Franchises

Charlotte FC president talks club profitability, MLS media rights

Nick Kelly also said he believes MLS could opt to align its calendar with Europe's some time after the World CupCHARLOTE FC

Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly covered "everything from the profitability of MLS franchises to Charlotte’s preparations and whether MLS will ever align with the European calendar" in a Q&A with Matt Slater of THE ATHLETIC. Below are excerpts from the Q&A, some of which have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: You paid a huge expansion fee ... the biggest so far?
Kelly: Right, $300M. But that goes back to the relegation model. You can buy a big portion of English clubs for $300M, but there is a huge financial business risk. The reality for us is you have the security of knowing you’re going to be in MLS every year. It is an investment.

Q: Are these clubs profitable?
Kelly: A good portion of these clubs are profitable and, because of revenue sharing, there is not a huge disparity between the clubs like you see in other leagues. The rev-share is equal enough so that profitability is down to how you run the club.

Q: Where does MLS stand in the world game?
Kelly: The key piece is going to be the next broadcast agreement, that’s going to dictate the health of the league. They’re not going to get NFL money but they need to position themselves alongside leagues like Serie A and La Liga. All these guys are getting legitimate money. But we have to balance the money with the reach, because the distribution of MLS matches in local markets is not equal.

Q: Do you think you’d ever align the whole season with Europe?
Kelly: Yeah. I think it will be post-World Cup but they’re going to have to look at it. Spring is the best time of the year for us and we could wrap up the season in April/May with no competition (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/20).

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