Top Stories

Garber signs new contract to remain MLS commissioner


Don Garber is going to be around for quite a bit longer.

The commissioner signed a new five-year contract that will keep him in charge if MLS until the end of the 2023 season.

Garber’s previous contract ran out after last season, but there was little doubt that he would re-sign. Reports indicate that the framework of the deal was complete in December’s Board of Governors meetings and it was formalized this month.

Garber was the senior vice president/managing director of NFL International before he took over for Doug Logan as commissioner in 1999. His responsibilities there included growing the league in international markets, where it was little more than a niche sport.

His experience there fit MLS well. When the league stood at 12 teams and cut itself to 10 less than two years after he took over. That would more or less sum up the bad news under his tenure, however. Since that time the league has grown to 24 teams with three more set to come on in the next couple years. One more expansion slot is planned, but yet to be awarded.

The league has grown more than just in terms of size, as well. Garber has also overseen massive financial growth. The average value of a franchise has grown over 600% in just the last 11 years. The average franchise was worth just $37 million in 2008 compared to $240 million today.

He’s led the league through a time period that has seen 19 soccer specific stadiums get built with several more on the way.

He’s expanded the league’s international reach to the point where games are broadcast in 170 countries.

Garber will be 66 when the deal is over and there is speculation that he will retire when it runs out.


  1. Bruce Arena has taken little to no responsibility for failing to qualify don’t you think if Sum/MLS was forcing line up decisions that he would have thrown them under the bus too?

  2. Garber has done very well by MLS, unbelievably well. He deserves a ton of credit for that. The single entity, slow growing plan is now come to fruition and the league looks like it is about to really blossom. However, this continuation as the CEO of SUM is a really bad look. The conflicts of interest are blatant and obvious, and it is a sign of how small the soccer journalism world is that this hasn’t been talked about more. It’s way past time that there is a complete break between our league and our national team. If Garber wants MLS players on the USMNT, then he needs to convince his teams to train, grow, and PLAY our American players. Until then, and forever more, I want the absolute best American players playing for the USMNT, and until MLS starts playing more young Americans then those players will be coming from clubs in Europe.

      • Don, the point is that in the current setup, the MLS commissioner has the power to exert heavy influence over all decisions involving the USMNT. It’s been well established that what is best for MLS is not always best for the USMNT, and vice versa. Now all American soccer fans should want both MLS and US Soccer to do well, and these organizations should work together when possible, but I don’t think it’s good for either to have the USMNT being subservient to MLS. And when the head coach and GM of the USMNT answer to a Board that includes the MLS commissioner, then it is. If you can’t see that then you are either blind or work for MLS.

  3. Nice. Once again MLS making a good signing.
    I realize there are those that don’t like him.
    History is already showing them to be wrong in the hatred. If you have said when the Sounders joined for around $30 million, that a decade later, that the average franchise would be 8x that. No one would have said that. Not one. The whiners remember said that MLS would go bankrupt. On this site, AFTER the Sounders joined.
    In addition to the money, which is important and still lacking. The soccer. A guy going to Bayern a few years removed from a youth team…which you have to feel is just getting started.
    Going to be a very interesting 5 years, but the only real question is how fast will it grow.
    Exploding fast or just really fast.

    • its not about MLS in itself, from my understanding he is also CEO of SUM. which has good control over USsocccer. He has way too much power and way too much conflict of interest and it would be best if he only was just the commissioner of MLS. For world cup 2022, we might not get the best squad because Garber will mandate to Flynn, ” x percentage must come from MLS”


Leave a Comment