WED, 2:45PM ET
LIV0
REAL3
WED, 2:45PM ET
AND1
ARS2
WED, 2:45PM ET
OLY1
JUV0
WED, 2:45PM ET
GAL0
BVB4
WED, 2:45PM ET
ATL5
MAL0
WED, 2:45PM ET
LEV2
ZEN0

MLS Labor Dispute – An Owner Strikes Back

23 tim leiweke MLS Labor Dispute   An Owner Strikes Back

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve read with interest as players have sounded off about the ongoing labor dispute between owners and players.

Today, the owners strike back.

AEG chief executive Tim Leiweke spoke at length with the Los Angeles Times in a story published today, and to say he took a few shots at the rank and file would be an understatement.

“Here’s our issue, and I’m speaking on behalf of AEG,” he said. “We have spent to the tune of $300 million on soccer. We have spent money on facilities. We at one point owned six of the 10 teams to keep the league alive.

“I don’t even know how to react when I hear the players now saying that we have treated them poorly and they’re going to strike. The fact is, the Galaxy isn’t going to make money this year. There are only a couple of (MLS) teams that will make money this year. … So when I hear them talk about striking and shutting the league down, I’ve got to tell you, they’re going to lose us when they talk like that.

“We do this out of passion. If this were a business, we would have quit this 10 years ago.”

I’m sure George Cohen, the federal mediator for the ongoing talks between the league and its players was thrilled when he read that in the Times this morning.

I can’t say I’m surprised that an owner has finally fired back after reading article after article featuring quotes from players criticizing the league.

“We have been fighting this battle for 10 years,” Leiweke told the Times. “Some of these (players) forget what we have put into it and they’re acting like the hard work and the money and the time and the energy and the passion that we’ve put into this, they all seem to forget about that.”

I think its even more telling that this article is the most significant news coming out of the negotiations. It’s specualtion on my part, but I have to believe that, if a deal was close, Leiweke wouldn’t be shooting his mouth off like this.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, MLS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to MLS Labor Dispute – An Owner Strikes Back

  1. man99utd says:

    “We at one point owned six of the 10 teams to keep the league alive.”

    If this is true its part of the problem. How can one organisation be expected to carry that load. So I can feel his frustration on this point. But to say, “We do this out of passion. If this were a business, we would have quit this 10 years ago.”, with a straight face beggers belief. All he has done is shown the world the sorry state of soccer in America.

    If money is being lost at the rate he implies thus by further implication saying there just isn’t enough money to pay players more and get rid of the restriction of player movement things are worse than we thought.

    We all spend our time arguing which league is better and where the fault lies for why soccer isn’t growing in America. Is it the Eurosnobs, the MLS kool-aid drinkers? The reason soccer is failing in this country is the same as its always been. America has created a vast array of sporting events for people to choose from and they all vary in popularity. Soccer is very low on the pole. I know many will disagree, but where are the TV ratings and stadium revenue to dispute it?

    We’ve been having this conversation for 50 years and not alot has changed. A league gets a bright start, people get excited, then collapse.

    • Charles says:

      Well it is true that they practically were the league. They are the reason we have top notch ( don’t flame me saying it isn’t top notch, I don’t care ) soccer in this country.

      I don’t disagree with you on soccer being low on the totem pole, but anyone that lives in an MLS city and doesn’t support their team IS to blame.
      Again. Mega Euro team versus Galaxy 100,000
      LA versus LA in LA for playoff game 20,000

      Next thing out of the guys mouth that was part of the 80,000 not attending MLS games…..The quality if better for the Mega team….you think ?

      • Maybe clubs are better generators of passion and support than leagues?

        Seriously, you sound like a ultra. Blaming soccer supporters for not caring about MLS.

        The market is speaking. People don’t get fired up about leagues. They don’t attend games out of guilt. And they definitely don’t like the way MLS imposes mediocrity on their own clubs.

        MLS wants this to be a choice between the survival of soccer and the collapse of the club game. Don’t buy into the hostage mentality.

    • Can you believe this? You need evidence of entitled MLS owners, look no further than Tim.

      Dick Cheney’s best friend Phil Anschutz is giving us soccer out of the kindness of his heart? Yeah, that’s how the guy made billions. He’s kind like that.

      The ability of guys like Leiwecke to say this stuff with a straight face is why he’s a well paid company guy.

  2. Rex says:

    Thank you AEG for putting the players in their place.

    In the end the losers here are the fans and the average player. The owners can move on, the fat cat player reps are all veterans and have made their money so they can move on, but they average joe player and fan will be left out in the cold. Thanks Onstad, Thanks Keller, Thanks Nick Garcia.

