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About Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer
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New York, NY, 10018
Phone: (212) 450-1200
www.mlssoccer.com

Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and was founded in 1996, after the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. MLS will kick off its 23rd season on March 3, 2018. For the 2018 MLS Brochure, CLICK HERE

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Colorado Rapids Atlanta United FC
FC Dallas Chicago Fire
Houston Dynamo Columbus Crew SC
LA Galaxy D.C. United
Los Angeles Football Club Montreal Impact
Minnesota United FC New England Revolution
Portland Timbers New York City FC
Real Salt Lake New York Red Bulls
San Jose Earthquakes Orlando City SC
Seattle Sounders Philadelphia Union
Sporting Kansas City Toronto FC
Vancouver Whitecaps  

Season

  • In 2017, the 22 MLS teams played a 34-game regular season schedule, 17 at home and 17 away.
  • In 2017, Toronto FC captured MLS Cup, the Supporters’ Shield, given to the team that finishes with the most regular season points, and the Canadian Championship, becoming the first MLS team to accomplish the domestic treble.
  • 2017 was the third year in a new eight-year, landmark television and media rights partnership in the United States with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision, highlighted by destination dates and times. With the addition of prominent international television partners, MLS is now among the most widely distributed soccer leagues in the world.  MLS has broadcast agreements with Globosat in Brazil, Sky Sports in the UK, Letv Sports in mainland China, Abu Dhabi Media in the Middle East and North Africa, BeIN Sport in SE Asia and Australia, Fuji TV in Japan, FOX Sports Africa and pan-European broadcaster Eurosport -- reaching more than 170 countries and territories.
  • 2017 saw MLS reach an all-time high in average attendance (22,106) and total attendance (8,267,534). MLS is the seventh-best attended professional soccer league in the world by average attendance.

Players

In 2017, MLS clubs were home to players born in 73 countries, demonstrating the diversity of Major League Soccer. Among the five major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, MLS is the most diverse.
 
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC): The Italian international led MLS in combined goals and assists from 2015-2016 and was named to the Best XI team during his first three seasons in the league. After a record-breaking first year in MLS in 2015, Giovinco took home the 2015 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award after setting a new single-season record for most combined goals and assists (38). Giovinco guided Toronto to the 2017 MLS Cup title and is Toronto’s all-time leading goal scorer.
 
Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers): Valeri captured 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors after becoming the second player in league history to register a 20-plus goal and 10-plus assist season. Behind Valeri’s leadership, Portland captured the 2015 MLS Cup title, in which the Argentine was named MLS MVP. A three-time MLS Best XI selection, Valeri set an MLS record in 2017 when he scored a goal in nine consecutive matches.
 
Román Torres (Seattle Sounders FC): Torres has played hero on multiple occasions during his time in MLS, first kicking the game-winning penalty kick to give Sounders FC the 2016 MLS Cup title. The hulking defender later scored the game-winning goal to send his native Panama to its first ever FIFA World Cup and is expected to participate in Russia this summer. 
 
Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy): In his first full season in MLS in 2016, dos Santos led the Galaxy in goals and assists, becoming one of only two players league wide to register double digit totals in both categories. Dos Santos previously played for Tottenham Hotspur FC in England’s Barclays Premier League, and Villareal CF and FC Barcelona in La Liga. Internationally, dos Santos reentered Mexico’s selection helping El Tri qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
 
Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United): The 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year helped lead Atlanta to become the highest-scoring expansion club during its inaugural season in MLS history. Behind an electric offense that finished second in the league in goals scored, Atlanta thrilled record-breaking crowds, leading the league in attendance in its first season. A main fixture on the Paraguay National Team, Almirón starred for his native country at the Copa America Centenario.
 
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC): Altidore helped lead Toronto FC to a historic season, becoming the first team in MLS to capture the domestic treble, and first Canadian club to win an MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield. The former Villareal CF and Sunderland player finished the season with a goal to help Toronto capture its first MLS Cup and was voted MLS Cup MVP. The 27-year-old striker has appeared in two World Cups (2010, 2014) while earning regular U.S. Men’s National Team call-ups.
 
