“I’m confident that somebody who’s got a kid that’s playing in MLS Next is going to be able to watch their kid play in a very unique and exciting offering,” he said.
Garber touched on many other areas during Tuesday’s address:
Las Vegas is the front-runner to become the 30th team. It wouldn’t start until at least 2024. The league hopes to announce the team next year. The league is also having discussions with groups in Phoenix and San Diego. Charlotte is joining in 2022 and St. Louis in 2023.
Charlotte is ahead of the season-ticket sales pace set by Atlanta United in its first season. Charlotte recently passed 15,000 in season ticket sales. Atlanta United capped it season ticket sales at 30,000 in its first season because it opened by playing at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium before moving to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Charlottealso is attempting to break Atlanta United’s single-game attendance mark for its franchise-opening game against the L.A. Galaxy on March 5. Atlanta United set the record of 72,548 against the L.A. Galaxy at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Aug. 3, 2019.
Garber doesn’t support ongoing discussions to hold the World Cup every two years, instead of every four years. He said he feels it dilutes the product.
The MLS Under-22 Initiative started last year resulted in more than 40 players being signed. Atlanta United signed three under the initiative: Santiago Sosa, Franco Ibarra and Erik Lopez. The Under-22 Initiative allows teams to purchase players who are 22 years old or younger on a reduced charge to a club’s salary budget.
Garber described the new Leagues Cup, which will feature all of the MLS teams and all of the teams from LIGA MX in 2023, as “March Madness meeting the World Cup.”
MLS announced an update to its league-wide diversity hiring policy Tuesday. Teams are required that the finalist pool for an open sporting position includes two or more non-white candidates, one of whom must be Black. Teams that fail to abide could be fined as much as $50,000 for first offenses, $100,000 fines for second offenses, and more than $100,000 for third offenses or more.