  3. Frank says:

    In 20 years the rest of the soccer world will look MLS. Owners running multiple teams within league to ensure nobody fails, salary caps, roster size limits and tight controls on player signings and trades. Single entity itself may not happen around the globe, but the MLS model AEG has sponsored is much closer to the future of the sport than anything the eurosnobs promote with the out of control EPL and La Liga.

    History will vindicate MLS and show that the MLSPU are really greedy, selfish pigs who do not realize they would be pumping gas and mowing lawns if not for the vision of MLS ownership and Don Garber.

    • man99utd says:

      Some could probably make more money doing something other than playing soccer, since many are college grads. The bottom line is MLS will never grow paying what they pay. If my child is good at sport would I say “follow your dream, play in MLS”, or “try to make a living, go abroad”? MLS has alot of problems and it has nothing to do with greed. It has everything to do with lack of interest.

      • Charles says:

        Man99utd,
        I agree with you and I respect your opinion, MLS is having trouble/may never grow paying lower salaries….how should MLS solve this problem ?

        Pay and pray? Pay the money and hope the fans follow?
        Would you do that with your $40 million, even if you had million behind it ?

        I don’t think that I would at this stage. I do think that raising the salary cap the meager amount is not doing it.

        The Sounders took a lot of risk off the table. Use the Sounder money to get more talent, rather than take even more risk off the table. Better for long term.

        • man99utd says:

          Charles,

          MLS does sod all to increase awareness of the game. I see not adverts where I’m at and this is also true of markets where they exist. There is almost no ESPN coverage at all, and they have some of the rights (this true of the EPL on ESPN as well). I really don’t know what they should do, but I know what they’re not doing. They’re not growing the game at its roots. Here’s the sad fact; if they do nothing the best players in America will go elswhere to make a living. As I’ve said before, patriotism doesn’t feed my family. I really hope MLS doesn’t fail.

    • GBS says:

      those “pigs” are the ones busting there ass on the pitch to make u have faith in a league runned by non soccer fat cats

      idk. im on the middle here. i appreciate the owners having faith in the league and giving alot towards the foundation of the league. i think most are runned by non soccer types but some may do it out of passion. still i think the owners need to step into the shoes of the average player. spending time away from family to CHOOSE to play in a leauge with little pay and little treatement. im in the middle. im not a eurosnob but im not the traditional “make everything like the NFL” american fan. i just want whats best for the league, for the teams, for the fans and important for the players. cuz i aspire to play here one day. i choose to play here far more than Man Utd. but seeing how things might turn out i think my dream will vanish

    • History will vindicate MLS and show that the MLSPU are really greedy, selfish pigs who do not realize they would be pumping gas and mowing lawns if not for the vision of MLS ownership and Don Garber.

      This is exactly the type of rhetoric on both sides of this debate that need to stop and that serve no purpose.

  4. Stevo says:

    As I said in previous posts, it is the billionaire boy’s club that deserves the kudos for sticking around and pouring money in a lifeless endeavor of entertainment to an American public that does not have the commitment or desire to show adequate signs of support for this to really work.

    The player’s union should be fighting for ony a couple of items, that being the ability to play on any MLS team once the existing team drops him, and to be able to have access to the transfer markets on a global scale.

    Increased monies should not be part of the claim.

    • GBS says:

      its not dude, what the want most is free agency and guarranteed contracts. the money thing they are flexible with. what the owners worry is the free spending teams will do to buy the players. the league worries it will loss power and loss parity within the teams and go further into debt. while i dont know about the leagues power hungry stand point i do know that the owners shouldnt worry about free spending because there is still a salary cap in place to stop free spending. im not a soccer business type but from what i know the players have more to loss than the owner

      • Stevo says:

        Dude,

        It is ALL about the money. Free agency creates internal bidding wars. Guaranteed contracts increase costs on players the teams don’t want to hold on to as well.

        Let’s see, the players have more to lose than the owners….. the owners lose millions, the players a couple hundred thousand…… yeah right, the players have more to lose.

    • The American public has bought more tickets for a World Cup in South Africa than the public of any other nation – by a long way.

      If you really think that the weakened, anemic condition of MLS is representative of the state of soccer in this country, you’re with the owners.

      The problem is, it’s not true. MLS can’t touch the demonstrable popularity of the game. Never has.

      In order to blame the American public, you have to exonerate a league that can’t reach a real market.

  5. dan says:

    thank you espn for killing the league and not having enough faith to support the league by not giving it its own 30 minute show and never talking about the league and its teams.

    thanks ESPN YOU B!t(he$

    and thank you EUROSNOBS for hating AMERICA. If it wasn’t for your lack of support the salary cap might be higher and the MLS might be farther along in its growth.
    thanks Eurosnobs aka Posers

    • ESPN had a thirty minute show for several years called MLS Extra Time. It was hosted by Rob Stone. ESPN Games even put out an MLS PS2 game for many years. I still have the 2001 and 2002 editions, one with Clint Mathis on the front. I’m not sure how you can say ESPN has never talked about the league and its teams.

