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Don Garber to remain MLS commissioner until at least 2023

Former NFL executive retains soccer league’s top job for further five years.

15 February 2019 Michael Long

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Major League Soccer (MLS) has extended its commissioner Don Garber’s contract for a further five years, keeping him in the league’s top job until at least the end of the 2023 season.

Garber, 61, assumed the post in August 1999, three years after the formation of MLS, and has since overseen a transformative period of expansion in which the league has more than doubled in size – from 12 to 27 clubs.

Financial terms of Garber’s new contract, which was approved by the MLS board of governors this week, have not been disclosed. His previous deal, reportedly worth as much as US$5 million annually, expired at the end of last season.

Garber, who was inducted into the USA’s National Soccer Hall of Fame last year, will also remain chief executive of Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the league’s commercial arm, as well as serving on US Soccer’s board of directors.

A former National Football League (NFL) executive, Garber has played a pivotal role in putting soccer in North America on the map. During his tenure, MLS has expanded its footprint by bringing in 25 new team owners and developing 19 soccer stadiums across the United States and Canada.

The recently concluded 2018 season was another record-breaking year for the league, delivering 26 million gross viewers across all US networks, marking a six per cent climb on 2017 and a 39 per cent increase over the past four years.

Attendances in the league are also the highest they have ever been, with the average ticket revenue per game up nearly ten per cent in 2018 compared to the previous campaign.

A wide-ranging profile interview with Garber appears in the upcoming Issue 104 of SportsPro magazine. Subscribe today here.

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