Major League Soccer
|Other club(s) from||Canada|
|Founded||December 17, 1993|
|Number of teams||20|
|Level on pyramid||1 (US), 1 (CAN)|
|Domestic cup(s)||U.S. Open Cup
|International cup(s)||CONCACAF Champions League|
|Current MLS Cup||LA Galaxy (5th title)
|Current Supporters' Shield||Seattle Sounders FC (1st shield)
|Most MLS Cups||LA Galaxy (5 titles)|
|Most Supporters' Shields||D.C. United &
LA Galaxy (4 shields)
|2015 MLS season|
Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional soccer league representing the sport's highest level in both the United States and Canada. MLS constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada. The league is composed of 20 teams—17 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. The MLS regular season runs from March to October, with each team playing 34 games; the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. The post season includes twelve teams competing in the MLS Cup Playoffs through November and December, culminating in the championship game, the MLS Cup. MLS teams also play in other competitions against teams from other divisions and countries, such as the U.S. Open Cup, the Canadian Championship, and the CONCACAF Champions League. MLS is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer).
Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 as part of the United States' successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 with ten teams. MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years: The league lost millions of dollars, teams played in mostly empty American football stadiums, and two teams folded in 2002. Since then, MLS has expanded to 20 teams, owners built soccer-specific stadiums, average attendance at MLS matches exceeds that of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), MLS secured national TV contracts, and the league is now profitable.
Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, MLS is a single entity in which each team is owned and controlled by the league's investors. The investor-operators control their teams as owners control teams in other leagues, and are commonly (but inaccurately) referred to as the team's owners. The league's closed membership makes it one of the world's few soccer leagues that does not use promotion and relegation, which is uncommon in the United States and Canada. MLS headquarters are in New York City.
- 1 Competition format
- 2 History
- 3 Teams
- 4 League championships
- 5 Organization
- 6 Player records
- 7 MLS commissioners
- 8 MLS awards
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Major League Soccer's regular season runs from March to October. Teams are divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences. Teams play 34 games in an unbalanced schedule: 24 matches against teams within their conference, plus 10 matches against teams from the other conference. Midway through the season, teams break for the annual All-Star Game, a friendly game between the league's finest players and a major club from a different league. At the end of the regular season, the team with the highest point total is awarded the Supporters' Shield.
Unlike European soccer leagues, the MLS regular season is followed by the 12-team MLS Cup Playoffs in November, ending with the MLS Cup championship final in early December. Although some commentators have argued that playoffs reduce the importance of the regular season, Commissioner Don Garber has explained "Our purpose is to have a valuable competition, and that includes having playoffs that are more meaningful."
Major League Soccer's spring-to-autumn schedule results in scheduling conflicts with the FIFA calendar and with summertime international tournaments such as the World Cup and the Gold Cup, causing several players to miss some MLS matches. While MLS has looked into changing to an autumn-to-spring format, there are no current plans to do so. If the league were to change its schedule, a winter break would be needed, especially with several teams in colder climates, which some believe would lead to a disadvantage. It would also have to compete with the more popular National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Basketball Association (NBA).
MLS teams also play in other competitions. Every year, up to five MLS teams play in the CONCACAF Champions League against other clubs from the CONCACAF region. Three U.S. based MLS teams qualify based on MLS results. A fourth U.S. based MLS team can also qualify via the U.S. Open Cup; where U.S. based teams compete against lower division U.S. clubs. Canadian MLS clubs play against lower division Canadian clubs in the Canadian Championship for the one spot allocated to Canada.
Major League Soccer is the most recent of a series of professional men's premier national professional soccer leagues established in the United States and Canada. The predecessor of MLS was the North American Soccer League (NASL), which played from 1968 until 1984.
In 1988, in exchange for FIFA awarding the right to host the 1994 World Cup, U.S. Soccer promised to establish a Division 1 professional soccer league. In 1993, U.S. Soccer selected Major League Professional Soccer (the precursor to MLS) as the exclusive Division 1 professional soccer league. Major League Soccer was officially formed in February 1995 as a limited liability company.
MLS began play in 1996 with ten teams. The first game was held on April 6, 1996, as the San Jose Clash defeated D.C. United before 31,000 fans at Spartan Stadium in San Jose in a game broadcast on ESPN. The league had generated some buzz by managing to lure some marquee players from the 1994 World Cup to play in MLS—including U.S. stars such as Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola and Eric Wynalda, and foreign players such as Mexico's Jorge Campos and Colombia's Carlos Valderrama. D.C. United won the MLS Cup in three of the league's first four seasons. The league added its first two expansion teams in 1998—the Miami Fusion and the Chicago Fire; the Chicago Fire won its first title in its inaugural season.
After its first season, MLS suffered from a decline in attendance. The league's low attendance was all the more apparent in light of the fact that eight of the original ten teams played in large American football stadiums. One aspect that had alienated fans was that MLS experimented with rules deviations in its early years in an attempt to "Americanize" the sport. The league implemented the use of shootouts to resolve tie games. MLS also used a countdown clock and halves ended when the clock reached 0:00. The league realized that the rule changes had alienated some traditional soccer fans while failing to draw new American sports fans, and the shootout and countdown clock were eliminated after the 1999 season. The league's quality was cast into doubt when the U.S. men's national team, which was made up largely of MLS players, finished in last place at the 1998 World Cup.
Major League Soccer lost an estimated $250 million during its first five years, and more than $350 million between its founding and 2004. The league's financial problems led to Commissioner Doug Logan being replaced by Garber, a former NFL executive, in August 1999. MLS announced in January 2002 that it had decided to contract the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion, leaving the league with ten teams.
Despite the financial problems, though, MLS did have some accomplishments that would set the stage for the league's resurgence. Columbus Crew Stadium, now known as Mapfre Stadium, was built in 1999, becoming MLS's first soccer-specific stadium. This began a trend among MLS teams to construct their own venues instead of leasing American football stadiums. In 2000, the league won an antitrust lawsuit, Fraser v. Major League Soccer, that the players had filed in 1996. The court ruled that MLS's policy of centrally contracting players and limiting player salaries through a salary cap and other restrictions were a legal method for the league to maintain solvency and competitive parity.
