MLS summer spending analyzed: In a depressed global market, the league bought more and younger than usual

MLS summer spending analyzed: In a depressed global market, the league bought more and younger than usual

The MLS secondary transfer window closed with a flurry earlier this month, as clubs like Atlanta United, Austin FC, Chicago Fire and the LA Galaxy paid mid-seven- and low-eight-figure transfer fees to complete a series of signings before the deadline struck on Aug. 5th. 

According to reporting and analysis conducted by The Athletic, those late moves made it the busiest and most expensive summer window in recent MLS history.

Transfer fees from every secondary window purchase from 2017 on were pulled from The Athletic’s own reporting, other media reports and Transfermarkt data. To keep things simple, only paid transfers (i.e., no loans, free transfers, internal transfers, etc.) were counted in this analysis. The numbers might not be completely perfect; fees sometimes get inflated in the press. However, The Athletic did take pains to verify every number included in the various tabulations, and, at the absolute worst, the data presented here is a close approximation of the actual money spent on transfers by MLS teams over the last five summer windows. 

According to that data, MLS teams bought more players, spent more money on those players and paid more fees of at least $1 million in the summer of 2021 than in any of the last five summer windows. They did so on both an absolute and per-team basis, a metric that accounts for the league’s rapid expansion in that time frame. 

There’s also some important context. MLS’s spending increases didn’t happen in a vacuum — they took place as clubs all over the world dramatically decreased their transfer spending.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: