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Dave Checketts arrival was vital to a growing MLS

Jan 25, 2013, 12:52 PM EDT

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In terms of zippy headlines and content sex appeal, “Diversity of Ownership” just doesn’t quite get there, does it? Still, that has been such an important storyline in the broader MLS tale over the last 10 years.

If we wanted to talk about the next big name heading MLS way – whether it was Roberto Donadoni or Hugo Sanchez in another day, or Kaka or Frank Lampard today – now that was a story that would always jingle our keys.

And stadiums! Every mention of a new ground being considered, every stadium design unveiling, every ribbon cutting and every grand opening made the facility wonks among us (Me, me, me!) happy as a nacho in warm cheese.

But all along, broadening and diversifying that early, tiny fraternity of MLS owners was a huge story, a uniquely critical element in league development. Don’t forget, the ownership roster once started at stopped at the Lamar Hunt, Phil Anschutz and Robert Kraft.

That was just 10 years ago!

So guys like Dave Checketts coming aboard provided essential nutrition to a growing operation. Now Checketts is getting out of the MLS ownership game, as we talked about yesterday.

Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy makes the point this morning that Checketts’ arrival was important for more than the growing sum of owners and the badly needed diversity. His presence in the game said something important to other perspective investors.

Says Kennedy:

Checketts was a major figure in the American sports business — the youngest president in the history of the NBA (Utah Jazz) and the president of Madison Square Garden (owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers) — and his investment sent a signal to the American sports business community that it was OK to invest in MLS.

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