Top tier professional soccer in the United States is operated by Major League Soccer (MLS). The MLS was established and operates under a single entity structure, such that all players negotiate and sign contracts with the league rather than with individual teams. This monopsonistic structure was designed to eliminate competition for players across teams within the league and thus allow the league to suppress player salaries. This paper investigates how effective the MLS has been in achieving this goal and finds that the MLS devotes only about 25 percent of its revenues to player salaries, compared to 50 to 60 percent in most other U.S. professional sports and professional soccer leagues abroad.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2011 Omicron Delta Epsilon Fraternity. This article first appeared in American Economist 56, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 20-28.

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