David Villa (New York City FC): Villa, named the 2016 MLS MVP after scoring 23 goals, helped lead NYCFC to its consecutive postseason appearances. Villa is one of the league’s most dangerous strikers over the past three years, notching a combined 63 goals to register an MLS career-high for the most goals over a player’s first three seasons in the league. Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, Villa has played in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) including a first-place finish in the 2010 tournament. Before arriving to MLS, Villa suited up for Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, where he won a combined three La Liga titles (2011, 2013, 2014).
 
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls): The England native has been on fire since his arrival to MLS in 2013, becoming the first player in league history to register two 20-plus goal seasons after dropping a Golden Boot-winning 24 goals in 2016. Wright-Phillips’ 68 goals scored from 2014-2016 are the most ever over a three-year span in MLS history. The former Manchester City and Southampton player was named to his second MLS Best XI team (2014, 2016) while being named an MVP finalist in 2016.
 
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact): The skilled midfielder helped Montreal become the first of two Canadian clubs to advance to the Conference Championship round of the MLS Cup Playoffs after a tremendous start to the 2016 postseason in which he scored three goals and added an assist. Piatti finished 2016 with a career-best 17 goals along with six assists. Piatti previously won Copa Libertadores in 2014 and the 2013 Primera Division title while playing for San Lorenzo in his native Argentina.
 
Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire): The Hungarian National Team player captured the 2017 Golden Boot with a league-leading 24 goals scored in his debut MLS season. This was the fourth consecutive season in which Nikolić has led his respective league in goals scored, accomplishing the feat across three different countries. Nikolić previously represented Hungary in 2018 World Cup Qualifying play and at Euro 2016.

Investors

Major League Soccer is structured as a single, limited liability company (single-entity).  In the single-entity business structure, club operators own a financial stake in the League, not just their individual team.  The MLS investors are:

  • Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG): Investor-operator of the LA Galaxy (other domestic sports business ventures include the Staples Center, StubHub Center, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings).
  • Hunt Sports Group: Investor-operator of FC Dallas (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and NBA’s Chicago Bulls).
  • Kraft Soccer, LLC: Investor-operator of the New England Revolution (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium).
  • Kroenke Sports Enterprises: Investor-operator of the Colorado Rapids (other sports business ventures include the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and EPL’s Arsenal).
  • Dell Loy Hansen: Investor-operator of Real Salt Lake. Utah-based entrepreneur and Real Estate developer became sole owner of the club in January 2013, after purchasing co-ownership stake in a trio of properties – Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN700 Sports Talk Radio - previously owned by Dave Checketts and SCP Worldwide.
  • Red Bull Company Limited: Investor-operator of Red Bull New York. The Austrian company produces the world’s leading energy drink.  Other sports investments include a NASCAR team, Red Bull Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg, extreme sports and Formula One auto racing.
  • Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment: Investor-operator of Toronto FC (other sports business ventures include the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Center).
  • OnGoal, LLC: Investor-operator group of Sporting Kansas City consists of five Kansas City-area residents led by Cerner Corporation executive Cliff Illig and the Patterson family.
