Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber says the league is not performing as hoped financially and its franchises are combining to lose more than $100 million annually.
Garber attributed losses to player acquisitions, stadiums and spending on league infrastructure. The update about the league's finances came with the MLS and its players' union beginning negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.
“I can say without doubt that our owners did not expect that by this time we'd still be needing to invest the level of money that we have been investing, and that's just the reality of where our business is today,” Garber said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Garber covered a range of topics during a State of the League event Tuesday and later expanded when talking with the AP. The labor contract with players expires at the end of Jan. 31 and the sides needed assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in 2010, when they reached an agreement five days before the season opener.
Garber was optimistic a deal will be reached before the 2015 season is scheduled to start in early March.
“You go into these discussions with an open mind and a desire to reach an agreement, and be as open as can, and be as transparent as can be,” Garber said.
Garber also told the AP he has communicated a number of times with U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann since the pair had a public spat in October. Garber criticized Klinsmann for not taking Landon Donovan to the World Cup and for saying Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley damaged their careers by returning to MLS from European clubs.