The 2002 World Cup, in which the United States unexpectedly made the quarterfinals, coincided with a resurgence in American soccer and MLS. MLS Cup 2002 drew 61,316 spectators to Gillette Stadium, the largest attendance in an MLS Cup final. MLS limited teams to three substitutions per game in 2003, and adopted International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules in 2005.
MLS underwent a transition in the years leading up to the 2006 World Cup. After marketing itself on the talents of American players, the league lost some of its homegrown stars to prominent European leagues. For example, Tim Howard was transferred to Manchester United for $4 million in one of the most lucrative contract deals in league history. Many more American players did make an impact in MLS. In 2005, Jason Kreis became the first player to score 100 career MLS goals.
The league's financial stabilization plan included teams moving out of large American football stadiums and into soccer-specific stadiums. From 2003 to 2008, the league oversaw the construction of six additional soccer-specific stadiums, largely funded by owners such as Lamar Hunt and Phil Anschutz, so that by the end of 2008, a majority of teams were now in soccer-specific stadiums.
It was also in this era that MLS expanded for the first time since 1998. Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA began play in 2005, with Chivas USA becoming the second club in Los Angeles. By 2006 the San Jose Earthquakes owners, players and a few coaches moved to Texas to become the expansion Houston Dynamo, after failing to build a stadium in San Jose. The Dynamo became an expansion team, leaving their history behind for a new San Jose ownership group that formed in 2007.
In 2007 the league expanded beyond the United States' borders into Canada with the Toronto FC expansion team. Major League Soccer took steps to further raise the level of play by adopting the Designated Player Rule, which helped bring international stars into the league. The 2007 season witnessed the MLS debut of David Beckham. Beckham's signing had been seen as a coup for American soccer, and was made possible by the Designated Player Rule. Players such as Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Chicago Fire) and Juan Pablo Ángel (New York Red Bulls), are some of the first Designated Players who made major contributions to their clubs. The departures of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, coupled with the return of former U.S. national team stars Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride, highlighted the exchange of top prospects to Europe for experienced veterans to MLS.
By 2008, San Jose had returned to the league under new ownership, and in 2009, the expansion side Seattle Sounders FC began play in MLS. The 2010 season ushered in an expansion franchise in the Philadelphia Union and their new PPL Park stadium. The 2010 season also brought the opening of the New York Red Bulls' soccer-specific stadium, Red Bull Arena, and the debut of French striker Thierry Henry.
The 2011 season brought further expansion with the addition of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the second Canadian MLS franchise, and the Portland Timbers. Real Salt Lake reached the finals of the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League. During the 2011 season, the Galaxy signed another international star in Republic of Ireland all-time leading goalscorer Robbie Keane. MLS drew an average attendance of 17,872 in 2011, higher than the average attendances of the NBA and NHL. In 2012, the Montreal Impact became the league's 19th franchise and the third in Canada, and made their home debut in front of a crowd of 58,912, while the New York Red Bulls added Australian star Tim Cahill.
In 2013, MLS introduced New York City FC as its 20th team, and Orlando City Soccer Club as its 21st team, both of which would begin playing in 2015. In 2013, the league implemented its "Core Players" initiative allows teams to retain key players using retention funds instead of losing the players to foreign leagues. Among the first high-profile players re-signed in 2013 using retention funds were U.S. national team regulars Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. Beginning in summer of 2013 and continuing in the run up to the 2014 World Cup, MLS began signing U.S. stars based abroad, including Clint Dempsey from the English Premier League to Seattle, DaMarcus Beasley from the Liga MX to Houston, Jermaine Jones from the German Bundesliga to New England and Michael Bradley who returned from Italy to join Toronto who also signed England International Striker Jermain Defoe. By the 2014 season, fifteen of the nineteen MLS head coaches had previously played in MLS. By 2013, the league's popularity had increased to the point where MLS was as popular as Major League Baseball among 12–17 year olds, as reported by the 2013 Luker on Trends ESPN poll, having jumped in popularity since the 2010 World Cup.
In 2014, the league announced an expansion Atlanta MLS team as the 22nd team to start playing in as 2017. Even though New York City FC and Orlando City were not set to begin play until 2015, each team made headlines during the summer 2014 transfer window by announcing their first Designated Players — Spain's leading scorer David Villa and Chelsea's leading scorer Frank Lampard to New York, and Ballon d'Or winner Kaká to Orlando. The 2014 World Cup featured 21 MLS players on World Cup rosters and a record 11 MLS players playing for foreign teams — including players from traditional powerhouses Brazil (Júlio César), playing for Toronto FC on loan from Queens Park Rangers FC, and Spain (David Villa), on loan to Melbourne City FC from New York City FC; in the U.S. v. Germany match the U.S. fielded a team with seven MLS starters.
On September 18, 2014, MLS unveiled their new logo for the 2015 season—the league's 20th season—and beyond, as part of the "MLS Next" branding initiative. In addition to the new crest logo, the MLS teams will display their own versions, designed in their own colors, that will be displayed on their jerseys at every game—the change represents the first time that the MLS logo has been changed since the league's inception. New York City FC and Orlando City SC joined the league in 2015 as the 19th and 20th teams, on October 27, 2014. That same year, they lost another soccer team, that being Chivas USA. Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference in 2015 to make two 10-team conferences.
Following the folding of Chivas USA, the league announced that a new Los Angeles club will begin play in either 2017 or 2018 under a new ownership group. The year the club joins the league will depend when it will move to a new stadium. On March 25, 2015, the league announced that the Minnesota United would join the MLS in either 2017 or 2018, depending on when the Los Angeles club joins the league.
