Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has claimed that valuations of the league’s teams will soon exceed $1 billion. Garber made the comments during a recent interview with Bloomberg. Los Angeles Football Club became the first MLS club to reach $1 billion in valuation according to Forbes back in February. However, the commissioner believes most of the league’s other teams will reach this feat within the next year.

MLS welcoming sovereign wealth fund investments

The topic of valuations started in the interview with a question about sovereign wealth funds investing in MLS franchises. Garber acknowledged that his league would follow suit with other American sports divisions and allow these sovereign group to invest in clubs. “The NHL and NBA have looked at having sovereign funds and pension funds,” Garber told Bloomberg. “The MLS is looking at the same thing.”

Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, took over at Premier League side Newcastle United in 2021. The group is also owners of LIV Golf and may opt to purchase another European club in the near future.

Commissioner cites Apple, Messi, and World Cup as reasons for high valuations

Garber was then asked if foreign investors are put off of buying an MLS club because valuations are currently too high. The commissioner asserted that these club valuations will only rise due to various influences. This includes the league’s massive deal with Apple. “When you think about investing in Major League Soccer, it’s not just where we are today. It’s like all investments, what will the valuation be in the years to come,” stated Garber.

“With partners like Apple, players like Messi, stadiums being built, the World Cup rocket fuel driving the future of our league, I think the opportunities for increased valuation are endless. I think that the $1 billion number is the right valuation for where we are today. And when we’re together next year, I think the valuations will be even higher.”

LAFC is currently one of 17 worldwide soccer clubs to reach $1 billion in valuation by Forbes. LA Galaxy ($925 million), Atlanta United ($850 million), and New York City FC ($800 million) are currently the next MLS teams in line to potentially reach the $1 billion mark.