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Home Other Sports Lionel Messi has led the MLS to a "transformational year," according to...

Lionel Messi has led the MLS to a “transformational year,” according to Don Garber

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Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, attributes the league’s “transformational year” to Lionel Messi’s arrival.

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber attributes the league’s “transformational year” to Lionel Messi’s debut and the broadcast agreement with Apple TV, which have generated unparalleled interest. Although Garber predicted that North America would become the “epicenter” of the game due to the World Cup, Copa America, and FIFA Club World Cup, he said that scheduling all of the club and national competitions was challenging. Ahead of Saturday’s MLS Cup final between Columbus Crew and Los Angeles FC, Garber gave his yearly “state of the league” speech and declared that MLS was on the rise in all significant categories.

“Lionel Messi’s legendary soccer career has a lot of alternatives for the next phase. It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of his decision to join MLS, according to Garber.

“Playing in our league are a World Cup champion and an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner. Not only are we a part of the global sports debate, but we’re also one of the biggest stories globally, and most definitely this summer,” continued Garber.

Without disclosing Apple’s total viewership statistics, Garber stated that “more fans watch MLS games here and around the world than ever before” as a result of Messi’s early entry into a new 10-year global streaming arrangement.

With a league record 82,110 spectators attending the Los Angeles FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy derby at the Rose Bowl on July 4, Major League Soccer (MLS) has also seen an increase in attendance at stadiums across the nation.

Incredible Achievement

The new Leagues Cup, staged in conjunction with clubs from Liga MX in Mexico, was praised as a “smashing success” by Garber, who also said that attendance at MLS games had reached a record “nearly 12 million fans” during the year.

Messi and Inter Miami prevailed in the event held in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, and the World Cup-style structure silenced my doubts.

“It exceeded our expectations in every way, and like many other things this year, it was a huge success by all measures. This is just the start. In the upcoming years, this competition will only expand in scope, size, and reach,” he declared.

However, the major tournaments that will be held in the USA in the upcoming years will put a strain on the schedule created by the addition of Leagues Cup games.

The USA will host the Copa America the following year, and the country will also co-host the FIFA Club World Cup, which will feature 32 teams and take place a year ahead of the World Cup itself with Canada and Mexico.

“For the next few years, North America will be the epicenter for the beautiful game,” he declared.

It’s still difficult to fit all the games in while preventing players from burnout, though, because of the Leagues Cup, CONCACAF Champions Cup, US Open Cup, regular season, and playoffs.

According to Garber, MLS would not cease play during Copa America because they could not afford to end the season and would instead need to find “creative” ways to fit it in.

Although MLS typically plays during the CONCACAF Gold Cup regional competition, Garber stated that there was no chance the league will compete during the World Cup.

“Clearly the World Cup in 2026 is a different animal, I can’t imagine we are going to be playing games during that, but the economic impact of that is significant,” he added.

The “Apertura and Clausura” system, which is employed in several South and Central American nations as well as Mexico and divides the season into two distinct halves, is one possibility that Garber mentioned as a potential solution when he stated that the MLS season’s overall structure may need to be adjusted.

Garber added that US Soccer and MLS were in discussions over how to make the US Open Cup knockout better.

“That process is ongoing and there might be changes to our participation sometime in the future, there is nothing we can announce right now,” he continued.

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