photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
With the 17th season in MLS history just weeks away from kicking off, commissioner Don Garber held his latest State of the League address in Columbus, Ohio to discuss some of the hotter topics.
Accompanied by Columbus Crew owner Clark Hunt and Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers, Garber touched on everything from the Crew's season ticket sales to the league's schedule.
Of interest to many fans and pundits, Garber also spoke about the league's ongoing search for a 20th franchise. Garber continued to stress that the league is working on getting it to be a team in New York.
"We are working hard on New York and working with the Mayor's office and city," Garber said.
Scheduled to meet with owners of USL Pro club Orando City SC and that city's mayor and officials on March 1, Garber stated that the league is looking to return to Florida in the future.
"We need to be in Florida at some point," Garber said.
Garber may want the league to return to Florida, but he admitted he was "gun-shy" over giving Tampa another chance considering its previous team, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, folded in 2001.
Garber also said the league's schedule will need to be altered in the future so that it is more in sync with FIFA's international calender. He did not offer a timetable as to when that might happen.
"I think at some point, and I don't know when that point is, we'll probably have to be more aligned with the international calendar," said Garber. "How we get there and when we get there remains to be seen."
A topic the MLS commisioner, Hunt and McCullers all touched on was the Columbus Crew's effort to reach 10,000 season ticket holders, just as they did in 1999 and as recently as 2006.
McCullers would not say how many season tickets had been sold to date, though he did reveal that the totals had already surpassed that of 2011. Still, Garber wants Crew fans to get back to the 10,000 figure.
"There's no reason why you can’t have that now," said Garber. "You've got a lot of teams with 10,000 season tickets. You've got to get back to that point."
Garber also gave Crew fans some good news when he stated the league would continue help the team as much as possible in the future.
"We're going to continue to provide whatever resources the league can," Garber said, "to bring the team back to the position it was in a few years ago."
What do you think of Garber's comments? Do you see New York or Orlando getting the 20th franchise? Agree with Garber saying that MLS needs to be more aligned with the international calendar?
Share your thoughts below.