In an exclusive interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, MLS Commissioner Don Garber casts a calm figure, discussing everything from David Beckham to the improvement of the product on the field to the ultimate direction of the league. So far, he says, the formula is working: broadcast deals are coming the league's way, so are internationally renowned players and new cities interested in the league's expansion plans. In regards to the latter, Garber specifically mentioned negotiations with groups in San Diego and other parts of California, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Atlanta.
Garber adds that a "big move for us" was to win the Thursday night slot on ESPN2. It's important for MLS to have an established primetime slot, he said, because it helps promote the league. "We're hopeful that this prime-time window will be one that we'll have for many, many years." Broadcast deals, because of their monetary and promotional value, are a crucial component of a league's growth, Garber says, as are high-profile player acquisitions like David Beckham. But the fact is, he says, even "if we do nothing, we'll continue to grow," because tomorrow's consumers are growing up with a professional soccer league.