Q&A with MLS Commissioner Garber
the fact that it's a single entity in investing and the fact that they're really not just buying a team, they're buying a share in Major League Soccer as a company. But this was a deal that was done between AEG and Red Bull, not Red Bull and the league.
MLSnet.com: How familiar with MLS, the single entity system and the way things are done in the league are the new owners from Red Bull? Do you think it will be a challenge to integrate them into the ownership group?
DG: They're obviously very familiar with it. They've made a significant investment in it, so they know. I think they believe that the system needs to evolve a bit over time and I think that all of our investors believe that. As our business grows and the opportunity grows, we need to evolve our system. We've proven that we will do that to capitalize on changing markets and growing opportunities. They're really no different from any of our other investors. They know that fiscal responsibility is a necessity today, but that breaking out of where we are and capturing the opportunity is what we all dream about for tomorrow.
MLSnet.com: There has been a lot of talk about the potential of a second New York-area team. What can you say about the sale of the MetroStars to Red Bull and how it affects the potential of that second team in the area?
DG: We've seen the success of Chivas in L.A. Some of our best games are the derbies that take place at The Home Depot Center, so I think [Red Bull] knows. Being a European company (they understand) the excitement you can have when two teams play each other within the same market, so we've been able to put together an agreement that a second team can come into New York as early as 2010, but not before that.
Our commitment right now is ensuring that Red Bull New York is a huge success, that they get into their new stadium, that they capture some of mystique and popularity that the MetroStars had in their early years. That's our goal for today.
MLSnet.com: How do you anticipate fans of the MetroStars and of the league as a whole will react to the sale of the team?
DG: This is certainly something that's different, but Major League Soccer is a different kind of sports league. We believe that our fans are very committed to the sport, very committed to league and very committed to their team. There will be some that will have issues with the name change, but in San Jose we had people who, when we changed the name, jumped on board and thought it was a great move in that market. Similarly in Dallas. Name changes happen throughout the history of sports and we hope that the MetroStars fans will carry forward their allegiance to the team, even though the team has a new name.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.