POWERED BY

Major League Soccer

Report: MLS rejected $4 billion rights deal involving pro/rel from Miami FC owner

Big-spending Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva won’t be owning a team in MLS any time soon, he has reportedly put together a multi-billion dollar offer for the league’s global and domestic media rights. An offer that MLS rejected.

According to the Sports Business Journal, Silva offered MLS a deal worth $4 billion surrounding the league’s domestic and global media rights. The proposal would’ve been for 10 years and it would’ve given Silva’s company the rights to distribute the league’s media rights worldwide. It was also contingent on the fact that MLS moves to promotion/relegation.

The proposed deal would have run for 10 years starting in 2023, after the league’s current contract with ESPN, Fox and Univision concluded.

MLS executive vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche told ESPN FC that the league is not interested with engaging in talks with Silva and his partners, and is more importantly unable to do so contractually.

“As was stated to Mr. Silva both in person and in a subsequent letter, Major League Soccer is prohibited contractually from engaging in discussions about our media rights with other distributors,” Courtemanche said. “We are not in a position, nor are we interested, in engaging with Mr. Silva on his proposal.”

Silva’s intentions cover many areas as his company would prosper from the proposed deal and it would’ve opened the door for Miami FC to have a chance at securing a spot in MLS. Currently, MLS is involved with David Beckham’s project to bring an expansion team to MLS.

26 comments
  • TheFrenchOne

    Seems like there may be more to this than is being reported. Besides, do you really want to partner with the guy who thought buying into NASL was a sound business investment?

    Like

    • bob

      Miami FC is one of the better run lower division clubs.
      And buying into lower division soccer right now is a very sound business investment. Look at FC cinch as well.

      Like

    • AzTeXan

      A PR stunt wrapped in a surprise attack. Silva asked for the meeting knowing he was going to bring up pro/rel and make an offer they couldn’t consider and didn’t mention it. Garber should send him an invoice for the meeting for wasting his time.

      Like

  • I scored three goals in one game

    It could have been a bogus offer just to put networks on notice that it might be beneficial to at least look at the thought of going to pro/reg. I mean if someone offers that kind of money they should at least think about it right

    Like

    • Old School

      I agree with that assessment.

      Even as a strong supporter of wanting to see it instituted, the only way Pro/Rel happens is if the money leads it in that direction. Either way, both sides can see this will never happen if Garber is within office, and I can’t wait for the day Mr. 2022 is out.

      Like

  • davebrett99

    I can’t read the Sports Business Journal article because it is behind a paywall. But it sounds like MLS didn’t reject this offer; they didn’t even consider it. (The first paragraph of the Sports Business Journal article says that MLS “quietly rebuffed” it.) Although I don’t blame Soccer By Ives for using the word reject in the headline. Reject is a lot shorter than “refuses to consider.”

    Any rich person can throw out a huge number like 4 billion just to bring attention to himself. That doesn’t mean he would actually spend that much money, or that he has access to that amount of credit.

    Like

  • Mac

    Pro/Rel needs to happen, but Garber never allow it. USSF and Garber don’t want to upset the status quo of mediocrity.

    Like

    • SilverRey

      Pro/Rel may happen one day in MLS – we are certainly starting to build up the infrastructure for it with the amount of teams that we have in MLS & USL (sorry NASL you don’t count for this yet) – but it’s not going to happen in the lifetime of Silva’s proposed contract.

      Like

  • TK

    LOL. 4 billion over ten years for 28 teams isn’t massive. Especially losing SUM rights for current owners. Another cheap stunt by Silva, like his Deloitte report, where he is trying to pull a Cosmos. I want in, I just don’t want to pay my way in like everyone else did. Take your 4 billion and start a rival league and kick MLS’s ass….oh wait, you really don’t have it and are basing it off of shady third party in the future rights. LOL. Hardly a deal for MLS. The little kids and ignorant will eat it up as always….any self respecting businessman would laugh in their faces, like I am sure MLS did.

    Like

    • bob

      4 billion over 10 years is $400 million a year. Between espn , fox and Univision MLS currently takes in $90 million a year.

      You were saying?

      Like

      • AzTeXan

        Per tweet below, 20% would go to lower divisions, so the net offer to MLS was $3.2B with an unknown amount of the 20% going to the NASL and therefore Silva. Of course continuing to expand is pointless once pro/rel is implemented, so you need to include the opportunity cost of any expansion fees lost, which by 2023 could easily to double to $300M or higher. Not expanding by 3-4 teams could easily drop the net $$ to MLS to about $2B or $200M/yr. That only 2X the $90 they’re getting. Assuming it’s even a real offer from Silva, it may not be much higher than what MLS could get in 2023 anyways.

