A couple of last minute tidbits that will shape what MLS looks like this season. This is definitely minutia, but you'll see the effects in small ways:
* MLS is investing in a fiber network connecting all eighteen venues and the league offices in New York. Unless you're in the business of cutting up highlight packages, this first point probably hasn't been something you've ever thought of. In the article Larry Tiscornia, VP of broadcasting for Major League Soccer says in the old days the league relied on a courier service for full game video. Tiscornia says it'll allow the league to do more international production, highlight distribution (maybe SportsCenter wasn't completely at fault), and archival purposes.
*The competition rules and regulations have been updated, and the biggest change is MLS adopting the away goals rule for each two-match playoff series. There will still be a play-in game between teams four and five in the division, but then the Semifinal and Finals in the Conferences will have away goals as a tie-breaker.
*The other competition rules update: The regular season tie-breakers have gone back to what they were pre-2013. Total number of wins is now the top tiebreaker, and goal differential is the second tiebreaker, with goals for only used as a third tiebreaker.
*The 2014 salary budget is now $3,100,000. The maximum budget charge is $387,500, and the minimum senior roster salary is $48,500. MLS has also admitted in the current roster rules that Designated Players of a certain threshold as determined by the league are not subject to the allocation ranking when coming into the league.
*In a season that's being called a harbinger of what's to come, Don Garber says consistent time slots and better marketing are necessary for improving MLS TV ratings. MLS continues to improve the amount of butts in stadium seats, but it isn't improving the number of butts on couch seats. Look out and see if MLS has an improved marketing footprint this year and if the national games have more consistent broadcast times.