      RE: the Eurosnobs a distinction needs to be made between those who watch Northern European and Southern European leagues. Those who watch Northern European leagues tend to be more supportive of the American game at all levels including entering coaching and youth soccer,while those who watch Southern European leagues are less supportive and involved in the American game.

      • Pakapala says:

        <<>>

        Nice try Kartik! Yeah I’m pretty sure MOST EPL fans in America are very supportive of football in America, NOT! By its very definition Eurosnobs do not support the game in America looking down on it as second rate, that’s why they’re given that name. So what are you even talking about in your poor attempt to turn this into a EPL fans versus La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 fans?

    • Bobby says:

      “and thank you EUROSNOBS for hating AMERICA. If it wasn’t for your lack of support the salary cap might be higher and the MLS might be farther along in its growth.”

      It’s fans of European leagues’ fault that a league they supposedly don’t follow has a labor dispute? That’s an idea so childish it’d be cute if you didn’t actually believe it, but the fact that you do makes it sad, and tragic.

      If I watch Arsenal, both because I support Arsenal and I like that brand of football, watch MLS, and occasionally attend Queens University (Charlotte), Charlotte Eagles and Charlotte Lady Eagles matches. I occasionally write about American soccer — for free, mind you, like >90% of American soccer writers do — as well (even though recently I’ve dropped that to fight a lung infection and find a job). Does that mean I’m a Eurosnob that hates America because I watch Arsenal on the weekends?

      ESPN doesn’t have to show MLS at all, they’re under no obligation to. Congress has passed no law mandating any such thing. Soccer-wise alone they have dozens of other leagues — including two other domestic leagues — they could choose to show over MLS, but they don’t. Of course, this is where you point of that Premier League game they show at 7:30 AM on Saturday when 80% of America is sleeping in. Go ahead, you can still do that. I mean, if you want MLS to play at 7:30 on Saturday morning in January, you can talk to them about it, I don’t think you’ll get very far though.

  6. Robert says:

    This league will start making money when they start listening to actual soccer fans and not a NFL drop out like Garber. Salary Caps do not work in a global market because workers will go where they can get the market price for what they are worth. it’s that simple. the reason why it works in NFL is because we are the only idiots to dress up in tight pants and smash each others heads in. the top nfl athletes do not have any other option but to take artifically low wages. if i was a top American soccer prospect and can potentially earn several million a year why would i go into a system where i earn less than six figures? A dead-weight loss is being created and it can be witnessed on the level of play. People love soccer in this country but no one knows how to run a proper league. Take off the training wheels and let the successful clubs be successful and the other ones wither away.

    • Charles says:

      “Take off the training wheels and let the successful clubs be successful and the other ones wither away. ”

      ….and have fun watching LA, Toronto and Seattle play each other 10 times for your 30 game season.
      One thing is for sure, we could do single table/no playoffs in that scenerio and even I would be ok with it.

      • dan says:

        listen i love the playoffs yea the system needs some tweaking so that its east verse west but the playoffs are exciting.
        besides we have 2 championships in a season.
        the supporters shield go crew
        and mls cup real salt lake

        im happy with this system but needs tweaking

      • Can’t remove caps without opening leagues. Can’t open leagues without removing caps.

        Everybody is right, unless we open leagues.

  7. Flex Buffchest says:

    I agree. There are plenty of people in the US to make MLS profitable. We just don’t have the top players and it’s just not mainstream enough here. Every Galaxy game I’ve gone to has averaged 20-22,000 people. Seattle, Portland, and Phillie will all pull in that much easily. If the league got some of the top players, it would attract more people which would in turn attract media attention, then TV. If it’s in demand, stations will show it and talk about it. Could you imagine if the Galaxy beat top teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Chelsea all the time? They would garner much more attention and be looked up to. Until the MLS gets some top talent, whether importing or creating our own, it just won’t get the respect it deserves.

    • Charles says:

      Once again, how is MLS going to sign top talent ?

      Do you think LA is going to sign top talent with 20-22,000 people when the EPL teams draw that they shared in huge TV revenue….and they still cannot sign the top talent.

      They only way they will sign the top talent is if LA fans go to games.
      Seattle is not far away, some say Toronto if they played in QWest could be close too. The rest of the league ? 15,000 in attendance and a little buzz around town ( or in LAs case 20,000 and zero buzz ).

      The soccer geniuses that don’t attend are killing US Soccer.

      • When you resort to guilt in order to defend any sports league, might that be symptomatic of the leagues problems?

        Toronto and Seattle have history and that new car shine. LA has a big enough supporter base to draw fans, even with MLS imposing mediocrity on their club.

        Imagine a North America in which a league didn’t handicap its own clubs in an desperate attempt to restrain the game in their domestic closed league model. Imagine owners who were driven as hard to build the best possible clubs as their strikers were to score goals.