MLS's 20 teams are divided between the Eastern and Western Conference. Each club is allowed up to 30 players on its first team roster. All 30 players are eligible for selection to each 18-player game-day squad during the regular season and playoffs.
Since the 2005 season, MLS has added many new clubs. During this period of expansion, Los Angeles became the first two-team market, and the league pushed into Canada in 2007. The league will expand from 20 teams today to 22 teams in 2017 with the additions of Atlanta and either Los Angeles or Minnesota, and then to 23 teams in 2018 with the addition of Minnesota or Los Angeles, depending which team joins the league the preceding year. The league plans to have 24 teams by 2020.
In the history of MLS, twenty-three different clubs have competed in the league, with nine having won at least one MLS Cup, and eight winning at least one Supporters' Shield. The same club has won both trophies six times.
Several teams compete annually for secondary MLS rivalry cups that are typically contested by two teams, usually geographic rivals (e.g., New York vs D.C.). Each cup is awarded to the team with the better regular-season record in games played between the two teams. The concept is comparable to minor trophies played for by American college football teams.
Since the 2015 season, teams are aligned as follows:
|Team||City||Stadium||Year Founded||Joining League|
|Atlanta||Atlanta, Georgia||New Atlanta Stadium 1||2014||2017|
|Minnesota United FC||Minneapolis, Minnesota||TBA 2||2010||2017 or 2018|
|Los Angeles FC||Los Angeles, California||LAFC Stadium 2||2014||2018|
|Miami||Miami, Florida||Miami MLS Stadium||2014||TBA (pending stadium agreement, not officially awarded)|
|Chivas USA||Carson, CA||StubHub Center||2005–2014|
|Miami Fusion||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Lockhart Stadium||1998–2001|
|Tampa Bay Mutiny||Tampa, FL||Raymond James Stadium 1||1996–2001|
- Shared facility; not a soccer-specific stadium
- Team plans to move into a soccer-specific stadium
MLS Cup titles and Supporters' Shield Wins
|San Jose Earthquakes||2||2003||2||2012||17|
|Sporting Kansas City||2||2013||1||2000||19|
|Real Salt Lake||1||2009||0||—||10|
|Tampa Bay Mutiny*||0||—||1||1996||6*|
|New York Red Bulls||0||—||1||2013||19|
|*Franchise folded after completion of the 2001 season|
Major League Soccer operates under a single-entity structure in which teams and player contracts are centrally owned by the league. Each team has an investor-operator that is a shareholder in the league. In order to control costs, MLS shares revenues and holds players contracts instead of players contracting with individual teams. In Fraser v. Major League Soccer, a lawsuit filed in 1996 and decided in 2002, the league won a legal battle with its players in which the court ruled that MLS was a single entity that can lawfully centrally contract for player services. The court also ruled that even absent their collective bargaining agreement, players could opt to play in other leagues if they were unsatisfied.
Having multiple clubs owned by a single owner was a necessity in the league's first ten years. At one time Phil Anschutz's AEG owned six MLS clubs and Lamar Hunt's Hunt Sports owned three franchises. In order to attract additional investors, in 2002 the league announced changes to the operating agreement between the league and its teams to improve team revenues and increase the incentives to be an individual club owner. These changes included granting owners the rights to a certain number of players they develop through their club's academy system each year, sharing the profits of Soccer United Marketing, and being able to sell individual club jersey sponsorships.
As MLS appeared to be on the brink of overall profitability in 2006 and developed significant expansion plans, MLS announced that it wanted each club to have a distinct operator. The league has attracted new ownership that have injected more money into the league. Examples include Red Bull's purchase of the MetroStars from AEG in 2006 for in over $100 million.
The league now has 17 investor-operators for its 19 clubs. Hunt Sports owns only one team (FC Dallas). AEG is the only organization left with an ownership interest in multiple teams — AEG owns the LA Galaxy and retains a 50% interest in the Houston Dynamo. Two of the league's teams are owned, at least in part, by a foreigner — Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz (New York Red Bulls), and Indonesian Erick Thohir (D.C. United). For the 2014 season, the league owned the former Chivas USA club, which had suffered from mismanagement and poor financial results under its individual operator relationship. The league eventually dissolved the team, in favor of awarding rights to a second soccer club in the Los Angeles area to a new ownership group on October 30, 2014.
Player acquisition and salaries
The average salary for MLS players is $226,000, lower than the average salaries in England's second-tier Football League Championship ($343,861 in 2011), Holland's Eredivisie ($445,000), or Mexico's Liga MX ($418,000). MLS salaries are limited by a salary cap, which MLS has had in place since the league's inception in 1996. The purpose of the salary cap is to prevent the team's owners from unsustainable spending on player salaries — a practice that had doomed the North American Soccer League during the 1980s — and to prevent a competitive imbalance among teams. The salary cap survived a legal challenge by the players in the Fraser v. Major League Soccer lawsuit. For the 2015 season, the salary cap is $3.5 million per team.
Teams may augment their squads by signing players from other leagues. MLS has two transfer windows — the primary pre season transfer window lasts three months from mid February until mid May, and the secondary mid season transfer window runs one month from early June to early August. All MLS teams have a limited number of international roster slots that they can use to sign non-domestic players. In 2015 42.8% of MLS players were born outside of the U.S. and Canada, with players from 58 countries represented.
MLS has also introduced various initiatives and rules intended to improve quality of players while still maintaining the salary cap. Rules concerning Designated Players, Generation Adidas players, home grown players, and allocation money all allow for additional wage spending that is exempt from the salary cap. These initiatives have brought about an increase in on-field competition.
The designated player (DP) rule allows teams to sign a limited number of players whose salary exceeds the maximum cap, each DP player only counts as $387,500 (the maximum non-DP salary) against the cap. Instituted in 2007, England's David Beckham was the first signing under the DP rule. The DP rule has led to large income inequality in MLS with top DPs earning as much as 180 times more than a player earning the league minimum. In the 2013 season 21% of the league's wage spending went to just 5 players, this stretched to 29% on the top 6 players in the 2014 season.
