Saturday, November 17, 2007

Major League Skinflint

The MLS Cup Final—always a highlight of the global soccer calendar—is tomorrow, and so league commissar Don Garber is making the media rounds. In this interview with Jack Bell of the New York Times, Garber addresses a bunch of different issues. He is at his most charmingly ruthless on the subject of player salaries; while a handful of MLS players make big money, most are paid more like entry-level corporate drones, and many could almost certainly earn more tending bar somewhere. I consider it a scandal—it's practically immoral to ask grown men to risk their physical health and forestall other career prospects for $24,000 a year. (While, meanwhile, hyping your league as the next big thing in American sports...naturally.)

Given a chance to address this fundamental inequity, Garber has this to say:

"M.L.S. could be profitable today if spent less money on players."

That might be true, but then again if it spent any less on players than it already does, it would find itself on roughly the same level as my own Albina-Going Unicorns, pride of Portland Futsal's Third Division. (We are available, by the way, Commissioner.)

Then, Garbster adds:

"Our current CBA expires at the end of the ‘09 season. You will see us saying less and less about finances."

Well, that's nice. Gotta love transparency.

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