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About Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer
420 Fifth Avenue, 7th floor
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 Canada, and was founded in 1996 after the USA hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. MLS kicked off its 24th season on March 2, 2019. (For the 2019 MLS Brochure, CLICK HERE)

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Colorado Rapids Atlanta United
FC Dallas Chicago Fire
Houston Dynamo FC Cincinnati
Sporting Kansas City 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 FC Philadelphia Union
Vancouver Whitecaps Toronto FC

Season

  • In 2019, the 24 MLS teams will play a 34-game regular season schedule, 17 at home and 17 away.
  • The 2019 season will feature the debut of FC Cincinnati, an organization that prior to MLS set a number of attendance records in the United Soccer League, was the 2018 USL regular season champion and garnered national acclaim with its 2017 run to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • In 2018, Atlanta United in just their second season captured MLS Cup, led by 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Josef Martinez who set a league record with 31 goals in the regular season. Atlanta capped off the year with a 2-0 victory against the Portland Timbers, in front of an MLS Cup-record crowd of 73,019. The club was guided by Gerardo “Tata” Martino, the 2018 MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year who is now in charge of the Mexico National Team.
  • 2018 was the fourth 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 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 SPORTS in Southeast Asia and Australia, Fuji TV in Japan, FOX Sports Africa and pan-European broadcaster Eurosport – reaching more than 170 countries and territories.
  • The 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target drew 72,317 fans, breaking the record for the highest attendance at a standalone MLS All-Star Game and becoming the second-largest attendance of any All-Star Game across North American sports leagues. 

Players

MLS clubs are home to players born in more than 70 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. 

Josef Martinez (Atlanta United): The Venezuelan international striker has rewritten the MLS record books in two seasons. With 31 regular-season goals, Martinez set a single-season record in 2018 in leading Atlanta to an MLS Cup crown. He had a goal and assist in a 2-0 victory against Portland to garner MLS Cup MVP in front of 73,019 spectators at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A two-time MLS Best XI selection (2017, 2018), Martinez also holds the distinction as the first player to accrue six career hat tricks. With Martinez at the helm, Atlanta became the first MLS team to tally 70 goals in back-to-back seasons.

Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club): The Mexico National Team star had a 2018 to remember, both in league play and internationally. Vela led LAFC to the best expansion season in MLS history with 57 points, eclipsing the previous mark of 56 set by the 1998 expansion Chicago Fire. With a team-leading 14 goals and 13 assists, Vela earned MLS Best XI and was an MVP finalist. Earlier in the year, Vela starred for Mexico at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, scoring a goal during Mexico’s 2-1 win against South Korea, helping defeat defending World Cup champion Germany, and advancing to the tournament’s Round of 16.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy): Sweden’s all-time goal-scoring leader took on MLS with a vengeance in 2018, with highlight goals and a marketing reel to match his flamboyant personality. During his MLS debut on March 31, 2018, Ibrahimovic launched a 40-yard equalizer and then headed home the winner for a 4-3 victory against crosstown rivals LAFC. On Sept. 15, 2018, with a sweeping kick against Toronto FC, Ibrahimović joined Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only active players to have scored a combined 500 career goals for both club and country. With 22 goals and 10 assists, Ibrahimović earned MLS Best XI and was an MVP finalist.

Wayne Rooney (D.C. United): England’s top international striker made his MLS debut in 2018, and Rooney’s presence catapulted D.C. into the postseason and charged some energy into the opening of the long-anticipated Audi Field. With 12 goals, seven assists and a formidable attacking partnership alongside Luciano Acosta, Rooney took a last-place United squad into the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. He and Acosta were part of the MLS Best XI, and Rooney was a finalist for MVP, giving D.C. every hope of returning to the organization’s glory years of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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. Valeri also led the Timbers to a return to MLS Cup in 2018, finishing runner-up to Atlanta. A three-time MLS Best XI selection, Valeri set an MLS record in 2017 when he scored a goal in nine consecutive matches. 

Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls): The England native has been on fire since his arrival to MLS in 2013, adding to his flawless MLS resume by becoming the fastest player to reach the 100-goal milestone (in just his 159th game) in 2018. Wright-Phillips also is the first MLS player to score 15 goals in five consecutive seasons, and is the only player to record three 20-goal seasons, winning the Golden Boot in 2016 with 24 tallies. The star striker’s efforts helped lead the 2018 Red Bulls to a single-season record of 71 points and the Supporters’ Shield.

Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact): One of the most consistent performers in MLS history, Piatti is a two-time MLS Best XI selection (2016, 2018) and most recently posted 16 goals and a career-high 13 assists in 2018. Piatti has scored a combined 50 goals from 2016-18. He helped the Impact reach the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, contributing four goals and two assists in five postseason matches that year. Piatti previously won Copa Libertadores in 2014 and the 2013 Primera Division title while playing for San Lorenzo in his native Argentina. 

Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls): The Red Bulls defender’s ascension within the organization came together in 2018 as he earned MLS Defender of the Year. As a club, the Red Bulls had the top defense in the league by conceding a league-low 33 goals, helping them earn the Supporters’ Shield and establish an MLS record with 71 points. Long, a former 2016 United Soccer League Defender of the Year with that year’s championship-winning Red Bulls II squad, has also established himself as part of the U.S. Men’s National Team program. In 2018, Long earned multiple call-ups and made his MNT debut during a draw against Peru in October.

Michael Bradley (Toronto FC): The New Jersey native has been at the forefront of American soccer’s growth, with renowned achievements at Toronto FC, abroad for Italian side Roma, and internationally with the U.S. Men’s National Team as a two-time FIFA World Cup player. Bradley’s MLS tenure has included the 2017 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield, 2016 MLS Cup runner-up, three Canadian Championships (2016, 2017, 2018) and a well-earned runner-up performance in the 2018 Concacaf Champions League. For the U.S. MNT, Bradley is the third-most-capped player in program history (142 appearances through 2018) and enters 2019 tied for second all-time in assists (22 through 2018) with Cobi Jones.

Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids): One of the well-known products to develop out of the academy system, Acosta has enjoyed success at every level both professionally and internationally. The former FC Dallas Academy midfielder signed with their first team at age 16, earning 117 appearances before transitioning to the Colorado Rapids during the 2018 season. Acosta’s 2016 MLS season is one of his standout campaigns in a still-young career, posting career highs in assists (5), games (32), starts (24) and minutes (2,328) while helping FC Dallas win the Supporters’ Shield and the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. On the international front, Acosta has represented the U.S. at three youth FIFA World Cups (2011 with U-17s and 2013 and 2015 with the U-20s) before making his senior team debut in January 2016. Acosta was part of the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup-winning USA squad.

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:

ATLANTA: 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. 

CHICAGO: 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.

CINCINNATI: Carl Lindner III, CEO of American Financial Group, serves as the majority owner, along with Cintas Corp. CEO Scott Farmer. 

COLORADO: 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).

COLUMBUS: Investor-owner group of Columbus Crew SC includes Jimmy and Dee Haslam – owners of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns – and Dr. Pete Edwards.

DALLAS: Hunt Sports Group: Investor-operator of FC Dallas (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and NBA’s Chicago Bulls).

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: 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. 

HOUSTON: 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. 

KANSAS CITY: 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. 

LA GALAXY: Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG): Investor-operator of the LA Galaxy (other domestic sports business ventures include the Staples Center, Dignity Health Sports Park, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings).

LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB: 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. The 30-person ownership group also features a bevy of sports greats and celebrities, including NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, soccer star Mia Hamm Garciaparra, World Series winner Nomar Garciaparra and famed comedian and actor Will Ferrell.

MINNESOTA: 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). 

MONTREAL: 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. 