The league's "Core Players" initiative allows teams to re-sign players using retention funds that do not count against the salary cap. Retention funds were implemented in 2013 as a mechanism for MLS to retain key players; among the first high-profile players re-signed using retention funds were U.S. national team regulars Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. MLS teams can also obtain allocation money, which is money that the team can use on player salaries that does not count against the cap, and teams can earn allocation money in several ways, such as from the transfer fees earned by selling players to teams in other leagues.
The league operates a Generation Adidas program, which is a joint venture between MLS and U.S. Soccer that encourages young American players to enter MLS. The Generation Adidas program has been in place since 1997, and has introduced players such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley into MLS. Players under the Home Grown Player rule are signed to Generation Adidas contracts, all players on Generation Adidas contracts are "off budget players" and their salaries do not count against the cap.
MLS has required all of its teams to operate youth development programs since 2008. Teams have the ability to sign an unlimited number of their own home grown players to the senior team each year on contracts similar to Generation adidas contracts - which do not count against the MLS salary budget and may earn a much higher salary than the league minimum - to incentivise youth development. One of the most prominent and lucrative examples of success in "home-grown" development was Jozy Altidore, who rose to prominence as a teenager in MLS before his record transfer fee $10 million move to Villarreal in Spain in 2008. The various MLS teams' development academies play matches in a U.S. Soccer developmental league against youth academies from other leagues such as the Division II North American Soccer League (NASL) and Division III USL Pro, the latter of which has now rebranded itself as the United Soccer League.
MLS formerly operated a reserve league which gave playing time to players who were not starters for their MLS teams. The Reserve League was formed in 2005, and operated through 2014 (with the exception of the 2009 & 2010 seasons). MLS began integrating its Reserve League with the league then known as USL Pro in 2013, and after the 2014 season folded the Reserve League, with MLS now requiring all teams to either affiliate with a USL team or field a reserve side in that league.
Since 1999, the league has overseen the construction of twelve stadiums specifically designed for soccer. The development of soccer-specific stadiums owned by the teams has generated a better gameday experience for the fans. The soccer-specific stadiums have yielded positive financial results as teams were no longer required to pay to rent out facilities and gained control over revenue streams such as concessions, parking, naming rights, and the ability to host non MLS events. Several teams have doubled their season-tickets following the team's move into a soccer-specific stadium. The establishment of soccer-specific stadiums is considered the key to the league and the ability of teams to turn a profit. In 2006, Tim Leiweke, then CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, described the proliferation of soccer-specific stadiums as the turning point for MLS.
Columbus Crew owner Lamar Hunt started this trend in 1999 by constructing Columbus Crew Stadium, now known as Mapfre Stadium, as MLS's first soccer-specific stadium. The Los Angeles Galaxy followed four years later with the opening of The Home Depot Center, now StubHub Center, in 2003. FC Dallas opened Pizza Hut Park, now Toyota Stadium, in 2005, and the Chicago Fire began playing their home games in Toyota Park in 2006. The 2007 season brought the opening of Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the Colorado Rapids and BMO Field for Toronto FC.
Near the end of the 2008 season, Rio Tinto Stadium became the home of Real Salt Lake, which meant that for the first time in MLS history a majority of MLS's teams (8 out of 14) played in soccer-specific stadiums. Red Bull Arena, the new home of the New York Red Bulls opened for the start of the 2010 season, and the Philadelphia Union opened PPL Park in June 2010, midway through their inaugural season. The following season, in 2011, the Portland Timbers made their MLS debut in a newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field, now renamed Providence Park, which was originally a multi-purpose venue but turned into a soccer-specific facility. Also in 2011, Sporting Kansas City moved to new Sporting Park. The Houston Dynamo relocated to their new home at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2012. In the same year, the Montreal Impact joined the league in an expanded Stade Saputo, which reopened June 2012, when renovations pushed the seating capacity to over 20,000. The Impact has used Olympic Stadium for early season matches and for games that require a larger capacity.
The development of additional MLS stadiums is in progress. The San Jose Earthquakes, who had played at Buck Shaw Stadium, from 2009 until 2014, broke ground for their new Avaya Stadium in 2012, with construction expected to be completed before the 2015 season. The Orlando City SC expansion team intends to begin constructing Orlando City Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium, in 2014 to be completed in 2015, while temporarily playing at the renovated Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in their inaugural year.
Three teams have announced their desire to build a soccer-specific stadium, although these teams have not finalized the stadium site and received all necessary government approvals. D.C. United plays home games at a former NFL and Major League Baseball venue, RFK Stadium; in 2013, D.C. United announced the signing of a public-private partnership term sheet to build a 20,000-25,000-seat soccer stadium in Washington, D.C., and a final deal was reached in late 2014. The New York City FC expansion team will play their games at Yankee Stadium, a Major League Baseball venue, although they intend to move into a soccer specific stadium in the future. The New England Revolution play home games at a National Football League venue, Gillette Stadium, but are currently in discussion with the City of Boston regarding a potential soccer-specific stadium in the neighborhood of South Boston.
Several remaining clubs play in stadiums not originally built for MLS and have not announced plans to move. The Seattle Sounders FC play at CenturyLink Field, a dual-purpose facility used for both American football and soccer. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC joined the league with Portland in 2011 and temporary held matches at Empire Field before moving into the refurbished BC Place in October 2011, a retractable-roof stadium that hosts Canadian football as well as soccer.
