily see increased revenue coming in to be able to have an escalation of our salary budgets. When this crisis is over and our league continues to grow, then maybe we can think about investing more money in players' salaries."
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