- This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.
- Orlando could host all 26 MLS teams for up to two months.
Major League Soccer may take up Gov. DeSantis’s invitation and head to Orlando to resume its season. Under a proposal from the league, all 26 MLS teams would travel to and begin training in the city by June 1, with games beginning on June 22. Four or five weeks of closed-doors games and a tournament would follow, mostly played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Roughly 1,000 players, coaches, and staff would be housed at one of the nearby resorts, and no families would be permitted.
While a return to play might help boost MLS television ratings – ESPN is one of the league’s rightsholders – it would significantly impact the league’s revenues. Compared to other stick and ball leagues with drastically larger media rights deals, a vast majority of MLS’s overall revenue comes directly from game days, such as tickets, suite sales, parking, and concessions.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether players will agree to the plan, in part due to safety and logistical hurdles of staging such an event after months of not playing. MLS is also proposing a uniform 20% pay cut for all players as a result of the pandemic.