Don Garber to remain MLS commissioner with extended contract

Don Garber, who has led Major League Soccer for the last two decades will extend his stay in the job to 2023 according to reporting by ESPN. Garber will also continue in his role as the chief executive of the league’s highly-successful marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing.

Garber took over MLS in 1999 at a time of financial instability. After folding two Florida-based clubs in 2001 and reducing the league’s membership to ten, the league began growing again in 2005. Today MLS has 27 clubs and will award an additional expansion franchise later this year.

In addition to the new clubs, all but a handful of MLS teams play in their own facilities. When Garber took over in 1999, only Columbus Crew had its own dedicated soccer-specific stadium.

Under Garber, MLS franchise values have also exploded. According to Forbes, values of MLS clubs have on average increased six-fold since 2008 and now stand at $240m (€213m).

In Garber’s role as chief executive of Soccer United Marketing he seen an explosion in the rights fees and coverage for the league’s media packages. MLS is now aired in 170 nations across the globe, and the most recent MLS English language TV deal in the United States  with Fox and ESPN is worth $500m over eight seasons. That deal expires in 2022, and Garber will now be around to help negotiate the next set of MLS media packages for the both the domestic market and abroad.