So I have long in the back of my mind wondered if having the people in charge of marketing and such for US Soccer and the MLS, also be in charge of the same for the Mexican National team? Isn't having the same leadership of our league ("the Don"), running the company who controls the marketing and commercial rights of our league ("the Don") and all commercial rights to US Soccer (both men's and women's team) ("the Don"), enough to probably lead to some conflicts of interest but several years ago SUM took over the marketing and promotion of the Mexican National Team in the US.
Now news that the relationship between SUM and the Mexican National team is being extended:Soccer United Marketing officials will be chanting "viva Mexico" for four more years, following a recent agreement to extend the agency's eight-year partnership with the Mexican national soccer team.
SUM and the Mexican soccer federation (FMF) reached agreement on a new deal that will see SUM continue to organize Mexican exhibition games and manage Mexican marketing rights through 2014. The future of their partnership, which began in 2003, was thrown into jeopardy in March when Traffic, a Brazilian-based soccer marketing company, put forward a competitive bid to take over management of the Mexican team.
Traffic's offer to the Mexican soccer federation was valued in the high seven figures annually and included revenue-sharing opportunities. SUM had a right to match Traffic's offer, but it is unclear what SUM proposed to pay. Terms of its extension weren't available.
The deal is expected to include the same number of games as the previous one plus an Olympic tour in 2012, a South American tour before the '14 World Cup and a plan to develop a Mexican team website in the U.S.
from Sports Business Journal
I am sure all of this is on the up and up, but for me having a group in charge of promotion and commercial decisions of opposing organizations would be a natural conflict of interest. Can an organization that has shown more interest in promoting their SuperLiga, than the US Open Cup, be trusted to make the decisions on what is best for soccer in the US? Or are they simply trying to find ways to capitalize on the large soccer following Hispanic community in the US?
More, including a comment from "the Don" on the topic, after the jump:
So we if you read my blog on a regular basis you know I have a lot of respect for what MLS Commissioner and SUM CEO, Don Garber, has done for the MLS and to a lesser extent for soccer in the US. I do however believe that he has switched focus so many times that he now spends more time jumping to the flavor of the week that his leadership has lost it's way and that the interest of the sport, the league and the owners would be best served if he were to take over SUM on a full time basis and MLS find a new leader who can take us from where we are today into a better future for MLS and professional soccer in the US.
Here is one of the many reason why:
"Our goal is to create a soccer nation in our country," he said. "We don't care who they root for, who they watch on TV, who drives their passion. These exhibition games create big moments, but ultimately real fans connect with their local clubs. The Mexican national team is leaving today and it won't come back for years. Next week the Red Bulls are going to have a game at brand-new Red Bull Arena."
New York Times
It has been this type of thinking since SUM started their relationship with the Mexican National team, but the reality is that MLS trails the Winter Olympics as far as popularity among Hispanics in the US.
The reality is that the Hispanic fan base is important to overall success of the sport in the US, but there is nothing that shows me that having the group responsible for the commercial promotion of the MLS, and US Soccer has done much over the last 8 years, only a 3.6% increase among those who call themselves fans? The sport has grown but I believe it has been much more the coverage of the sport in all aspects (MLS, EPL, WPS, US Soccer) by both national media (ESPN, FSC) and the emergence of the non traditional media.
So is having the man in charge of our league being the same man in charge of promotion of the Mexican National team a conflict of interest? It is a question that only time will tell the answer to, but for me in this new world of transparency, if it looks like a fish, feels like a fish, it is probably going to smell like a fish.
OFF MY SOAPBOX