Slow stadium news weekend, so I’ll take the opportunity to note my debut article for Deadspin that ran Friday, on Major League Soccer’s ongoing expand-o-rama and whether this is likely to end well for the league. (Consensus of myself and the sports economists I spoke with: Maybe there’s a chance if you squint, but don’t bet the farm on it.)
And since this became an issue in Deadspin’s comments section: Yes, I know about Soccer United Marketing, the MLS-owned marketing company that handles such North American events as the Gold Cup; no, just because MLS according to one report paid $450 million to buy back a 25% share of SUM to regain full ownership doesn’t necessarily mean the league is “worth” an extra $1.8 billion, any more than the fact that people are paying $150 million for expansion franchises means those are worth that much; and no, nobody really knows how much SUM is worth since it won’t release any revenue figures. It’s almost certainly worth something, but as University of Michigan economist and Soccernomics co-author Stefan Szymanski estimates, probably not enough to make a huge difference in the league’s profitability once it stops cashing $150 million expansion checks. I’m going to keep digging into this in the future, but for now that’s the best verdict available.
And if you’d like to hear me talk even more about MLS and its future, I was interviewed on 700 WLW in Cincinnati yesterday, which you can hear here starting at the 67:29 mark. And coming up tonight, I’ll be on 590 KFNS in St. Louis at 6:20 pm Central time, and then KXTG-102.9/750 The Game in Portland, Oregon at 5 pm Pacific time, which is right afterwards because I am apparently a time traveler. Or the earth is round, definitely one of those two.