  • D.C. United Holdings: Investor-operators of D.C. United are Erick Thohir and Jason Levien. Thohir has a controlling stake in F.C. Internazionale Milano of the Italian Serie A, while Levien is owner of English Premier League club Swansea City.
  • John Fisher and Lew Wolff: Investor-operator of the San Jose Earthquakes joined MLS as an expansion team in the Western Conference for the 2008 season. Fisher and Wolff are the principle owners of MLB’s Oakland Athletics.
  • Andell Holdings, LLC: Investor-operator of the Chicago Fire. Andell Holdings is a private investment firm with global business and investment interests led by Andrew Hauptman.
  • Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Paul Allen (Vulcan Sports and Entertainment): Investor-operators of Seattle Sounders FC consist of Hollywood producer Joe Roth, local entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, television personality Drew Carey and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (owner of VSE that operates the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trailblazers).
  • Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC: Investor-operators of Philadelphia Union include iStar Financial Chairman & CEO Jay Sugarman, veteran sports executive Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher and Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of The Buccini/Pollin Group.
  • Golden Boy Productions and Brener International Group: Mexican-American boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya and Gabriel Brener together invested in the Houston Dynamo and now own the club.
  • Greg Kerfoot, Jeff Mallett, Steve Luczo and Steve Nash: Investor-operators of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC include Greg Kerfoot (founder of software company Business Objects), Jeff Mallett (former Yahoo! President and COO and owner of English club Derby County FC), Steve Luczo (President and CEO of Seagate Technology) and Steve Nash (former NBA player and Vancouver native).
  • Peregrine, LLC:  Investor-operator group of the Portland Timbers consists of former U.S. Treasury Secretary and CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson and his son, Merritt Paulson, a professional sports entrepreneur.
  • Free 2 Play Holdings: Joey Saputo is the principal Investor-Operator of the Montreal Impact. The Saputo Family is the founder of Saputo, a major international dairy products company.
  • Precourt Sports Ventures LLC: Investor-operator group of the Columbus Crew SC. PSV is a privately held investment and management firm focused on sport-entertainment business led by Managing Partner Anthony Precourt.
  • City Football Group US Holdco LLC: Investor-operator group of New York City Football Club consists of a partnership of Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees. Manchester City will be the majority owner of the new club. As an investor, the Yankees will be an active member of the ownership group. Team began play in 2015.
  • Orlando Sports Holdings, LLC:  Investor-operators of Orlando City SC include majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva.
  • AMB Group: Investor-operator of the Atlanta team, led by Arthur Blank. Team began play in 2017. Also, the parent company for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
  • Bill McGuire, Jim Pohlad, Glen Taylor, Glen Nelson, Wendy Carlson Nelson: Investor-operators of Minnesota United FC include Bill McGuire (former CEO of UnitedHealth Group), Jim Pohlad (owner of Minnesota Twins), Glen Taylor (owner of Minnesota Timberwolves), Glen Nelson (former Minnesota Wild investor) and Wendy Carlson Nelson (Carlson board member).
  • LAFC: Los Angeles ownership group led by Larry Berg, Brandon Beck (Riot Games), Bennett Rosenthal, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn.
  • Nashville Soccer Holdings, LLC: John Ingram is the majority owner of Nashville Soccer Holdings, LLC. Minority owners include Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf, owners of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
  • Miami: Investor-operator group consisting of Marcelo Claure (Sprint CEO), David Beckham (global soccer and cultural icon), Jorge and José Mas (Chairman and CEO of MasTec, Inc.), Masayoshi Son (Sprint and SoftBank Chairman), and Simon Fuller (entertainment entrepreneur and manager).

