USL Sale Update: NY Times Story

Yesterday, Jack Bell of the NY Times wrote a piece on the ongoing sale of the United Soccer League by Nike/UMBRO. He however had some critical details wrong.

Firstly, while USL-1 owners are working with Traffic Sports, the President of Miami FC, Aaron Davidson is also the head of the USL First Division owners association. This means that USL-1 owners will work through Davidson with any potential buyer, be it Traffic Sports, the reported front runner, or any other bidder, which includes groups from both the United States and Europe.

Secondly, MLS I am told did submit a proxy bid via Adidas that was ruled out of bounds. Whether the bid was formally rejected because it was low or not submitted because any bidder is required to keep UMBRO as a USL sponsor is immaterial. The point is MLS had every intention of bidding on the USL. Bell’s story is written in such a way that the it appears MLS looked at USL and felt it was a bad investment.

Thirdly, Romario played for Miami FC three seasons ago, not last season. Bell is competent writer, but missing badly on minor details like this, especially for a veteran journalist (ie not a blogger) is disappointing. Bell typically gets small details right, and produces some outstanding work on the sport. That is why if this was a story that the NY Times was going to cover like a blogger would, they need not have covered it at all.

MLS and the USL had an affiliate agreement that broke down earlier this decade. Chances are whomever wins the bid for USL will not renew that affiliate agreement in the near future.