The whole business enterprise of women’s professional soccer is an enigma. It is hard to figure out why the soccer braintrust with MLS has not already put a women’s league together. It would seem that a women’s league would be the perfect compliment to MLS. Women’s soccer is exciting, competitive, and fun to watch.
Women’s professional soccer showed that it has a base of fans to draw from during its last try with the WUSA. Women’s soccer was able to make itself viable as a professional commodity because of what happened with the U.S. women’s World Cup performance in 1999.
With all the momentum that women’s soccer has accomplished since the ‘99 World Cup, and weighing where MLS is with their progress, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they can compliment each other. If cultivated properly, women’s and men’s pro soccer in the U.S. can take each other further along in the sports spectator spectrum.
While it was not legions of fans that supported the sport, WUSA proved that it has the platform to stand up as a profitable spectator sport in the U.S. MLS has proven that it too can be supported and profitable. Professional soccer should consider profitability vs. mainstream spectator sports, but this is another discussion entirely. The bottom line is that both can feed off each other and grow together.
Both MLS and Women’s professional soccer need each other. MLS is struggling and this is well documented. Attaching women’s pro soccer to MLS would be a catalyst to propel the game more with American sports fans. It is a package that brings soccer fans more with less effort.
The leagues, MLS and WMLS, would travel together and make a doubleheader for fans on every appearance with the exception of the playoffs. WMLS would be treated equally at all levels with regard to the amount of teams, separate website, statistics, jerseys, etc… Team colors for WMLS would follow suit with their respective MLS team’s colors. Fans are the ones who would benefit, getting all the emotion, enthusiasm, and professionalism of two games and two leagues for the price of one.
But, of course, this is not happening, even though the new women’s league, WPS ( www.womensprosoccer.com ) is playing in 2009 in some MLS stadiums.
WPS will struggle along just as WUSA did. Eventually, MLS will have no choice, they will have to take a women’s league on as a partner in order to save itself. It makes common sense.