020 was a difficult year for everyone, and the sports world is no different. As a result, MLS estimated their losses at around $1 billion last season, and this season, according to the Commissioner of the league Don Garber, there will be another estimated loss of $1 billion. Garber told reporters, “We are forecasted to lose pretty close to US$1 billion… When you don't have fans for the majority of your season, it's just pure math. So that being said, our owners have been very, very focused over a long period of time to build a league. But their resources are not unlimited. We've got to drive revenue. We've got to think about new ways to approach our business."
Unlike many of the other sports leagues in the United States, MLS does not have a huge television deal when compared to the NBA or MLB. The league has a TV deal that is estimated at roughly $600 million, a far cry from the NFL’s $7 billion television package. MLS depends greatly on fans attending their games and with restrictions in almost every market the revenue stream has run a bit dry.
Major League Soccer is set to kick off the 2021 season on April 17th, following the implementation of the new CBA, which forced the league to push back the season. Despite the losses all players are expected to receive 100% compensation for the upcoming season.
MLS 2021 season updates
At the moment, the league will look to ride the wave of the pandemic, hoping that sooner rather than later fans will be able to return in some capacity to all their stadiums. The Canadian teams for example will have to play their home games in the US as per the restrictions in Canada regarding travel.
“Right now, our focus is trying to get an understanding as to when our [Canadian] teams can play in their home markets, and in the event that they're not able to, as our season is in front of us, having them have homes in the United States, where they'll be able to do sort of like they did at the end of last year, to be able to play their own matches.”
While the pandemic has hit many teams hard, some continue to spend as Austin FC has brought in their second DP, Argentine Tomas Pochettino, while the Galaxy have placed a bid of roughly $9.4 million for Cristian Pavón.