[MLS SPOTLIGHT]MLS commissioner Don Garber said the moves by Toronto FC to sign Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe in deals combining close to $100 million was part of MLS's effort to make it a "league of choice" for players and fans in face of lots of competition.
"It's bold statement that Toronto FC wants to rebuild its fan base," Garber said of the deals in remarks to reporters at Thursday's SuperDraft.
Bradley's return follows that of Clint Dempsey to Seattle last summer. He said U.S. national team players should view MLS as a "league of priority."
He said it was important that the league take chances.
"We'll take the risk of bold moves," he said.
Amid reports that the MLS league office had rejected the terms of a deal to bring Maurice Edu to Philadelphia, Garber was roundly booed by Philly supporters at Thursday's SuperDraft.
"I'll take it," said Garber.
Garber said a deal had to make sense for everyone.
"We reject deals every day," he said.
On other topics ...
-- League losses.With impending labor negotiations, Garber said the recent heavy spending should not be taken as a sign that MLS is making lots of money. He said the league was collectively losing $75 million-$100 million and it had not changed in recent years. What had changed, he said, was what the money being invested in the deal that offset rising revenues.
-- New television deal.Garber termed "crazy" reports that a finalized TV deal with ESPN and Fox for the English-language rights would be announced this week. "We're not ready to a finalize a deal," he said. "We are not close to finalizing a deal."
-- Camilo exit.Garber said a deal -- believed to be for a fee of slightly more than $2 million -- would take place for Brazilian Camilo, MLS's leading scorer in 2013 with 22 goals, to be transferred from Vancouver to Veracruz. He said there was no truth to stories that the Camilo controversy was a test of the validity of the MLS option clauses, adding that MLS had the backing of FIFA.
-- Miami expansion team. Garber said he met with the Team Beckham expansion group in Miami, and he expected an announcement in the next 30 days, but he added that was a lot of work to do.