NEW ENGLAND: Kraft Soccer, LLC: Investor-operator of the New England Revolution (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium).

NEW YORK CITY FC: 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 is the majority owner of the club. As an investor, the Yankees are an active member of the ownership group. Team began play in 2015.

NEW YORK RED BULLS: 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.

ORLANDO: Orlando Sports Holdings, LLC: Investor-operators of Orlando City SC include majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva. 

PHILADELPHIA: Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC: Investor-operators of the Philadelphia Union include iStar Financial Chairman and CEO Jay Sugarman, veteran sports executive Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher and Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of The Buccini/Pollin Group. 

PORTLAND: 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.

SALT LAKE: 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. 

SAN JOSE: 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.

SEATTLE: 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 Trail Blazers).

TORONTO: 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).

VANCOUVER: 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).


FUTURE EXPANSION MARKETS:
AUSTIN: Precourt Sports Ventures LLC:
Investor-operator group of Austin FC. PSV is a privately held investment and management firm focused on sport-entertainment business led by Managing Partner Anthony Precourt.

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). 

NASHVILLE: 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.

 

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 2019, 20 of 24 MLS clubs will play their home games in stadiums built with soccer in mind. The existing MLS soccer stadiums (in order of MLS opening) includes the following:

MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio): Opened in 1999 as the home of Columbus Crew SC. Built by the Hunt Family, this stadium has hosted two All-Star Games, two MLS Cups and many important U.S. National Team games.

Dignity Health Sports Park (Carson, Calif.): Opened in 2003 and is the luxurious home of the LA Galaxy. Hosted the MLS All-Star Game and several MLS Cups.

Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas): Opened in 2005 as the home of FC Dallas, and since 2018 is the home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Hosted the 2005 and 2006 MLS Cups. A 145-acre multipurpose sports complex with 17 tournament-grade fields.

SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, Ill.): Located just 15 minutes southwest 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, Pa.): 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. The stadium hosted the 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 for the club’s first MLS season in 2011. Host of the 2014 MLS All-Star Game, Providence Park is currently undergoing renovation to increase seating capacity by approximately 4,000 additional seats, for completion during the 2019 MLS season. 

BC Place (Vancouver, Canada): Vancouver began its inaugural season in MLS at Empire Field before moving into BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver on Oct. 2, 2011, when the club hosted its rivals, the 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, Kan.): 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 MLS All-Star Game and 2013 MLS Cup.

BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, Texas): Houston Dynamo’s downtown 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 their fourth season in 2018 at Avaya Stadium (capacity: 18,000), which opened in 2015. 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 Stadium (Orlando, Fla.): Orlando City SC played in their first season in a brand-new venue in 2017, with open air seating and state-of-the-art safe-standing supporters’ sections. The stadium will serve as host to the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Ga.): 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 on Sept. 10, 2017, and set an MLS Cup record with 73,019 in attendance for Atlanta’s first MLS crown on Dec. 8, 2018.

Audi Field (Washington, D.C.): Located in D.C.’s thriving Buzzard Point neighborhood, Audi Field debuted in 2018 with a capacity of 20,000 fans. The state-of-the-art urban facility features 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site. 

Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.): The state-of-the-art, 22,000-seat stadium has housed the Los Angeles Football Club since their inaugural 2018 MLS season. The first open-air stadium built in Los Angeles since 1962, Banc of California Stadium features a dedicated safe-standing section for supporters’ groups. 

Allianz Field (Saint Paul, Minn.): The $150 million, 19,400-seat stadium is the future home of Minnesota United FC starting in 2019. Fan sections will be covered by a 360-degree canopy to keep noise contained in the stadium, as well as protect fans from inclement weather. Allianz Field will also feature a hydronic field heating system.

 

Television

The 2019 season, the fifth 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 2019, either nationally or regionally, and most are available to stream through ESPN+ and DAZN in Canada.

 

2019 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) 
  • 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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