Friday, August 04, 2006

MLS History: State of the League Address

Previous Addresses

2005 (Unable to find a transcript. Here's the audio.)

I'm also unable to find the first three on the internet.

So what is the State of the League address? Just what it sounds like. Picture the State of the Union, except for soccer. It's held every year by the commissioner right before the all star game, on the day before. It's mostly for the media who may not pay attention to soccer all year round. Today in Chicago/Bridgeview, Don Garber will go over the past year's accomplishments, and talk about a few things he hopes to accomplish in the future.

Stan Collins from Bigsoccer had a great post last year on what it's all about:

At any rate, what we're seeing in those addresses is not shocking revelations, because he's not mainly talking to us, but the media, for the purpose of emphasizing (an admittedly spinned version of) events that mark the league's progress. Basically, don't expect much more than hints about what we might do next, and a whole lot of talk about what we've just done. (In fact, IIRC, it seems more likely that we'll let any bombshell announcements get out in the media first so that Garber can then exult over them in the SotL.) For what it is, it basically works. I've seen a lot of this stuff repeated in the media, generating a more successful conception of this league.

Selected past quotes

(all except first from Garber)

1999: Not as impressive as it sounded

"We are in our fourth season, and I daresay we are miles - light years - ahead of where the other major professional sports leagues of this country were at that stage.

-Doug Logan

2001: There's only one rule...

It's been a year since we met in Columbus and conducted our annual All-Star Press Conference. I stated then and prior to the start of our 6th season that Major League Soccer had one universal goal in 2001: To make progress in all areas of our business.

2001: Pay attention, Bigsoccer faithful

I've stated many times, that when we talk about progress our focus is on steady and sustainable growth. There are no "lightning-in-a-bottle" solutions that will suddenly pack our stadiums, explode television ratings, or guarantee a U.S. victory in the World Cup.

Old Expansion possibilities


We will expand by two teams by 2002. We are targeting a second team in the New York Tri-state area as well as a second team, likely in either Philadelphia or Atlanta.

We are in active discussions with potential investors for Tampa and Dallas, as well as potential expansion in Houston, Seattle, Rochester, and Sacramento for expansion in 2004.


We are currently engaged in discussions with interested groups in New York, the Philadelphia area, Houston, Rochester, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Seattle, Atlanta, Louisville and the Carolinas.


This weekend, we have a contingent of interested investors joining us from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cleveland, Ohio. In the past months, we have visited several new potential new MLS markets, including Toronto, Detroit, and San Antonio. We will not be expanding the League in 2003. We are hopeful to expand in 2004, though we have no specific dates in place.

Just in case you aren't tired of laughing about this


The MetroStars and Chicago Fire are also making progress (on soccer specific stadiums).


...the MetroStars are in extensive discussions with the State of New Jersey and Hudson County for a soccer-specific stadium and community center in the City of Harrison.


In New Jersey, we are awaiting final state senate approval for the state, county and private funding package for a new stadium for the MetroStars. That vote will take place in September and we are very encouraged by the support we have received from the Governor and other public officials.


I want to discuss some great stadium news we released a few weeks ago. We’re excited about finalizing our agreement with the city of Harrison, New Jersey, regarding a new stadium for the MetroStars. The public funding for that project has been unanimously approved by the Harrison Town Council. The last step remains for the Hudson County and the City of Harrison to float bonds to the public later this year. We expect to break ground on the new facility in fall, 2004 and we are hopeful the MetroStars will play in a new stadium in 2006.

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