What They're Saying: Jerome de Bontin

"No one wants to do it. It doesn't make money. Compare, for example, 50 million euros for Marseille and 100 million euros for an American franchise. That's night and day. There is a structural problem in MLS, which discourages potential investors. In Europe, the opportunities are much more substantial."

-- Jerome de Bontin, the former Monaco president and New York Red Bulls general manager, asked why he thought former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who bought Marseille, did not invest in an MLS franchise. (La Provence in French)
4 comments about "What They're Saying: Jerome de Bontin".
  1. don Lamb, September 14, 2016 at 8:11 a.m.

    Unless you believe in the rise of American soccer... MLS franchise balues have been growing in value at a ridiculous rate, and that will continue to be the case over the next couple of decades.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, September 14, 2016 at 11:36 a.m.

    I agree don. What I wonder though is how difficult it would be to transition to a promotion-relegation model, assuming we eventually go that route. I believe, along with the continued growth, that the promo-rel model would greatly accelerate pro soccer becoming the pinnacle pro sports league in the country. I would imagine MLS owners wouldn't be in favor, but I can't imagine the majority of soccer fans wouldn't love the drama and the stakes.

  3. Robert Parr, September 14, 2016 at 11:50 a.m.

    This is kind of a silly comment from a very knowledgable soccer person. Things are worth what people pay for them. If Marseille was worth more than $50M euros, they would've gotten more than that. If MLS expansion franchises aren't worth $100M euros, then they won't get it. The vast majority of clubs in Europe lose money (often tons of money), and they are all vulnerable to catastrophic financial loses from a relegation season (or even just a season getting dropped from European competitions). Argue the model all you want, but MLS has not lacked for buyers at each round of expansion with ever-higher fees.

  4. R2 Dad replied, September 14, 2016 at 12:26 p.m.

    Not necessarily. Franchise values in the MLS are $100M because ownership groups are anticipating continued monopoly power/league structure in the market and a capping of the number of MLS teams--artificial scarcity. Marseille, because of their fan base "baggage", stadium, league, relegation exposure, tax disadvantages, table location, player contract exposure, lack of previous investment and a dozen other potential negatives, could be worth much less than $50M. Take away the single entity, and those MLS valuations plunge because the salary cap goes away. MLS has ensured that, for the next 25 years there will be no promotion/relegation because any ownership group that plunks down $100M plus a stadium, will have to recover those costs first.

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