        We’re really smart enough to know the difference.

        It doesn’t take an expert to notice that fans don’t attend a sporting event to support a league. They go to support their club.

        When a league doesn’t allow that support to translate freely into building a club, supporters are disenfranchised. Disenfranchised supporters don’t return, aren’t loyal, and definitely aren’t passionate.

  8. drew says:

    Here is a silver lining. All this talk about a strike has create more anticipation for the start of the MLS season than any other year since its inception.

  9. Frank says:

    We are at war with the eurosnobs. Led by Gaffer, Krishnaiyer, Trecker and others they have used selective information and even made up facts to suit their agenda of destroying MLS because it left Florida and promoting English and Mexican soccer. The future of world soccer is MLS. I agree with Aaron Stoller and Bill Archer. This website is full of lies, hatred, racism and vile anger towards OUR LEAGUE. Those people who hate MLS HATE AMERICA.

    Like everything in history, Europe is on the way down and America is the world power. Soccer is no different. This is happening in-spite of the opposition from the jerks who run this website. As for Krishnaiyer, seeing that his wacky opinions and his outright lies about MLS TV ratings have now been echoed by the Gaffer it is obvious it wasn’t about one writer or one person but a general attitude of this site and this network which after all id dedicated above all to covering the EPL and putting down American soccer.

    I urge all right minded fans of American soccer to reject ANYTHING published on this site. I hope Archer and Stoller attack Gaffer with the same venom they’ve leveled Krishnaiyer. He deserves it.

    • dan says:

      i partially agree with you we are at war with eurosnobs. but i wouldn’t go around yelling i agree with BILL I THINK PLAYERS SHOULD BE OUR PUPPETS ARCHER. If anything the people i see that have the most common sense is the guys from ITS CALLED FOOTBALL. And this is coming from a columbus crew supporter.

    • Robert Johnson says:

      Frank, please back up your claim that the MLS Ratings that have been used on this website has been falsified? Until you can, shut up about something you have obviously done zero research on.

      Unless you’re calling the Nielsen ratings a big lie, fact is the ratings that have been used around here are the legit ratings. The facts of them do hurt a bit, just get use to it.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Frank, stop with the lies and propaganda, please. I have never used made up facts to “suit [my] agenda of destroying MLS because it left Florida.” And I don’t promote Mexican soccer. I don’t hate MLS. And I don’t hate America. Why do you think I would run a website named MLS Talk? It’s here to discuss and analyze the league and to provide intelligent positive and negative analysis.

      Try to use some facts in your attacks on me rather than throwing out cheap shots and spreading lies.

      If you knew anything about me, I support MLS and the American game in this country. Don’t make stuff up, please.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Please provide evidence that either Gaffer or I have manipulated statistics related to MLS’ TV ratings. I even have written pieces about MLS’ improving TV ratings. Of course when you start from a smallish base, small improvements are important. If you are referring to my claims that the TV ratings were higher in 1999 than in 2009, the Sports Business Journal was my source. I suppose they made up the ratings also.

      The rest of your mad rants here speak for themselves. I applaud your enthusiasm for MLS but wish that you did not feel you have to trash the rest of the football world in the process.

    • Bobby says:

      It’s way too late for this, but I’m going to do it anyway.

      I write here too sometimes, and as such I should probably be as restrained and graceful as The Gaffer and Kartik are in the comments section, but I’m not. I’m a bitch.

      Frank, you’re a moron. You’re a moron who was probably coddled too much as a child, in fact, you’re probably still being coddled to this very day. I’m not sure who coddles you, I won’t even venture a guess. I spend a lot of time on the internet and as such I’ve seen a lot of strange things. To each his own — hey, I’m a hippie — hair, sandals, baggy jeans, everything — free love is awesome.

      You know how I can tell you’re coddled? By your comment at the end, you implore someone else to do your dirty work for you. “Gee guys, I sure hope Bill Archer puts these guys in their place, what do you say?!”. I’m apathetic toward Bill Archer, I don’t know him, nor is it man’s place to pass judgment upon another man, so I won’t. But this isn’t about Bill Archer, it’s about you, sunshine.

      Though Kartik writes less now that he used to, due to his job with the NASL creating a conflict of interest, that man pumped out obscene amounts of American soccer content — for free — for years. Obscene amounts. What you’ve done is go on sites like MLS Talk — which The Gaffer works hard on and pays to keep online as a free resource and community for American soccer fans — and BigSoccer and bitch and moan about how mean ol’ Kartik and that obvious anti-American The Gaffer didn’t say what you wanted to hear. Oh, woe is me Frank! The bleeding liberal heart that beats in my chest breaks for you!