As of the 2015 season, MLS matches are broadcast nationally by ESPN networks and Fox Sports in English, and Univision networks in Spanish under an eight-year contract. Each broadcaster has a window for national regular season matches, with UniMas airing a game on Friday nights in Spanish and additional matches on Univision Deportes Network, and ESPN and Fox Sports 1 airing games on Sunday evenings in English. ESPN, FS1, and Univision will share in coverage of the playoffs, while ESPN and FS1 will alternate broadcasting the MLS Cup final in English. In total, at least 125 matches will be aired per-season across all three networks, and the three contracts have an average estimated value of $90 million per season—five times larger than the average $18 million value of the previous contracts with ESPN, Univision, and NBC Sports. 7. Matches not televised nationally are broadcast regionally, often by regional sports networks, such as the LA Galaxy and Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
From 2012 to 2014, MLS matches were previously broadcast by NBC Sports, with 40 matches per year—primarily on NBCSN, and select matches broadcast on the NBC network. The move from Fox Soccer to the more widely distributed NBCSN proved successful, with viewership numbers doubling for the 2012 season over those of Fox Soccer.
Coverage of MLS expanded into Canada in 2007 with the addition of Toronto FC. Currently, national MLS broadcast rights in Canada are through the TSN networks with a six-year deal for the 2011–2016 seasons. TSN and TSN2 broadcast a minimum of 30 games during each season, all featuring at least one Canadian team. French-language sister networks RDS and RDS2 have similar broadcast rights. The networks also carry additional games not involving Canadian teams. GolTV Canada carries selected all-U.S. MLS matchups.
As in the United States, the individual Canadian teams also have separate broadcast deals for games not aired under the TSN/RDS national contract. TSN and Sportsnet split coverage of Toronto FC regional games, TVA Sports airs Montreal Impact games, and TSN broadcasts the Vancouver Whitecaps in a separate deal.
MLS signed an international television contract in 2008 through 2013 with sports media company MP & Silva. The figure is reportedly an "eight-figure deal." MP & Silva explained that high-profile, international players who were lured to MLS by the Designated Player Rule have raised the popularity of MLS in international markets. ESPN International purchased the rights to broadcast MLS in the U.K. in 2009, and other ESPN networks around the world also broadcast games. MLS also entered into a four-year contract with Sky Sports to broadcast two MLS matches per week in the UK from 2015–2019. Eurosport will also broadcast MLS between 2015 and 2019, with four matches per week being screened live to its continental audience.
Profitability and revenues
|Houston Dynamo||BHP Billiton||Undisclosed|
|LA Galaxy||Herbalife||$4.4 million|
|Montreal Impact||Bank of Montreal||US$4 million|
|New England Revolution||UnitedHealthcare||Undisclosed|
|New York City FC||Etihad Airways||Undisclosed|
|Orlando City SC||Orlando Health||Undisclosed|
|Philadelphia Union||Bimbo||$3 million|
|Portland Timbers||Alaska Airlines||Undisclosed|
|Real Salt Lake||LifeVantage||$3 million|
|Seattle Sounders FC||Xbox||$4 million|
|Sporting Kansas City||Ivy Funds||$2.5 million|
|Toronto FC||Bank of Montreal||C$4 million|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Bell Canada||C$4 million+|
|The N.Y. Red Bulls jersey sponsor is Red Bull, which owns the club.|
|Team(s) without a jersey sponsor:
San Jose Earthquakes.
Major League Soccer began to demonstrate positive signs of long-term profitability as early as 2004 with the single-entity ownership structure, salary cap, and the media and marketing umbrella Soccer United Marketing (SUM) all contributing towards MLS's financial security. As soccer-specific stadiums are built, ownership expands, and television coverage increases, MLS has seen its revenues increase while controlling costs.
Television coverage and revenue have increased since the league's early years. In 2006, MLS reached an 8-year TV deal with ESPN spanning the 2007–2014 seasons, and marked the first time that MLS earned rights fees, reported to be worth $7–8 million annually. In September 2012 the league extended its distribution agreement with London-based Media rights agency MP & Silva until 2014 in a deal worth $10 million annually. Total league TV revenues are over $40 million annually. In 2011, MLS earned $150 million when it sold a 25% stake in SUM.
In early 2005, MLS signed a 10-year, $150 million sponsorship deal with Adidas. In 2007, MLS teams started selling ad space on the front of jerseys to go along with the league-wide sponsorship partners who had already been advertising on the back of club jerseys, following the practice of international sport, specifically soccer. MLS established a floor of $500,000 per shirt sponsorship, with the league receiving a flat fee of $200,000 per deal. As of July 2014, sixteen teams have signed sponsorship deals to have company logos placed on the front of their jerseys (and another team is directly owned by its shirt sponsor), and the league average from jersey sponsors is about $2.4 million. D.C. United had a jersey sponsorship by Volkswagen over a five-year period from 2008 to 2013.
The Los Angeles Galaxy made a profit in 2003 in their first season at The Home Depot Center, and FC Dallas turned a profit after moving into Pizza Hut Park in 2005. For each season between 2006–2009, two to three MLS clubs (generally clubs with a soccer-specific stadium) were reported as profitable by the league.
By 2012, the league had shown a marked improvement in its financial health. In November 2013, Forbes published its first valuation of MLS teams since 2008, and revealed that ten of the league's nineteen teams earned an operating profit in 2012, while two broke even and seven had a loss. Forbes estimated that the league's collective annual revenues were $494 million, and that the league's collective annual profit was $34 million. Forbes valued the league's franchises to be worth $103 million on average, almost three times as much as the $37 million average valuation in 2008. The Seattle Sounders FC franchise was named the most valuable at $175 million, a 483% gain over the $30 million league entrance fee it paid in 2009.
Rules and officials
MLS follows the rules and standards of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The playoff extra time structure follows IFAB standards: two full 15-minute periods, followed by a penalty shootout if necessary. Away goals apply to the playoff stage of the competition, but do not apply to overtime in the second leg of any two-legged playoff series.
U.S. Soccer hired the first full-time professional referees in league history in 2007 as part of the league's "Game First" initiatives. Major League Soccer has been implementing fines and suspensions since the 2011 season for simulation (diving) through its Disciplinary Committee, which reviews plays after the match. The first player fined under the new rule was Charlie Davies, fined $1,000 for intentionally deceiving match officials.
- For more information on MLS team names, see the individual team entries.
