MLS Adds A Few Pennies To Salary Cap

MLS Adds A Few Pennies To Salary Cap

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 29, 2007

MLS owners recommended a 2008 budget that increases the league’s salary cap 4 percent to $2.3 million a team. The decision came after a prolonged debate at a recent board of governors meeting that saw a divide among owners over what players should be paid as the league expands.

The latest proposal is expected to be accepted by the competition committee in the coming weeks.

Club owners weighed two options for player salaries for 2008 during the meeting. The first would see the salary cap rise to $2.3 million a team, while a second would see it increase to around $2.5 million.

Sources said the Kraft family (owners of the New England Revolution) and Hunt Sports Group (FC Dallas and Columbus Crew) favored a modest increase in the salary cap consistent with previous years’ growth of 4 to 5 percent, while New York Red Bulls representatives favored pushing it beyond $2.5 million per team.

Historically, owners like the Hunts and Krafts have wanted to control player costs and minimizing expenses to foster steady league growth, while owners like AEG (Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo), Jorge Vergara (Chivas USA) and Red Bull have favored spending more on players to improve the quality of play and increase interest in the league.

Most players in the league have a 5 percent increase written into their contracts, so a 4 percent salary cap increase keeps pace with that and means that most teams won’t have to cut players to remain under the cap.

This has been an aged old debate for years now in the MLS. No one wants the league to turn into the old NASL days and quite-frankly it really never will because of that fear. League owners have set the MLS up to not become a re-birth of the NASL.

I am in both camps really. I want steady growth for the league but I also want quality of play to increase as well. I think a moderate increase each year will do both.

This league is still very young and is competing very well already with leagues from around the world. I think in time the league will be up there in terms of landing star players and not costing the entire league like the NASL did.

The MLS is doing the right thing by adding just a little bit at a time. Sure the minimum wage needs to go up, and it definitely should (12,000 or so a year does not cut it no matter where you live). But that is still a debate for another time and day.