Five things we learned from Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber's press conference today.

Five things we learned from Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber's press conference today.

1. Some regions are more likely than others to receive expansion franchises.
Garber has been clear that the league plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020. The league currently sits at 21 teams including to-be-added New York City FC and Miami, so naturally many of the questions posed by fans to Garber concerned where future clubs could be located.

Here are the regions that were covered and what Garber had to say about each.

Atlanta – "Discussions with (Atlanta Falcons owner) Arthur Blank and his family have been going on since 2008. We're getting close. There's not a rush to finalize something there. The new stadium that they're planning likely isn't going to open up for a number of years. A lot of activity there. Massive changes in the demographic and we're excited about Atlanta. Atlanta's got 400,000-500,000 people playing the game, and that's a market that needs a team at the highest level to capture and be able to wrap up and connect the dots."

Texas (Austin or San Antonio) – "It's premature for both markets. Expanding in Texas is something that's likely going to happen. Where that happens and when that happens is still to be seen. We have been spending time, as our league will continue to do, looking at markets that have the right fan demographics, that have the right talker interest, that have the right potential ownership groups, that have the right potential stadium. We will look at any market that has that formula.

Garber will be speaking at a panel at SXSW in Austin next week. As for San Antonio, Garber said, "Mayor (Julian) Castro is one of the great politicians in our country. We love him. Very passionate about our sport and a true American. He's young, he played the game, understands how the demographics of his city could really embrace our sport in ways that would be special. There's good things happening there, but we'll see."

Cleveland (really) – Check Wednesday's paper for Garber's full response here.

Detroit – "We've gone around for many years with different scenarios there and we know that there's some interest. There haven't been any discussions. I'm not sure it's on the shortlist, but you never know."

Minnesota – "Minneapolis is on the shortlist. Lots of interest there. We've had a high level of activity with the current Minnesota United. That ownership group is a very passionate group of guys that are very embedded in the community. We think they're smart. We think theyu're focused and they're great community citizens. A lot of their interest isn't just about the sport, but similar to what happened in Kansas City: how can an MLS club enhance Minneapolis with another top-level sports team? We'd like more teams in the Midwest; Minneapolis is on the short list."

North Carolina – "(It's) a market even back to my early days we looked to Raleigh because it is a hotbed of soccer. I've heard the USL Pro owner there, the Charlotte owner, has aspirations of being an MLS owner at some point. We'll moderate it. We've said we need to get south of Washington, D.C. Atlanta is a southern team. Florida is south of D.C., so who knows? Further expansion, but not sure Carolina is coming anytime soon."

Sacramento – "I saw the logo for the USL Pro team. I was told they have 4-5,000 season tickets and that's just fantastic. I would encourage every fan in that market to support the Republic. Get behind it. Build that team. Show that there's a real appetite north of San Jose for professional, high-level soccer and we'll see what happens. The U.S. Open Cup is going to have more competition."

In all cases, however, Garber said conversations about further expansion will likely not be until years from now.

2. A possible referees strike will not affect the opening weekend of the season.
"We will be opening up this weekend with referees and we are absolutely in position to have a contingency plan if those discussions don't end positively," Garber said. "We have so many things that we're gearing up for with our 2014 season. Nothing is going to stop us from having a strong opening and to continue to grow this league."

3. The league's pursuit of a new TV deal in 2015 will yield three broadcast partners.
As it stands, MLS games are aired on ESPN, NBC Sports Network and Unimas. Some or all of them could continue airing games.

"Today we have three packages, and our expectation is that we will continue with three packages," Garber said. "Who knows who those partners will be? We'll wait until that's finalized. Discussions are going well. The package will be a joint Major League Soccer/U.S. Soccer package."

Other than before the start of next season, Garber said there is no particular timeframe to finish the deals.

"We've been in discussions to finish the deals intensively during the last several months," he said. "I don't expect that it's going to take very much longer before we're in position to finalize a 2015 and beyond deal."

Garber reiterated the point that interest in the league is growing while television ratings are lagging behind and cited a desire to have a consistent broadcast schedule.

"Our games have been scheduled all over the week," he said. "It's difficult even if you work in the league office to know what time and what day a game is taking place. Our new agreements will be very, very focused on the specific date and time

4. Discussions with the players' union about a new collective bargaining agreement have not yet started.
"We've got a great relationship with the union," Garber said. "There's a much better level of communication. I would view us as partners growing this game together. All CBA negotiations are tough, whether you're an emerging league like us or you're the National Football League. We're mindful, as are the players, that this will be a challenging process, no different than it was five years ago. I'm very confident that our owners and our players are very, very committed to doing everything possible to ensure that we grow this league together."

5. MLS will not entertain a relegation system.
Garber was specifically asked about this, and his answer was simply, "No."

In addition, he said the Supporters' Shield race is essentially the same as a single-table format, shooting down that possibility for the league's future.