Originally, in the style of other U.S. sports leagues, teams were given nicknames at their creation. Examples include the Columbus Crew, the San Jose Clash and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Several of the club names in MLS originated with earlier professional soccer clubs, such as the 1970s-era NASL team names San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
D.C. United and Miami Fusion F.C. were the only two MLS teams to adopt European naming conventions during the 1990s. However, European-style names have increased in MLS, with expansion teams such as Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC, in addition to 2015 entrants New York City FC and Orlando City S.C., along with several re-brandings such as the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) and Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City).
Statistics below are for all-time leaders. Statistics are for regular season only. Bold indicates active MLS players.
Player records (active)
Statistics below are for all-time leaders who are still playing. Statistics are for regular season only.
At the conclusion of each season, the league presents several awards for outstanding achievements, mostly to players, but also to coaches, referees, and teams. The finalists in each category are determined by voting from MLS players, team employees, and the media.
- Canadian Championship
- Canadian Soccer Association
- Generation Adidas
- List of current MLS players
- List of MLS coaches
- List of MLS drafts
- List of MLS seasons
- MLS All-Star Game
- MLS Attendance
- MLS Combine
- MLS Cup Playoffs
- MLS Hall of Fame Game
- MLS International Roster Slots
- MLS Players Union
- MLS Reserve Division
- MLS rivalry cups
- MLS SuperDraft
- MLS on television
- Pan-Pacific Championship
- Sueño MLS
- United States Soccer Federation
- United States soccer league system
- US Open Cup
- World Series of Soccer (MLS)
- Simon Borg (December 17, 2010). "MLS celebrates 17th anniversary of formal debut". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- Fraser v. Major League Soccer, 01 F.3d 1296 (1st Cir. 2002).
- "MLS is most diverse of America's big five team sports". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS expands playoffs, adds 2 teams in 20th season", USA Today, January 7, 2015.
- "MLS Cup Playoffs 101: How the 2013 postseason works". Portland Timbers. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "CONCACAF Approves U.S. Soccer's/MLS Request to Amend Their Qualification Process to CCL". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "About Major League Soccer". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "About Major League Soccer". MLSnet. September 5, 2008. Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
- "1996 Season Recap". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Teams". Forbes. November 20, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Fraser v. Major League Soccer, 01 F.3d 1296 (US 1st Cir. March 20, 2002) (“MLS owns all of the teams that play in the league (a total of 12 prior to the start of 2002), as well as all intellectual property rights, tickets, supplied equipment, and broadcast rights. … However, MLS has also relinquished some control over team operations to certain investors. MLS contracts with these investors to operate…the league's teams”).
- "Dempsey Transfer Highlights Influence of MLS Single-Entity Economic Structure". Business of Soccer. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MY TWO CENTS Part II: A few reasons how promotion/relegation system could be a success in the United States". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer, L.L.C. Company Information". Hoovers, Inc. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
- "Competition Rules and Regulations". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "MLS All-Star Game creates opportunities for Portland, U.S. soccer: Editorial". OregonLive.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "A case for the Supporters Shield". Brotherly Game. August 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "How the MLS Playoff Format Punishes Ambitious Teams". Forbes. October 15, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Wahl, Grant (October 31, 2011). "Beckham's Last Stand". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
'With the playoffs you can end up winning the Supporters' Shield [for best regular-season record] and then go out in the first round.'
- "Are there too many MLS playoff teams?". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS commissioner talks Pacific Northwest rivalry, league's future". CNN. March 11, 2011.
- Lewis, Michael (June 19, 2010). "FIFA president Blatter says MLS needs to adopt int'l calendar to compete". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "MLS May Change Its Schedule To Help The US's World Cup Bid". Business Insider. November 22, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "MLS looks at switching to international schedule". USA Today. November 22, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "Playoffs expand to 10 teams, more changes ahead" (Press release). Major League Soccer. November 22, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "MLS' Garber: No plans for international calendar". USA Today. February 15, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
- "Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Canada Soccer announces move to new timeframe for future Amway Canadian Championships", Canada Soccer, March 21, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- "By The Numbers… North American Soccer League vs Major League Soccer". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "FRASER v. MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS KICKS OFF TO FESTIVE CROWD, MIXED ON-FIELD REVIEWS". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "19 Teams with 1 Goal: A Spotlight on Major League Soccer", June 10, 2014.
- "Trophy Case". DC United. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS 3.0 Series: A History of MLS 1.0". Last Word On Sports. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Resurgence and Expansion of the MLS". Soccer Politics / The Politics of Football. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Shootout banned; TV lineup changed". SI.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Holmes, Stanley (November 22, 2004). "Soccer: Time To Kick It Up A Notch". Businessweek. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
- "For M.L.S., the Sport's Future Is in the Eye of the Beholder", New York Times, November 11, 2005.