      Please, can it. I get so unbelievably tired of you and your ilk of “patriots” that spend every waking hour combing the blogosphere for a blog post that doesn’t fall in lockstep with the way American sports are supposed to be. God, heaven and an army of angels forfend that someone think differently than Frankie, for it is the most irreversible of all sins.

      If it weren’t for the respect I have for The Gaffer for paying money out of his own pocket to give people like you a place to read American soccer news — and yes, do what you do best, bitch and moan — I’d write a piece right now just to stick in your craw.

    • Thanks to everyone at MLS Talk for showing the courage to leave these kind of comments up for scrutiny, and allowing genuine debate to proceed.

      From the current situation, it looks to me like the sky is a lot closer to falling on MLS than any european league. Just like it fell on NASL, ASL, et al.

      American soccer is hot. MLS is not.

      It’s not the sport, it’s the league.

  10. Robert says:

    Frank,

    you’re an idiot and you know nothing about soccer.

  11. doorworker says:

    “It’s not like this league is a work of completion. It’s not like we have accomplished what we have to accomplish to be stable and to know we have a great future. It’s not like we have reached the potential of a soccer league in this country.We do this out of passion. If this were a business, we would have quit this 10 years ago…”…

    [unspoken clarification:] …so the drones, these insignificant little shit-flecks of throughput, better wise up and let management play them for whatever kind of dancing monkeys the shortcomings of this not-yet-a-business calls for, right up ’til the unlikely time when WE say they deserve a seat at the grown-up table…

    I, for one, an happy to see that pushed back on.

    Players standing up, showing a little dignity, insisting on a fair bargain is ‘part of the process’ of league-building too.

    I have yet to hear what part of the players’ demands are unreasonable. If the ‘billionaire’s boys club’-fluffers here are right, and the league is an unsustainable folly, supplying something there’s no demand for, then it should go away. That I get. Seems a little ‘off’ given the popularity of the sport in kids leagues and schools, but given that scenario, I get it.

    But that’s got fuck-all to do with expecting the players union to settle for less than THEY decide is worth the trouble.

    How could it be that anyone better appreciates what’s at stake here–an appreciation combined with an intimate sense of ‘what the market will bear’ in terms of player compensation–than the players themselves?!

    Commenters crying for the poor abused owners, and pissing on what might well be the lowest-paying ‘division 1′ professional sports league in the world’s richest nation, and almost certainly the lowest-paying men’s soccer league in the industrialized world–well, it’s pathetic. What a very stupid and useless thing is any “fan” that takes sides with management over the athletes in a case like this.

    It’s, in itself, an argument for cheering on the league’s dissolution.

    Unless, again, someone wants to open my eyes as to what it is these people are asking for that’s so over the moon. I’m not seeing it:
    http://www.mlsplayers.org/files/september_15_2009_salary_information__by_club.pdf

    • CoconutMonkey says:

      Great Post! That’s some real good information!

      I can’t believe a fatty like Blanco gets paid 3 times more than Landon Donovan. Craziness.

  12. Frank says:

    Who are you Robert? Some American who magically discovered Liverpool or Manchester when you were 30 years old and made them your team.

    Don’t lecture me about soccer. I actually support the game in this country not in someone else’s country like you.

    • Bobby says:

      You proved you don’t know anything about soccer when you said “Manchester”. There is no “Manchester”. There’s “Manchester United” (“United”, “Man Utd”, or if you must, “Man U”), and “Manchester City” (“Man City”, or “City”).

      And no, it isn’t acceptable. Especially when you consider which one actually plays IN Manchester. But that’s an argument for another day.

    • Charles says:

      I appreciate the support, we all should.
      But you are personally attacking people, not their ideas.

      Then you appeared to be lying yourself when you stated they lied.

  13. dan says:

    the players should have the right to go to the other clubs to look for work. lets quit running this league like it is china.

    • Bobby says:

      Haha, this comment got negative votes? All he wants is for players to be able to move around freely. You know, like you negative voters can do when a new Pep Boys opens.

      For the record, Dan. I agree 100%. Some will say “It’ll create bidding wars!”, but I fail to see the problem. Smart owners will sign smart scouts and make smart signings, like Arsenal. It could also mean that smaller clubs will be more inclined to develop great players so they don’t have to go out and cut a fat check to get one.

  14. NASL1 says:

    The demise of MLS…First I would like to thank all you loser MLSnobs, who thought that MLS has to be like NFL.

    Second those same MLSnobs who never demanded growth of the league.

    Third those same MLSnobs who pray at the feet of ‘Don”. because he gave you parity, that same parity is the demise of the league.

    RIP MLS- it was a teenager who was never allowed to leave the basement.

