Investors have paid $325m for a place in MLS. But for how much longer?

The fortunes handed out for a spot in the league have always been based on the future worth of soccer in North America. But Covid-19 may cause some to reassess

2023 was slated to be Sacramento Republic’s expansion year in Major League Soccer. After long and protracted negotiations to secure a franchise, it was provisionally announced in October 2019 that California’s capital city had been awarded a spot in the league. That may be the closest Sacramento ever gets to MLS, though, with billionaire Ron Burkle pulling out as lead investor amid the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. The club’s entry to MLS is now on hiatus.

According to commissioner Don Garber, MLS lost close to $1bn in revenue over 2020. “The losses have been dramatic,” he told reporters in December. “Clubs are going to have to manage their economics as diligently as possible.” Even more striking was that Garber, just a few months later, claimed MLS could lose close to the same figure in 2021.

Related: A team by any other name: why are MLS clubs so keen on rebrands?

Continue reading...