The Business of Major League Soccer (MLS)
Commercially speaking, Major League Soccer (MLS) has become one of the hottest soccer leagues worldwide. Investors from the US, Canada and elsewhere (such as British soccer star David Beckham) are flocking to the league to get a share of the lucrative and fast-growing North American soccer market, and vying to win the hearts, minds and purses of Latino, millennial and female sports fans alike.

Major League Soccer (MLS) will imminently become one of the world’s top 10 soccer leagues by average revenue per team, according to this exclusive new Sportcal report.

MLS teams were collectively losing $100m a year as recently as four years ago and remained in the red in 2015. But data obtained by Sportcal and detailed in ‘The Business of MLS’, indicates the league has moved into profitability.

Team revenues now average around $32m and rising. Crucially this includes a share of the annual surplus from the central funds of the now-profitable MLS - with substantial increases in the pipeline.

The ‘Big 5’ European top divisions stand clear as the world’s richest by average revenue per club, with gross revenues respectively in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France of $331m, $194m, $179m, $130m and $103m. 

In this report, Sportcal explores data gathered from MLS and its teams, as well as publicly available sources and its own estimates, to provide an informed and forensic overview of the business of MLS.

The report provides answers to key questions, including:

1.      What is the commercial value of MLS?
2.      Is MLS profitable?
3.      How much does a typical MLS team make?
4.      How does MLS and its teams compare to other soccer leagues and US sports leagues in the field of media, sponsorship, attendance and matchday?

5.      Where is MLS heading – what can we try to say about its future?

1. Introduction

  • The history of MLS
  • The structure of MLS
  • The value of MLS
  • The business of MLS

2. Media

  • Overview
  • Distribution  and Production
  • Domestic Broadcast
  • International Broadcast
  • Local Broadcast
  • Revenue
  • Audience
  • Cross-competition comparison

3. Sponsorship & other commercial income

  • Overview
  • Central sponsorship
  • Team sponsorship
  • Cross-competition comparisons

4. Match Day & Venue

  • Stadium utilisation
  • Stadium revenue
  • Attendance history
  • Cross-competition comparison 

5. Social value

  • Overview
  • MLS programmes and initiatives
  • Team community programmes 

6. Sporting

  • Overview
  • The fact files of the 23 MLS teams 

7. Prospects

  • Overview
  • Eight scenarios for the future 

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