  15. Robert says:

    Frank, i am a grown as man and do not refer to teams as mine. I enjoy watching competition and I never refer to a situation where a team i enjoy watching as “We Won…”.

    i was born in the usa and played club futbol in mexico and unfortunatley at the age of 17 i suffered a career ending injury. Unlike yourself I am not a 30 year old fat guy wearing a extra tight MLS kit with a ketchup stain on it. I bet you never even played an organized game.

    we as fans have to right to disagree with MLS until they put out a product that people will support. you are the problem for allowing the USSF and MLS control the destiny of the US’s professional and international development.

  16. NASL1 says:

    If you want casual fans to come and support MLS, have a better product on the field.

  17. Mark says:

    This site’s comment sections just keep getting crazier and crazier. Maybe people don’t go to MLS games because they’re afraid of the fans.

  18. Mark says:

    I don’t know how things are in other MLS cities, but I wonder how teams promote themselves. If I’m any sort of representative example, Rapids marketing doesn’t aim itself at the likes of me. I live along the Colorado Front Range–not in Denver, but within 40 minutes or so of the stadium. I think I had some vague awareness that there was a pro soccer team in Colorado, but really didn’t know anything about them until 2008, when my wife’s company had their summer picnic at a game. (That was the first game I’ve ever seen live.) Until then, I didn’t even know there was a stadium in Commerce City. I watch most of the Broncos and Rockies games (but not many of the Nuggest and Avs), and yet I can’t remember seeing any ads for the Rapids.

    Maybe their marketing wasn’t aimed at people me because I’m not a kid and watch more baseball than any other sport. But I saw a match completely out of chance and had a good time, and decided to give the Rapids a chance.

    Perhaps that’s a good sign that they finally reached me, and in such a tangible way. On the other hand, it can’t be a good sign that I had almost no awareness of the Rapids or the MLS as a league.

    • Bobby says:

      Some teams market much better than others, the Rapids are pretty terrible about marketing.

      Though they’re pretty much maligned for naming the team after an energy drink, Red Bull doesn’t skimp when it comes to advertising. Credit where it’s due.

    • By insulating clubs in the closed league single entity, shielding owners from every conceivable risk, we’re disincentivizing some from doing marketing at all, while they sit and wait for their franchise value to appreciate.

      Like the LA Clippers.

  19. Jason says:

    It tells you something that when the Euro clubs come here. The stadiums can be 80,000 – 100,000 people easily for those games. MLS averages under 20,000 however. I can’t blame them. The only time I ever see DC United for instance in person (Wash Dc is about a 3 hour drive for me), is when the play international competition.

    • Flex Buffchest says:

      Maybe that’s why. Try going to a regular DC United MLS game. You may like it.

    • MLS has the distinction of being the only league in recorded history that caps crowds. Seattle actively limits crowds. DC has too, in the past.

      The ironclad growth curve must be maintained, so as not to give the appearance of a well supported club, and embarass clubs who’ve bought into the system by investing in small and medium sized stadiums.

      Cosmosphobia runs deep with MLS. No one club can be allowed to rise too far above the rest, and that applies to every facet of the business. It begs too many questions.

      • Mark says:

        MLB caps crowds, though not to the extent that Seattle likely is this season. Still, there’s a trend towards going a little smaller with the stadium to create a feeling of scarcity.

        When it comes to the SSS, I can see why they aimed for the range they did. If MLS clubs had huge demand and could charge NHL prices as they filled their 18,000 seat stadia, I don’ t think anyone would be embarrassed. But demand just isn’t there yet.

        As for your cosmophobia point, I’m not sure what you mean, esp. by the “begs too many questions” line. Yeah, there’s cosmophobia, or New Jersey Generals phobia–MLS management clearly doesn’t want that sort of league. I don’t see the point of going around in circles on this site about that point.

  20. Daniel Feuerstein says:

    First off let me thank NASL1 for proving that he wants MLS to fail. Secondly to Frank. The Gaffer & Kartik have always supported this league, but when there is a time to be critical it was deserved.

    I have enjoyed the game here in the states with my club & watching the other leagues in Europe thru FSC, GOL TV & when ESPN had the Champions League, the Dutch League and now they have brought back the English Premiership.

    I want the American Player to succeed as well as our Leagues to succeed. How else can our players be scouted by Euro Clubs if they never play in MLS, the new NASL, USL & PDL. High Schools & Colleges are not enough.

    When it comes to the overall health of MLS, it’s not just better play & paying the players it’s also building stadiums. Tim Leiweke has made the point crystal clear. To be honest if AEG didn’t help keep the league afloat and bring in new owners thru that rough period, it all could have fallen apart.

    This is my worst fear & I have written about it. One day of Blood in the water, meaning a strike is just enough for people like Jim Rome and soccer haters to tell us that it’s over. A long time ago on Big Soccer, there was a post by someone and that poster said “Just shut down MLS and let the good American’s play in Europe.” How is that possible?

