The San Antonio Soccer Examiner recently caught up with FIFA Match Agent, and organizer of the upcoming Road to Brazil tour, Mevy-Pierre Azaria, to discuss Major League Soccer, San Antonio’s chances and how these matches get organized. The first part of this interview will cover MLS and its relationship with Europe.
SASE: How different is it being an agent in MLS compared to other leagues in the world?
Mevy-Pierre Azaria: MLS is definitely the only league in the world that is capable of organizing so many friendly matches, because it's not only an institution, it's a real private company. That belongs to a private, equity company, so it's about doing Business.
They're very, very well structured, they have a lot of human resources, and more than this, it’s very easy to organize friendlies throughout the country. Because they're franchises, there is a very close relation between Major League Soccer teams.
SASE: How important are those linkages between MLS teams and big European teams?
MPA: The link that they have with those teams is strong, my job is to bring the strong links in the European market to the US. For example what you can see in the US every summer, the big teams coming here every year, and the teams enjoy it because it’s a big merchandising thing.
SASE: How big is the US as a market?
MPA: Absolutely. Try to imagine, the Spanish National Team is seeing almost 16% of jersey sales in the United States, so this is a very clear statistic. There is not such a big population of Spanish people in the US but they do almost a quarter of their sales in the US. So it shows the possibilities for growth in soccer and in the audience.
SASE: Do you feel there’s a real growth in the sport in the US?
MPA: Absolutely. You can see it already in the figures, for example, take the ratings from the Euro six years ago compared to 2012, exactly the same event, I think the audience was multiplied by four, within four years. I am sure that we are going to be recognized due to the World Cup, and we’re seeing already the bigger broadcasting channels and press and media.