On Thursday, June 27, 2023, MLS Multiplex had the honor of conducting an exclusive interview with Kristel Valencia, the Senior Director of International Communications at Major League Soccer. During the conversation, we delved into fascinating topics about the arrival of international superstars to the MLS in 2023, such as Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets, who are adding even more brilliance and prestige to the league. Additionally, we discussed the development of promising talents within the American territory, raising the level of soccer in the country. We didn’t fail to mention the impressive records set by MLS this season and the expectations for the future of the league, especially with the 2026 World Cup approaching, which promises to bring even more visibility and growth to soccer in the United States.
- Arrival of World Soccer Stars to MLS and Their Impact on the Development of New Players
The Major League Soccer (MLS) has been experiencing a remarkable trajectory of growth, and the recent arrival of world soccer stars, such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba to Inter Miami, takes the league to an unprecedented level. The Senior Director of International Communications at MLS, Kristel Valencia, stated in an exclusive interview with MLS Multiplex that this incorporation of internationally renowned talents has exponentially driven the growth of the league and soccer as a whole in North America.
“MLS has made extraordinary progress and is the fastest growing league in the world. By joining CF Inter Miami, Messi, Busquets and Alba will take MLS to a different level and exponential growth of our league and soccer in North America. We’ve already seen the impact: Global exposure for Inter Miami, MLS and its clubs; Ticket sales at all stadiums in the league; Increased demand to watch MLS matches through MLS Season Pass and TV partners; Increased interest from large corporations interested in partnering with MLS and its clubs. MLS has become the “League of Choice” for many global soccer stars. MLS is home to many international stars and Messi and Busquets joins a league that is already very competitive and has top-level players. We believe that their arrival will contribute to accelerating the growth of our league in the global landscape”, said Kristel Valencia in an exclusive interview with MLS Multiplex.
Indeed, it is undeniable that the signing of these soccer superstars has given American soccer unprecedented global visibility. The presence of such well-known names attracts fans’ attention from all over the world, which positively impacts media exposure, television viewership, and ticket sales across all MLS venues. Inter Miami, as one of the clubs benefiting from the arrival of these soccer icons, has its name propagated beyond American borders, expanding its fan base and becoming an international reference.
The effects of these acquisitions also extend to the business realm, with large corporations showing interest in establishing partnerships with the MLS and its clubs. The marketing potential that these stars bring with them can attract investors and sponsors, boosting the league’s profitability and allowing the expansion of its projects and initiatives.
The incorporation of these talents also reflects a significant increase in demand for MLS Season Pass subscriptions, as well as the interest of television broadcasters in airing MLS matches. The growing interest of the public in watching MLS games provides the league with greater reach and impact, solidifying its place in the international sports landscape.
Moreover, it is important to highlight that the presence of stars of the caliber of Messi, Busquets, and Alba may have a catalytic effect on the development of grassroots soccer in America. Young talents, inspired by these global idols, are likely to be even more motivated to pursue a career in the sport, which can generate a generation of talented players and raise the technical level of soccer in the USA.
“MLS clubs are producing elite young players who are making a big impact on their teams and who also play at the national team level. Young MLS players are being watched and desired by clubs around the world. A huge investment has been made in the academies by our clubs. MLS NEXT, our youth league, and MLS NEXT Pro, lower division league, are enabling more player development”, said Kristel Valencia.
However, it is necessary to emphasize that, although these signings are a boost for MLS growth, the consolidation of success will require strategic planning, efficient management, and ongoing investments. The expectations surrounding the league are high, and the challenges will be constant to stay on the path of sustainable growth.
- MLS and its records in 2023
MLS is experiencing a phase of exponential growth, marked by significant achievements and ambitious initiatives that are driving soccer in North America.
One of the highlights mentioned by Valencia was the launch of the 10-year partnership with Apple, the “MLS Season Pass,” a streaming platform that represents a milestone for the league and will provide greater global exposure for Inter Miami, MLS, and its clubs. This initiative reflects the pursuit of innovation and broader audience reach, giving fans the opportunity to follow the games in a more comprehensive and accessible way. Additionally, the director of communication celebrated the extension of the partnership with adidas, a giant in the sports world. This renewal is evidence of the confidence and prestige that MLS has been gaining on the international stage, attracting global brands that see the potential for growth in North American soccer.
Another historic milestone mentioned by Valencia was the attendance record in the LA Galaxy vs. LAFC match, with nearly 83,000 fans present at the iconic Rose Bowl. This impressive number reflects the growing interest of the public in soccer and the passion of North Americans for the sport, which certainly contributes to the expansion of the league and the establishment of an increasingly robust soccer culture in the region.
“We are living through a great moment in our league, our clubs, and soccer in North America. This year alone: a) we launched a 10-year partnership with Apple – MLS Season Pass, our streaming platform. It’s a milestone for our league. We extended our incredible partnership with adidas. We had the incredible launch from the St. Louis CITY SC expansion team. We announced a new expansion team for San Diego. We had an all-time attendance record with nearly 83,000 fans at the Rose Bowl on July 4 in the LA Galaxy vs. LAFC matchup and the unprecedented 2023 Leagues Cup tournament debuted on July 21”, said Kristel Valencia.
With these achievements and ambitious projects, it becomes evident that MLS is on the right path to establish itself as one of the premier soccer leagues in the world. The arrival of renowned stars like Messi, Alba, and Busquets to Inter Miami promises to further elevate the competition and draw global attention to North American soccer.
MLS is clearly at the peak of its successful journey, with an innovative mindset, strategic partnerships, and an infectious passion for soccer. These elements combined will undoubtedly drive the exponential growth of the league and mark an exciting new chapter in the history of soccer in North America.
- Expectations for MLS until 2026
Major League Soccer and soccer in North America are experiencing a moment of great excitement and unprecedented potential. During the exclusive interview, MLS Senior Director of International Communication, Kristel Valencia, had nothing but praise for the league’s performance and the upward trajectory of the sport in the region.
Expectations for the coming years are even more promising as North America prepares to host unparalleled events such as the Copa America in 2024, the FIFA Club World Cup in 2025, and, the pinnacle, the FIFA World Cup in 2026. These tournaments provide a unique platform to solidify North America’s place on the global soccer stage, allowing local talents to shine at home and showcasing the region’s passion and potential for the sport to the entire world.
“It’s an exciting time for our league and soccer in the US and North America. In the coming years we have tournaments in front of us such as the Copa America in 2024, the Club World Cup in 2025, and the FIFA World Cup 2026. North America is the future of global sport and as we have seen this year, there are no limits where this sport can reach in North America”, said Kristel Valencia in an exclusive interview with MLS Multiplex.
MLS and soccer in North America are poised to embrace a bright and promising future. With bold ambitions, strategic partnerships, and major sporting events, the region is ready to establish itself as a global soccer hub, driving the growth of the sport and captivating fans around the world. North America is prepared to embrace the legacy of global soccer with confidence and determination, and there are no limits to how far this sport can go on its fertile ground.