    Should Sweden shutdown their hockey league so all their best players come over to the NHL? Should every European Basketball league shut down and all of their players come over to the NBA? How about the Asian Countries shut down their Baseball Leagues to play in Major League Baseball. Of course it’s stupid to think that, but that’s what people like NASL1 wants to happen.

    To any American footy fan that watches the Premiership, La Liga, Serie A or German Bundasliga, I have never said “Don’t watch those leagues, support MLS only” We all know those are the best leagues in the world. But what I grow tired of and frustrated is the lack of pride when no one wants to support our league. There is no shame in supporting Chelsea and your local US Soccer Club at the same time, but sadly those of you are.

    YES! THE LEVEL OF PLAY STINKS! BUT I DON’T GIVE A DAMN! IT’S MY LEAGUE AND I’M PROUD OF IT! I’m proud of being a Metro/RBNY supporter & yes I feel terrible for Kartik & the Gaffer when Miami Fusion was taken away from them. I understood why, but I didn’t like it when it happened.

    http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/serious-analyzing-for-mls-single-table-promotion-relegation/2180

    All of you that wants MLS to be like England or like Europe just don’t understand that right now it’s not going to work. I will agree with most of you that this league is not on the edge of the cliff, but if this Strike happens the players are pushing it over the cliff.

    I hate these rules of acquiring players and I want the clubs to handle everything. But these annoyances must remain for the continued health and safety of the league. This growth will continue at a snails pace and if none of you anti MLS people can’t see that, then your completely lost. I am not saying that I want Single Entity to remain. Somewhere in the future the league has to end it. But right now, it has to remain.

    Everything is intertwined with the growth, the health & the progress of this league. If none of you that only supports the Euro clubs can see this then you have failed not just for this league, but to be honest future American players that could be discovered and make that jump to Europe.

    And if you don’t believe me, then let the strike happen and kill MLS altogether.

    • Daniel

      You acknowledge a reality – that euro soccer can’t work here at this instant. Why don’t you acknowledge that MLS helps to perpetuate that reality for their own non-soccer ends? If supporters don’t stand up against their stilted model, what makes you think this league will ever find it in the goodness of their collective NFL hearts to grant us the open european game?

      You wait for an incremental change that MLS was designed to resist.

      The worst fear of the American closed league establishment vis a vis open leagues and free market meritocracy is that the model might penetrate, might succeed, and might open their other leagues to the same scrutiny that MLS is under here.

      Designed from the start to maintain the game in our closed league model by imposing mediocrity on our clubs to generate synthetic parity, MLS is about as likely to divest out of it as McDonalds would divest out of their business model, and will be less likely to do so the longer they are allowed to perpetuate it.

      The model was never designed to incentivize owners to bring us the best soccer by building the best clubs that supporters could support. Yet, that’s what the european pyramid was designed to do, and that’s the pyramid over which they cynically preside.

      Like their NFL stepbrothers, they act the typical American sports league. They cynically manage competition to promote parity, shield owners from risk, and try to kill off competitors.

      Obviously, soccer grew to dominate the sports world by avoiding this conundrum.

      How does the single entity go away someday? If you agree that the the MLS business model is more like Hooter’s than ManU’s, how does that divestiture proceed? MLS owners are acting the part of spoiled, entitled children now. You really think that will change when they become a spoiled, entrenched and profitable children? Then they’ll divest out of the single entity?

      This conundrum been going on for a century, because we put every league in front of every club – and MLS is a league that puts itself further in front of it’s clubs than any other American sports league.

      Despite failing repeatedly, we’re still trying to jam an international sport like soccer into our local domestic model. Waiting for MLS and a captive USSF to make these changes is like waiting for Robert Downey Jr. to pass a drug test.

      There are no examples of the model failing in a large developed nation with a long standing pro sports culture. You may be right – we can’t open the leagues tonight. But if we lay the groundwork today, we can do it tomorrow. Yes, MLS owners will scream like Drew Barrymore did when she first met ET. Then, the ones that put the game first will grow to love the free market that has become so alien to our domestic sports.

      There’s money to be made and clubs to build. If USSF has the courage to build an open pyramid, regionalized for our lower divisions, investors will come.

      It’s sad that our anticompetitive sports market will not adopt these changes willingly. It is pretty pathetic that if change does come, it will be because supporters don’t support the MLS imitation of the total competition that is a hallmark of the game, and demand a change.

      Still, it’s a whole lot more realistic than waiting for our spoiled owners to open themselves up to the risks that took the game to planetary success.

      Allowing MLS to try and eke out survival by owning first division status and limiting it’s own clubs may be the corporate way, but there it sits, on the edge of survival, while the popularity of the game leaves it in the dust.

  21. NASL1 says:

    The reason MLS will fold is because players will not want to play in a league where you don’t have freedom, the team owners dictate your transfers. it’s 2010 not 1994

  22. Stevo says:

    Mr. Feuerstein:

    I don’t get your post. This is not amateur soccer, this is “Professional” soccer, meaning that there has to be content that creates enough demand where the public will buy it, the networks will pay for it and the fans buy the merchandise.

    If the US is not ready for “Professional” soccer, then let the market conditions determine when it will be ready (vis-a-vis early basketball, golf, etc.). Once the market is ready,then let “Professional” soccer go rampant.

    To blindly and simply acknowledge that the US Division I “Professional” soccer, as you put it… “YES! THE LEVEL OF PLAY STINKS! BUT I DON’T GIVE A DAMN! IT’S MY LEAGUE AND I’M PROUD OF IT”, then we should be focusing on amateur soccer and build it up to a point where “Professional” soccer can actually be successful.

    And unfortunately, it is NOT your league, it is the billionaire boy’s club league, they are the ones that are feeding millions of dollars a year into it.

    Your contribution does not do enough to offset that. They appreciate your help, and would like another 50,000,000 fans like you, but we (meaning us U.S. citizens) are not there in numbers yet, and will not be unless the amateur side blossoms even more than it does now.

  23. Charles says:

    I think that the players need to look at the owners and see if they are bargaining in “good faith”…if they are, what you are you doing striking ?

    I guess the reason I said slightly with the owners, while seeing the player’ side, is that I just don’t believe outside of Seattle any team is making any money at all. I realize Toronto is profitable, most likely slightly, but it the end it is all about money…..and there is none.

    NASL1 puts out the opposite side, but NASL1, do you really think that Altidore WANTS to play at Hull ? I watched the game last night, there is no way he wants to play there, but they control his contract, he wanted to play in EPL. How is it much different in MLS ?

    • 3441 says:

      If Hull were in MLS they would be easily one of the worst teams.

      Jozy and these other starry eyed kids are fed a load of B/S by the Eurosnobs who dominate the media led by sites like this one, and go to teams that could not even compete in the league they left.

      How is that progress for the American game? Having American World Cup players massacred each week on the likes of Hull and the nothing club in Germany Michael Bradley plays for justifies both guys leaving Red Bull when they were 18? How have they improved since leaving? Same for Freddy Adu? Where on god’s green earth is Aris Salonika? Has anyone ever heard of it? Everyone knows where Washington DC is, and DC United. Oh, and I am sure DC United and most MLS teams could kill Aris Salonika.

      • Bobby says:

        Honestly? Hull would win the title in MLS. Don’t kid yourself.

        The wages they made here are peanuts compared to what they make in Europe. Peanuts. Bradley plays before crowds of 44,000 at home every week at the five-time German champions. One of the biggest clubs, support-wise, in all of soccer.

        Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-city, it’s quite important historically. If you were smart you’d know that.

  24. Brickthrower says:

    MLS needs:
    - Better coaching.
    - More ownership interest in each club (the one owner per club idea has got to go).
    - Work to KEEP top quality American players in the MLS. (The World Cup is coming up and don’t you think it would help attendance of say the Chicago Fire if Carlos Bocanegra signs with them.)
    - Sign a handful of big well known stars in the sport. (Sadly, this needs to be done. The typical American soccer fan is too stupid to recognize a good player by watching them play. They purchase tickets to games where a players who everyone else tells them is great is playing in. This needs to be done to properly market the league. The investment will be worth it. Each team with a new player will instantly increase their attendance by 5,000. That means they could afford to pay the player at least 2 mil/season and make double that in ticket sales and merchandising alone.

    • Fans go to games to support their clubs, not to see pretty play. Cowboys stadium isn’t filled with NFL supporters, it’s filled with Cowboy fans.

      Open leagues give supporters a share in their club. MLS gives them a share in their league, once owners eke out a profit.

      Nobody goes to any game, in any league, to cheer the league.

  25. Bayou says:

    I don’t see how not loving the MLS makes one anti-American. I’d rather watch BBC America than CBS, does that make me anti-American? I think Monty Python is funnier than Jimmy Kimmel, am I a terrorist? I was born here. I support the national team and have since 1990, but I follow Liverpool and have since 1992. The MLS didn’t exist until 1996 and in Montana, we didn’t hear about it until 1997. The MLS has never appealed to me. It’s slow, prone to flopping and theatrics, and I’ve never lived near enough a team to support one. I also don’t like the NBA, should I be moving to another country?

  26. NASL1 says:

    Everyone that thinks the owners aren’t making money can stick their heads up their ass. 10 years ago they weren’t making money,but as of 2010 you bet they are making money. why do you think they don’t want to give a little to the players.??????

    and with 7 days to go it’s a stalemate. if their is a strike I blame the greedy owners. and all those teams should just go to NASL.

    Remember the players are the ones that fought hard to bring the league were it;s at now.

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>