Stadiums

Major League Soccer has elevated the sport’s stature in North America by building soccer-specific stadiums.  In 1999, the League began moving aggressively to create custom-made venues for its teams that generate the atmosphere and intimacy the game deserves. The seating capacity for these stadiums is between 18,000 and 30,000 and the stadiums share design concepts with some of the finest soccer venues in the world. In 2018, 19 of 23 MLS clubs will play their home games in stadiums built with soccer in mind, with that number rising to 20 in 2019. The existing MLS soccer stadiums are:

 

  • MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio):  Opened in 1999 as the home of the Columbus Crew. Built by the Hunt Family, this stadium has hosted two All-Star Games, two MLS Cups and many important U.S. National Team games.
  • StubHub Center (Carson, Calif.): Opened in 2003 and is the luxurious home of the LA Galaxy. Hosted MLS All-Star Game and several MLS Cups.
  • Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas): Opened in 2005 as the home of FC Dallas. Hosted MLS Cup 2005 and MLS Cup 2006. A 145-acre multipurpose sports complex with 17 tournament-grade fields.
  • Toyota Park (Bridgeview, Ill.):  Located just 15 minutes south of downtown Chicago, the handsome venue debuted in 2006 and hosted the All-Star Game with Chelsea FC competing against the MLS All-Stars.
  • BMO Field (Toronto, Canada): Toronto FC began play in MLS in 2007 and was host of the 2008 MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cups in 2010, 2016 and 2017.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.): The Colorado Rapids’ stadium opened in 2007 and is the centerpiece of a 24-field soccer complex believed to be one of the world’s largest, and hosted the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
  • Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah): Real Salt Lake’s stadium opened in 2008 and was the host of the 2009 MLS All-Star Game.
  • Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.): The New York Red Bulls state-of-the-art stadium, inaugurated in 2010, is located 10 miles from midtown Manhattan.  It features a dynamic form roof—a curving structure that wraps the entire 25,189-seat stadium in an elegant metal shell.
  • Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Penn.): This world-class waterfront stadium located just over 15 miles from Center City, Philadelphia.  Built at the foot of the Commodore Barry Bridge, this 18,500-seat stadium is the home to Philadelphia Union and was inaugurated in 2010. PPL Park hosted the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25, 2012.
  • Providence Park (Portland, Ore.): Already steeped in sports and entertainment history, Providence Park underwent a $31 million renovation to create an exciting and authentic soccer facility. Host of the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, Providence Park is currently undergoing renovation to increase seating capacity by approximately 4,000 additional seats.
  • BC Place (Vancouver, Canada): Vancouver began their inaugural season in MLS at Empire Field before moving into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver on October 2, 2011 when the club hosted its rival, Portland Timbers.  BC Place has made improvements to the stadium with soccer fans in mind.  The revitalized stadium seats 21,000 fans during regular season MLS matches.
  • Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kansas): The $180 million plus, state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium seats 18,467 soccer supporters and features a dramatic canopy roof that covers every seating section. The stadium features 36 suites and five clubs, including the innovative Members Club. Hosted the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2013.
  • BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, Texas): Houston Dynamo’s downtown Houston stadium, which seats 22,000, opened on May 12, 2012.
  • Stade Saputo (Montreal, Canada): Montreal Impact began their inaugural season in MLS at Olympic Stadium moving into the renovated Stade Saputo on the Olympic grounds in June of 2012.
  • Avaya Stadium (San Jose, California): San Jose Earthquakes began its 2017 campaign in its brand-new Avaya Stadium (capacity: 18,000) for the third season. The European-inspired building is the first cloud-enabled venue in Major League Soccer and is among the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world.
  • Orlando City SC Stadium (Orlando, Florida): Orlando City SC plays in its first season in its brand-new venue in 2017, with open air seating and state of the art safe-standing supporters’ sections.
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Georgia):  Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a world-class sports and entertainment facility and home to Atlanta United and the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta United opened the stadium September 10, 2017 and set an all-time MLS attendance record with 71,874 fans on October 22, 2017. 
  • Audi Field (Washington, D.C.): Located in D.C.’s thriving Buzzard Point neighborhood, Audi Field will debut in 2018 with a capacity of 20,000 fans. The state-of-the-art urban facility will feature 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site.
  • Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles, California): The state-of-the-art 22,000-seat stadium will house LAFC beginning in 2018 for its inaugural season in MLS. The first open-air stadium built in Los Angeles since 1962, Banc of California Stadium will feature a dedicated safe-standing section for supporters’ groups.

Television

The 2017 season, the third of an eight-year television and media rights partnership with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision, will continue to showcase new, consistent national television schedules, expanded live game streaming and innovative season-ending schedule enhancements – giving fans more opportunities than ever to engage with MLS content.

Sky Sports in the UK, pan-European broadcaster Eurosport, Globosat in Brazil, Abu Dhabi Media in the Middle East and North Africa, Letv Sports in mainland China, beIN SPORTS across Southeast Asia and Australia, FOX Sports Latin America and FOX Sports Africa, together with ESPN, broadcast select games across their international platforms, and are part of the ever-growing portfolio of MLS’ global broadcast partnerships.

Every MLS match is televised in 2017, either nationally or regionally, and most are available to stream through through MLS LIVE.

2018 Sponsors

The portfolio of blue chip partners working with MLS to grow their business continues to expand with the growth of the League. A list of current sponsors, suppliers, and partners – including the year in which the partnership was formed – follows:

  • adidas (1996)
  • AdvoCare (2015)
  • Alcatel (2017)
  • Allstate (2011)
  • AT&T (2009)
  • Audi (2015)
  • Coca-Cola (2015)
  • Continental Tire (2010)
  • EA Sports (2012)
  • Etihad Airways (2014)
  • Heineken (2015)
  • The Home Depot (2008)
  • JLab Audio (2017)
  • Johnson & Johnson (2015)
  • Kellogg's (2017)
  • Makita USA (2004)
  • Post Consumer Brands (2018)
  • SeatGeek (2016)
  • Southern New Hampshire University (2015)
  • TAG Heuer (2016)
  • Target (2017)
  • Trivento (2018)
  • Wells Fargo (2013)
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