- "MLS fans in several cities wait nervously for contraction decision". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS considering weight-loss program". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Mls Boots Commissioner, Turns To Nfl For Successor". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "The Throw-In: Did eliminating Tampa, Miami save MLS?". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Columbus Crew history". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Making Soccer 'Major League' in the USA and Beyond:Major League Soccer's First Decade". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Fraser v. Major League Soccer, 97 F.Supp.2d 130 (D. Mass 2000)
- "Learn about MLS", New York City FC. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- "MLS Cup 2002". Major League Soccer. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- "Formatting MLS, Part 4: Global Tradition, American Appeal". Waldlichtung. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Tim Howard club career". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Top 5 Americans in the Premier League". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Jason Kreis still has something to prove". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Real Salt Lake vs. Chivas USA - Expansion rivalry a history lesson". RSL Soapbox. September 28, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Quakes History". San Jose Earthquakes. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS 101: MLS Expansion Draft and Allocation Money". Portland Timbers. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- ""Has The "Beckham Rule" Worked For MLS?"". Forbes. August 5, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Lalas, Greg (April 17, 2007). "Foreign exchange program". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
- "A brief guide to Major League Soccer". The Boot Room. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "New York Red Bulls sign international star Thierry Henry". New York Red Bulls. July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
- "Atlanta expansion signifies changing landscape ahead for Major League Soccer". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Real Salt Lake: Monterrey wins CONCACAF Champions League, 3-2 on aggregate". DeseretNews.com. April 27, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Spurs striker Robbie Keane joins MLS side LA Galaxy". BBC Sport. August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "MLS steadily builds toward goal of profitability". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Fire tie Impact in MLS opener". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 17, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Major League Soccer announces New York expansion team: New York City Football Club". Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- "MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER AWARDS EXPANSION TEAM TO ORLANDO". orlandocitysoccer.com. Orlando City Soccer Club. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- "Retention funds explained: MLS reveals list of 14 players like Graham Zusi re-signed under initiative". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- """FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo waits on US internationals: "More players are coming"""". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "The Throw-In: Enjoy MLS in 2014, because this league will never be the same again". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS equals MLB in popularity with kids". ESPNFC.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- ""2013 poll results: MLS equal to MLB in "avid interest" popularity among adolescents - SIDELINE"". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer names Atlanta as 22nd franchise, set for 2017 debut | MLSsoccer.com". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- "De George: New clubs raising the stakes in MLS". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "USMNT 0, Germany 1, FIFA World Cup, Group G Match Recap". MLSsoccer.com MatchCenter. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Ben Bromley (September 18, 2014). "Major League Soccer announces new logo as part of MLS NEXT". SB Nation. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "MLS announces new strategy for Los Angeles market, 2015 conference alignment". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- "MLS Commissioner Don Garber: Minneapolis represents everything that is spurring growth of MLS". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- "2011 MLS Roster Rules". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- PA Sports. "MLS considers expanding to Montreal". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Galarcep, Ives (August 1, 2013). "Garber: MLS to expand to 24 teams by 2020". Soccer By Ives.
- "MLS Trophies - By Trophy". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS guide: Learn more about Orlando's new pro league". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Derby or Rivalry in MLS?". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS announces new strategy for Los Angeles market, 2015 conference alignment". mlssoccer.com. October 27, 2014.
MLS_Commissioner_Don_Garber_2015was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Cite error: The named reference
- "Expansion L.A. soccer team plans new stadium on Sports Arena site", LATimes.com, May 18, 2015.
- Firchau, Nick (February 5, 2014). "David Beckham exercises MLS expansion option on future Miami franchise". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "Roundtable: Is MLS Single Entity Here To Stay?". Hot Time In Old Town. February 28, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "About Major League Soccer | PRESS BOX". Pressbox.mlssoccer.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
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.
- Los Angeles Times, "MLS Looks Way Down the Field", March 29, 2006.
- "Major League Soccer Announces Elimination of Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion for 2002 Season". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS' Don Garber Talks State Of The League With The Daily". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer's Billionaire Owners". Forbes. November 20, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- New York Times, "Red Bull Is New Owner, and Name, of MetroStars", March 10, 2006.
- "Chicago Fire sold to Andell Holdings". Chicago Fire Media Relations. September 6, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer assumes ownership of Chivas USA". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Forbes, "Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Teams", November 20, 2013.
- "Dear Fans and Friends". CDChivasUSA.com. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- "Major League Soccer awards new team to Los Angeles". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- SBNation.com, "MLS player salary release illustrates gains of the middle-class", May 16, 2013.
- Soccerlens, "Finance in English Football: Wage Disparities Between the Divisions", April 30, 2012.
- "Dutch professional football continues financial improvement". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS confident new CBA will be done in time for March 6 season start", ESPN FC, January 7, 2015.
- 2015 MLS Player Rules and Regulations Summary, MLS Press Box. Retrieved May 1 2015.
- "Roster Rules and Regulations". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS remains most diverse professional sports league in North America". LA Galaxy. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
- Martin, Pat (May 4, 2007). "MLS comes out of the gates strong in '07". monstersandcritics.com. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
- Forbes, "Has The "Beckham Rule" Worked For MLS?", August 5, 2012.
- "A Look At Income Inequality in MLS". Empire of Soccer. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "2014 MLS Salaries Visualized". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "The great allocation money chase", The Philly Soccer Page, June 26, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- "US U-20 players headline 2006 class". Soccernet.espn.go.com. January 11, 2006. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- "MLS launches youth development initiative". espnfc.com. November 10, 2006.
- Bell, Jack (June 5, 2008). "Spanish Soccer Team Strikes Deal for Altidore". United States: New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "U.S. Soccer Development Academy 2014-2015". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- MLSsoccer.com, "Commissioner reveals details of Reserve Division", November 16, 2010.
- "MLS, USL Pro reach deal on restructured Reserve League". www.mlssoccer.com. January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
- New York Times, "M.L.S. Continues to Bolster Growing Brand With New Stadium in Houston", May 12, 2012.
- Sports Business Journal, "MLS club presidents on the season ahead", March 4, 2013.
- Sports Business Journal, "Soccer's visionary: Phil Anschutz", June 5, 2006.
- "StubHub Center - About". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Executives". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Rio Tinto Stadium Set To Open". CONNECTICUT SPORTS LAW. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "About Major League Soccer". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Opinion: Is NYC FC's stadium deal a black eye for MLS?". Once A Metro. April 22, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Portland Timbers, Jeld-Wen joined at the right time on stadium naming rights". OregonLive.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Sporting Kansas City's Sporting Park will serve as host of MLS Cup". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "The State of Soccer in Montreal". Last Word On Sports. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "San Jose Earthquakes Stadium Construction Delayed Again; Scheduled to Open for 2015 Season". Business of Soccer. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Orlando Sentinel, Architects, "Dyer and Lions to brainstorm ideas for MLS stadium design", January 7, 2014.
