MLS: Single-entity. What the Heck Does That Actually MEAN?


We see references to MLS being "single-entity" on a fairly regular basis, but beyond weird player acquisition rules that nobody really seems to understand, what does that actually mean for fans of top-flight soccer in the United States?

In my role as Alliance Council President, one of the things I'm working on is prepping for the Alliance's Annual General Meeting, to be held in early December.

For those who've never been, the AGM is a chance for fans and supporters to ask questions of the Sounders ownership and front office staff.  The Council solicits your questions (which, by the way, will begin soon) and based on those questions, the folks on the Council planning the meeting will select a list of questions (typically selecting by level of interest as the primary criteria) for a Q&A period.  (Late edit: Please note, this is NOT a solicitation for general questions for the Q&A- in this article I'm looking for issues specific to single-entity.)

In addition, over the past few years we've had a business report given by the front office staff, a season review by the Club's General Manager, and often a special segment.  In 2012, the special segment was GM Adrian Hanauer's discussion of the various tools the club uses to track and rank players.

For 2013, the special segment will be a discussion of single-entity.  I'm working with GM Hanauer to put together a basic primer on it, to hopefully better explain to fans why (for example) we can't just open the checkbook and hire a bunch of stud players to dominate the league.  What does single-entity mean on a legal basis?  What benefits does it provide an individual club?  How does local franchising work?

We need your help- what questions about single-entity would you like answered in such a segment?  What about it makes sense, what doesn't?

Adrian has promised to get as far into it as he's allowed; there are some limits due to confidentiality agreements, but even those sorts of things might be interesting.  What is he allowed to discuss?

Please use the comments section to fire up some questions relating to single-entity you'd like answered (if possible).

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