Who was involved?
There were eight chairs in the room, three of which were occupied MLS employees -- MLS commissioner, Don Garber; mlssoccer.com editor-in-chief, Greg Lalas; and director of social media, Amanda Vandervort. The remaining five were occupied by broadcasters, all of whom have some sort of relationship with MLS. That said — they weren't bad. Rob Stone in particular had some good questions, and it didn't seem like there was too much deference. Of course, question-dodging continued, but what do you expect?
ESPN the Magazine, ESPN.com reporter Doug McIntyre
Fox Sports host Rob Stone
Univision Deportes broadcaster Jorge Perez-Navarro
RDS broadcaster Patrick Leduc
SiriusXM radio host and former MLS goalkeeper Tony Meola.
Did anything new come out of this?
Not especially. The big highlight was that they're looking at something Garber called "Decision Day," which would potentially coordinate kickoffs of all teams in the league, or at least in the same conference. That sort of thing makes sense and would probably be a significant media event. In other TV concerns, Garber made a shout about flex scheduling, whereby the penultimate match week of the season could be reorganized for TV scheduling, depending on the state of the run-in.
What about the upcoming CBA?
Garber was, for fairly obvious reasons, fairly quiet about that, but he did have a few moments of clarity. Chief among them was that MLS "isn't performing as well financially as we'd like," which is pretty much par for the course when CBA discussions crop up. Whether it's the case or not, it's a fuzzy answer that makes no statement about what that level actually is.
There was also this on a work stoppage if the CBA doesn't get resolved in short order: "I don't think they or we are thinking about a work stoppage ... the league could handle a stoppage, as could the players handle a stoppage."
And how about teams coming into the league?
The goal, Garber indicated, is 24 teams in the league in the next decade. LAFC is set to enter in 2017, but the unnamed Miami team is having some trouble - that's partly down to stadium issues, if not entirely.
Is the new 12-team playoff format final?
Maybe. Maybe not. It'll probably include the away goals rule, as it does now.
Will we see a winter schedule?
Not no way, not no how. Or maybe there will be a way, and it'll involve heated stadiums and domes. That all sounds pretty expensive and unlikely at this point, doesn't it?
Was there something about transparency?
I'm glad you asked. Here's what Garber had to say: "Transparency is a big priority in 2015. The concepts that we have in place to allow players to come into the league, allow a priority order for management of who gets players ... all of that will be shared with the public after we've come up with a way to organize it in buckets so people can understand it."