- Goff, Steven (December 17, 2014), D.C. United stadium approval improves its playing field in MLS in many ways, The Washington Post
- Boston Globe,"Kraft family looks to build soccer stadium in Boston". November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- "Vancouver Whitecaps - History". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Charles Bennett. "How to Make the CFL USA Work This Time and 15 Places Where It Could Thrive". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "NBC to end MLS deal in 2015; ESPN, Fox pay $70 million per year for new rights package". The Goalkeeper. Philly.com. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- John McDuling (May 12, 2014). "Here's more evidence that Americans are growing fond of soccer". Quartz. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- "MLS's big play". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "M.L.S. and TV Networks Reach Deal to Set Weekly Slots for Games". New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
- "ESPN, Fox and Univision promise new emphasis to domestic game, MLS in landmark eight-year TV deal". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
- "Business Off The Pitch: Breakdown of Major League Soccer's Broadcast Partners". Goal.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS, NBC announce three-year broadcast deal". MLSsoccer.com. August 10, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- Jonathan Tannenwald (November 29, 2012). "Analyzing NBC's ratings in its first season of broadcasting Major League Soccer". Philly.com. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- TSN (February 14, 2011). "TSN Becomes Official Broadcaster of MLS in Canada with Landmark Six-Year Deal". Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- GolTV (Canada). "GolTV Canada Matches for March 11–17, 2011" (PDF). Retrieved March 11, 2011. (lists carriage of a Los Angeles vs. Seattle MLS game)
- Delia-Lavictoire, Yvan (July 14, 2011). "Impact sign multimedia deal, name TVA Sports broadcaster". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- "Every Game, All Season Long: MLS ON TSN Kicks Off its Complete Coverage of Vancouver Whitecaps FC This Saturday". Bell Media PR. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- "TSN to broadcast all Whitecaps FC games beginning in 2014". TSN.ca. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "MLS in 'eight-figure deal' for foreign TV rights". Sports Illustrated (Goal.com). December 23, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- Mickle, Tripp (December 22, 2008). "MLS sells international TV rights to MP & Silva". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "ESPN to show MLS, European soccer in Britain". Associated Press. July 28, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2014. – via Highbeam (subscription required)
- Parker, Robin (July 28, 2009). "ESPN channel takes shape with international fixtures". Broadcast Now. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- "SKY SPORTS TO BROADCAST MLS MATCHES IN THE UK", Soccer By Ives, February 25, 2015.
- Cushnan, David. "Eurosport signs four-year deal to broadcast MLS". sportspromedia.com. SportsPro. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
- "Football Manager signs with MLS". Sports Interactive. May 13, 2004. Archived from the original on May 28, 2004. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- McCarthy, Jack (January 17, 2012). "Feeling their oats: Fire get jersey sponsorship deal with Quaker". Chicago Tribune.
- "Rapids partner with Transamerica for major jersey sponsorship". www.ColoradoRapids.com. March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- McCarthy, Jack (February 15, 2012). "Crew partner with Barbasol as new jersey sponsor". MLS. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- "Leidos becomes official sponsor of D.C. United". dcunited.com. February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "FC Dallas signs multi-year, multi-million dollar jersey deal with AdvoCare". MLS. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Houston Dynamo find shared business, community values with new jersey sponsor BHP Billiton". MLS. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "Herbalife Renews Sponsorship With MLS Galaxy For A Record 10 Years, $44M". Sports Business Daily. March 16, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- "BMO sign multi-million deal with Montreal Impact". June 15, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- "UnitedHealthcare, New England Revolution Announce Partnership". Businesswire.com. April 22, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "New York City Football Club Takes Flight with Etihad Airways Partnership". New York City FC. November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Orlando City locks in Orlando Health as healthcare partner and jersey sponsor for MLS". mynews13.com. November 18, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "Union soccer team wins sponsorship from Bimbo bakery". Philly.com. January 11, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian (September 2, 2010). "Timbers announce Alaska Airlines as sponsor for MLS jerseys". Oregonlive.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "Real Salt Lake signs one of top MLS jersey deals". Sports Business Journal. October 28, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- "Sounders FC gets big-name sponsor for MLS team: Microsoft and Xbox 360 Live". Associated Press. May 29, 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2014. – via Highbeam (subscription required)
- "Sporting KC sign shirt sponsor deal with Ivy Funds". Sbnation.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "Toronto FC keeps bank's name on jerseys". Sports Business Journal. October 28, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- "Vancouver Whitecaps secure major shirt sponsorship". Sportspromedia.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "ESPN, MLS Reach Eight-Year TV Deal That Includes Rights Fees". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS agrees golden deal with MP & Silva - Sports Broadcast news - Soccer". SportsPro Media. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- "MP & Silva extends MLS deal - Sports Broadcast news - Soccer North America". SportsPro Media. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Weinbach, John (September 28, 2006). "Major League Soccer to sell ad space on jerseys". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
- Steve Wartenberg. "Crew catching up financially to rest of MLS". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Goff, Steven (May 6, 2008). "United Takes Volkswagen Out for a Spin". Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- Longman, Jere (July 8, 2007). "Beckham Arrives to Find a Sport Thriving in Its Own Way". New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
- Schwartz, Peter J.; Badenhausen, Kurt (September 9, 2008). "Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Teams". Forbes.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "Sounders FC's success resonates globally". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Competition Rules and Regulations". MLSsoccer.com. March 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- "'Game First' initiatives enhance on-field product". Major League Soccer Communications. April 2, 2007. Archived from the original on April 26, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
- "MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Davies for dive vs. RSL". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "Toye: Fans are delighted the old NASL names, Sounders, Timbers, Whitecaps and Quakes were saved". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Dure, Beau (2010). Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer. Dulles, Virginia: Potomac Books. pp. 21–23. ISBN 978-1-59797-509-4.
- "Will the Kansas City Wizards become Sporting Kansas City?". Kansas City Business Journal. November 16, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- "MLS Announces 2013 Awards Finalists". Retrieved September 20, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Major League Soccer.|
|Division 1 Soccer League in the United States