The last few days have yielded some interesting news on the MLS financial front. Firstly Sports Business Journal reported on a possible transaction between MLS and Providence Equity Partners. The deal would involve Providence purchasing a 25% stake in Soccer United Marketing (SUM) from MLS for a cool $125-$150 million. SUM is the marketing arm of MLS which controls media and broadcast rights for US Soccer and the World Cup in America. While neither MLS/SUM or Providence have confirmed the possibility of a deal, the article suggests that MLS could use the payday to either reward owners who have lost a considerable amount of money over the years in operating and start up of the league or MLS could utilize the cash influx to attract bigger names and better players. I'm assuming a move for the latter would involve some sort sort of increase to the current salary budget structure. This will be an important story to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months.
Speaking of the salary structure, the MLS Player's Union has released an updated list of player salaries for 2011. There are several interesting new names and numbers on the Fire's list.
After originally being listed with a guaranteed compensation of $42,000.00 for 2011 in May's MLSPU release Cristian Nazirit is now listed with a guaranteed sum of $302,500.00 for this season. As we've discussed in the comments section of various posts, Nazirit was due for a big bump in 2012 if the organization decided to bring him back. As a 21 year old forward with supposed interest from overseas it was hard to believe that Nazirit would come to Chicago for a relatively paltry $42,000.00 sum.
The same can be said for Sebastian Grazzini who according the Union is making $48,000.00. Although the amount is essentially a half season figure I think it's safe to assume that Grazzini, like Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari is not coming quite that cheaply. Consider that Kellen Gulley, the Fire's second home grown player signing is listed at $62,000.00 guaranteed for 2011. As pointed out previously, the numbers listed in the release aren't always telling the whole story. The Union lists dollars paid by the league and does not provide dollars paid to the players by the individual clubs.
One number that seems accurate is the amount paid to Pavel Pardo. At $159,996.00 the midfielder is playing half a season for less than DP money and will sit down to review his situation with the club after the season ends.
Chivas De Guadalajara
The Big Goats are in town to play the Fire in a friendly tomorrow at Toyota Park and Pardo has been heavily featured in the pre-game build up to the match but the Fire won't have a full squad available. Both Dominic Oduro and Sebastian Grazzini will sit out the match.
Former CD Guadalajara and Chivas USA midfielder Francisco "Panchito" Mendoza is training with the Fire this week. After spending time in Mexico with Chivas, Mendoza returned to MLS this season only to be released last week.
In case you missed it over the weekend, check out Jeff Harbert's Chicago Fire Fanzine by clicking here. Very nicely done and worth a look.