Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus on Wednesday, where he appeared on multiple programs to discuss Sunday’s 2015 MLS Cup at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Garber, who has led the league for 16 seasons, appeared on Mike and Mike, multiple editions of SportsCenter and His & Hers, among other programs, and also sat down for a Front Row interview.
This is your first “ESPN Car Wash.” What are your highlights of the experience?
There is nothing in the sports business like a Car Wash. To be able to come here and to be a part of some of these shows that are such an important part of our business and also an important part of the things that motivate fans and inspire them the most has been incredible.
Twenty years of MLS on ESPN. How important has ESPN been to Major League Soccer’s success?
Soccer in America isn’t what it is today if not for ESPN. Not just because of their belief in the sport among the leaders of the company, but you really can feel a deep connection amongst the people who are here with this great sport and our great league. People know us. They know our players. They have a favorite team. All of that is because we’ve had this great relationship with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports.
What specific aspects of ESPN’s coverage of the league stand out to you?
It is just the great production value. ESPN is just so best-in-class when it comes to production. The numbers of cameras, the quality of audio, the real research that the on-air play-by-play and color guys do – just the belief in the game that is translated into high-quality production.
What do you want viewers to take away from Sunday’s MLS Cup telecast in Columbus, Ohio?
I want more people to believe in our league and to pick a team, whether it is the Timbers or the Columbus Crew. I expect the game will be able to provide some historic, legacy-like memories for one of those two clubs. I think it will be a great game, a packed house in MAPFRE Stadium.
If you were to produce a 30 for 30 documentary on Major League Soccer, what story would you want to tell?
It would be the story of soccer stadiums. Think about how hard it is to develop a large infrastructure here in our country. Here, in a very short period of time, we have 15 brand new soccer stadiums that can be an iconic meeting place for our players and for our fans. We’ll have five more over the next number of years. I’d love to see the stories behind those stadiums – how difficult it was to get them built, what they represent, what they mean to our fans and what great memories they create.