        Like

    • SilverRey

      It’s not just for the MLS teams though, that $4bil would be spread throughout the teams in all divisions.

      Like

      • bob

        That’s even better. That amount of $ for our lower divisions is the best thing for development of soccer in this country.

        Like

  • TK

    LO…it’s Garber’s fault. Garber has nothing to do with pro/rel. He does what the owners tell him.
    The owners decide. The ignorance is astounding. It’s why JK was able to get away with what he did. My goodness are fans here truly dumb.

    Like

  • bob

    Shame on Garber. What an absolute clown. This would be tremendous for US soccer

    Like

    • bryan

      how is this on him? he, for one, does not control P/R…USSF does. Further, he is legally prevented from engaging. so what do you expect?!

      Like

  • Anon

    I highly doubt ESPN and Fox are really hoping for the chance that NY and LA get replaced by Rochester and Oklahoma City. Pro rel makes little business sense for anybody other than the owners of the lower league teams. I just don’t get the obsession with it. Wouldn’t relaxing the salary cap, getting rid of the crazy player acquisition rules and doing away with the single entity structure all do a lot more to improve the product?

    Like

    • bob

      Why does the rest of the football world use pro/rel then if it’s such a stupid idea?

      Like

      • whammmm

        It isn’t a stupid idea. It is a great idea, it just isn’t something that can be sustained within MLS/US right now.

        Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    “please liberate the money spenders so we can turn this into some sort of EPL spectacle where a handful of teams compete for silverware every year and the rest try to stay up”

    the level of play has steadily improved just from when my Dynamo started 11 years ago, much less the beginning. But the most important bit is the league is healthy and going strong 23 years in. that’s longer than NASL which did more like you say.

    European financial fair play is actually imitating us. funny when people say we should imitate Europe.

    Like

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

      This idea doesn’t make sense in a salary capped league that is quickly expanding. Guarantee you see the collapse of many clubs who are still in relative infancy if they were relegated. If you want chaos then pro/rel is for you. I like pro/rel in theory, but it really doesn’t fit with MLS right now. MLS is growing in popularity year over year and solidifying itself in very important markets for continued growth. Can you imagine LAFC etc. getting relegated year 1 or 2? its a stupid idea

      Like

  • Felix

    This story seems strange to me – that a media rights company would offer 4 billion USD for MLS exclusive media rights. Is it really worth that much with pro/rel thrown into the deal?
    Also, that MLS would turn it down forthright like that over technicalities.

    I wonder if this was floated to the media so the Miami FC group can try and ‘outshine’ Beckham’s Miami bid.

    Like

  • Scott e Dio93

    Pro/Rel is too soon for MLS, especially when some MLS teams have not made a profit yet or some MLS owners barely make a dime on their investment.

    I will like MLS stop first on expansion of MLS teams & secure a number of MLS teams (maybe like 24 or 28) for five years, & later pro/rel with NASL or USL (with div. 2 or div. 3).

    Like

  • Dennis

    If MLS wanted pro/reg, it would expand to about 32 teams (two divisions of 16 each) by adding the winning team from a lower league each year until that was achieved. Then have a playoff of 4 teams in each div at the bottom and top to see who gets relegated and who plays in a championship game (the US does love it final games).

    But of course, that will not happen as long as the MLS owners rule the league.

    Like

  • Adam M.

    Pro/rel battles are exciting, but pro/rel is essentially irrelevant at the top level of the game. The Big European clubs are never in any jeopardy of being relegated, and the rest almost never win anything. Clubs already have an incentive to develop players so they can make money selling them, and players already have the incentive to be better so they can make more money (especially poorly paid players in a weaker league fighting for their jobs as professionals). Pro/rel for MLS advocates see a lower level of play in MLS and figure they can crib together a team that competes its way into the league if there is relegation. That’s fine, and maybe even true, but its not a reason to upend a business model that has been successfully growing the sport here for two decades. If you want your team to be promoted, go support your local team in large numbers and encourage your ownership to build a stadium with their own money. MLS has plenty or room to expand. if you want your MLS team to do better, do whatever fans of bad baseball, football and hockey teams have been doing for decades.

    Like

Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer