MLS is Back Tournament wins SBJ's Sports Event of the Year

Last summer's MLS is Back Tournament was honored as Sports Business Journal’s Sports Event of the Year at the 2021 Sports Business Awards, it was announced Wednesday.

MLS is Back unfolded from July 8 through Aug. 11 at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida and marked the return of MLS games after a four-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Staying connected to our fans is what drove us to move quickly to stage the MLS is Back Tournament," said MLS Deputy Commissioner Gary Stevenson. “Nothing will ever compare to what we did to stage this tournament. We had so many hurdles to jump."

MLS is Back was capped by a 2-1 Portland Timbers victory over Orlando City SC, prompting a 2021 Concacaf Champions League spot for head coach Giovanni Savarese’s team. Teams were originally split into six groups before a knockout round followed suit, while group-stage games counted toward the regular-season standings.

MLS is Back included 51 nationally-televised games and incorporated novel broadcast features, as well as virtual advertising and field microphones. Black Players for Change made a powerful statement and introduction, bringing awareness to key racial and social justice issues that continue to impact the United States.

There were 146 goals scored at the MLS is Back Tournament. Check them all out here.