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Including Length of Contract in Player Transaction Announcements a Positive Step

Pretty much everyone benefits from having more information whenever a club signs a player.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

MLS contracts are almost always murky. While European transfers generally scream off the page in terms of transfer fees, salaries, and contract lengths, Major League Soccer generally requires a visit to a fortune teller to offer up some clues as to how many years the club has locked up a player, who has a club option at the end of the season, or when a player might be out of contract. So the news that has come out thus far this off-season, in the form of the re-signings of Ruan, Uri Rosell, Alex De John, and Mason Stajduhar offered up a pleasant surprise.

While there is no mention of player salary, all of Orlando City’s signing announcements for 2020 have included the duration of the contract, with Ruan now on a two-year contract with an option year, Rosell getting a two-year deal, and both De John and Stajduhar getting one year each plus club options. This is a huge step in the right direction toward eliminating some of the opacity surrounding MLS. It’s a simple way to allow fans and journalists alike to track these things. I believe it will go a long way into helping analyze and anticipate the team’s needs on a year-to-year basis.

For years I’ve seen little downside in at least letting people know how long a contract would last, but with only a few exceptions that news has been kept under lock and key. At least when it comes to salaries, the MLS Players Association makes the information available twice a year. But teams have been loathe to come right out and say how long a contract is. Sometimes they mention a vague “multi-year” contract but typically they just hide behind “per club policy, terms were not disclosed.” Where’s the fun in that?

If this is the new normal, it will be much more fun to project what the club might do one or two years in advance and where it will be addressing certain needs. It will give fans more food for thought and provide soccer writers with a larger palette from which to draw content. Better content and more fuel for speculation is good for soccer fans, the club, and the league.

Virtually anything that gets people excited and talking about the league is a good thing. The more time your customers spend thinking about your product, the better (provided it’s a good product, which MLS generally is). I will admit that when friends of mine who are huge NBA fans start talking about mid-level exemptions, max salaries, expiring contracts, and the like, my eyes glaze over. But for them, half the fun is breaking down where a team is in terms of salaries and contract situations. There’s no reason MLS shouldn’t offer its fans the opportunity to do something similar.

If this trend continues, fans will keep spread sheets, memorize contract lengths, discuss whose deals will expire when, and think ahead to the club’s future signings. It’s a positive trend that I hope will continue as it’s something I think we can all have a lot of fun discussing.


Poll

Do you prefer knowing how long a player contract will last?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Yes, it’s very helpful.
    (43 votes)
  • 0%
    No, I like to be surprised.
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Either way is fine.
    (2 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now