Justifying MLS Valuations

In Sportico’s recent list of most valuable football clubs, MLS revenue multiples exceeded all other leagues and sports (only rivaling IPL multiples).

These multiples are based on an expectation that in the coming decades, MLS will beat competitors in the sports and entertainment attention economy.

MLS must prove to local, domestic, and international fans that its sporting product and ecosystem are worth the billion-dollar price tags its owners crave.

With the 30th franchise, MLS will move from its ‘Expansion Era’ of the last two decades – where league-controlled franchise fees have helped produce skyrocketing enterprise values – to a new, less familiar ‘Operational Era’.

League strategy must now focus on improving quality and better connecting with fans, by:

1) Developing domestic talent
2) Boosting the appeal of the regular season
3) Legitimizing itself in international competition

To realize the promise of today’s valuations, MLS has the length of its Apple deal – nine more seasons – to manage this transition.

By AJ Swoboda
Managing Director, Americas

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