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Television, MLS, and The Snake Exhibit

soccer tv Television, MLS, and The Snake Exhibit

In the relatively short span that I’ve being a fan of MLS, I have grown to consider the television coverage of MLS to be like the Snake Exhibit at your local zoo: isolated, thought of in a wide variety of fashions from cool to ambivalent to disgusting, and lacking the level of interaction that allows the observer to experience first-hand what is to be offered.

I know that’s a stretch, but networks like ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel have treated MLS like an afterthought in my opinion.

If you look at the major sports in America, all have at least one of what I would label a “feature network.” Baseball has FOX and ESPN, the NBA is on ABC/ESPN. NHL, Versus. College basketball, CBS. For the NFL, it is such a popular product that it has three networks that devote extensive coverage (CBS, FOX, and ESPN). And each have auxiliary networks that devote fewer resources and tend to simply broadcast games (for instance, baseball has TBS).

My observation in watching the second half of last season is that MLS has no feature network, but instead two auxiliary networks. In that timeframe, I watched a number of MLS games on ESPN2 and FSC. I would characterize the coverage as “drive-by” coverage. They show the game, but do very little to promote the product outside of the match at hand. It’s as if they view MLS as a flawed product, and are only doing it a favor to give the appearance that they care about domestic soccer.

Let’s take NASCAR as an example of a sport on the fringe that saw a huge gain in popularity throughout the last decade. In the 80′s and 90′s, ESPN treated it in an auxiliary, race-to-race fashion without much build-up prior to the race. In that stretch, stock car racing had an small-but-intense fan base, much like MLS does now. When FOX purchased the rights to broadcast NASCAR, it ramped up its exposure with pre- and post-race analysis and features. They also brought in fan-friendly drivers such as Darrell Waltrip to provide colorful commentary during the event. It was a risk that allowed FOX, and ultimately NASCAR, to expand the fan base, an in turn reap huge financial benefits. And all for a sport that features cars driving 300 times around an oval track with the occasional wreck. Please convince me that’s more exciting than a soccer match.

In looking at the MLS schedule, there is a period around Independence Day where ESPN2 takes an aggressive approach and shows 4 games in the span of three days. In my opinion, the network that purchases additional rights should be held to a standard that rivals that July 2-4 stretch. FSC’s Premier League coverage includes games at 10 AM and 12:30 PM, plus a full complement of  pre and post-match analysis. Additionally, they show another game on Sunday morning. Why couldn’t such an aggressive broadcast regimen be devoted to MLS? My belief is that the product would draw the ratings, if they did it right.

What do you think? Is this a demand that MLS can afford to make? Am I off-base in my characterization of the coverage devoted to MLS in 2010? My opinion is that, as long as MLS allows networks to relegate it to back-burner coverage, its growth will be stunted. At some point a network has to take a chance and feature the sport. Until a risk is taken similar to FOX’s gamble on NASCAR, the sport will continue to find difficulty making headway in the market.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

158 Responses to Television, MLS, and The Snake Exhibit

  1. Robert says:

    Anyone who has taken a marketing class would understand that you can’t market a bad product. MLS needs to improve the quality on the field before asking networks for huge amounts of money. MLS needs to garner an audience and sell that audience to advertisers.

    MLS also needs to understand the importance of having matches at the same time/day every single week. Teams need to play Saturday/Sunday and at the same time of the day (Eastern time) [See: NFL scheduling]. Last season I would sit on the couch for Thurs. night match and ESPN2 would be showing volleyball or pool and moved the weekly match to Sat night.

    • Charles says:

      Yeah, noone sold sub-prime bonds over the last 10 years.

      One, Great product.
      Two, you are wrong.

    • dan says:

      you are completely wrong

      mls is a fine product. people that say this have barely seen any matches.

      i agree 100% that mls is shafted in broadcasting and improving that would probably make a HUGE impact on MLS. Perhaps Garber needs to define the TV contract better? And I wish they would take it off shitty FSC and put it on Versus, I hate FSC. They don’t have HD anywhere!

      • Alistair says:

        I agree! I watch FSC but they treat the MLS like Sh*t. I just wish he would make the right decision and move the league to Versus Channel.

  2. NJ says:

    I don’t think MLS is in a position to demand anything. Their ratings have not been good enough yet. Hopefully, they will improve this year with some of the intense rivalries we should be allowed to see in the NorthWest, across Canada, and if DC, NE, and Philly have better teams we could get some nice games out East. I agree the quality on the field has to improve, and I think the league is heading in the right direction with the reserve league and letting teams sign their academy players, but for this contract I think the league is still building and is at least 1 more TV contract away from being able to make demands.

    • Earl Reed says:

      Both you and Robert make plenty of sense about the on-field product.

      Maybe my use of demand was strong. I do think that MLS should expect a quality job of coverage, and seeing that most feedback is that FSC didn’t cut it, perhaps going to Versus could be seen as an exercise in accountability.

      • Charles says:

        Robert makes sense about on-field product ?
        HE DOESN’T WATCH MLS !??!

        Most likely NJ doesn’t either.

        wth.

        • alex says:

          Charles you’re. Just pissed cuz you know you’re wrong. MLS quality is poor very poor. MLS only playing cards to market to fans is Beckham and Henry. MLS quality is sub par and needs to improve if it ever wants to demand any attention. Also I think MLS is trying to cater to the wrong fans. Garbage garber want to convert NFL NBA and MLB fans into soccer fans which can explain the emphasis on conferences playoffs kiddie nicknames and a all star game. I think MLS should try to reach out to the hardcore soccer fans instead try to deep fry and batter soccer. Sounds to me like you don’t watch MLS or real soccer for that matter

          • Charles says:

            First all I am not pissed, just can’t believe someone is going to listen to a guy on that point, that doesn’t even watch MLS.

            Earl is right. Not sure if the network, the league, or the fans should be the ones demanding more.
            I would say all three, especially the fans. IF you are Robert are not fans, I don’t care, go buy a Man U jersey or something equally stupid.

            Hard core soccer fans, as they call themselves are a joke for the most part. MLS would be stupid, and has been stupid in the past to try to court them.
            They believe that MLS has to improve before they will watch. And by improve they mean become Barca.

            Vancouver and Seattle are the models of the fans MLS needs.
            They care about their team, they follow other sports, but they love their soccer.

            I don’t watch MLS ? I have been rooting for the Sounders, most likely, for longer than you have been alive.

            What the heck are you talking about ? You have lost it.
            Season tickets come in the mail next week BABY !!!!……and anyone with brains can’t wait !!!!!

          • Robert says:

            @Charles,

            Like i have said before I don’t support any MLS franchise because I don’t have a discount soccer outlet in my city. However, 10 mins. over the Mexican Border I support Club Tijuana which is a true club. Unlike Sounders Franchise Club, Club Tijuana might get into La Primera by earning their way in through promotion rather than paying a franchise fee like your Sounders.

            MLS IS courting the hardcore fan by ditching the count down clock, shoot-out etc. It’s only a matter of time before MLS conforms even further.

          • nick says:

            you really lost it when you said mls is not real soccer. Do you think they use their hands or something?

            It’s really pathetic when someone says their too much of a fan to support their local team. They’re just posers, and think they’re are cool for looking down on domestic leagues or something.

          • Rabble Rouser says:

            Can you let me know where to sign up for the mailing list which defines what is good and bad. I must have missed the memo that said we each got to determine that for ourselves.

            Since you have decided what is good and bad in soccer for me, I demand that you stop eating cheese from here on out.

        • NJ says:

          You know what happens when you ASS-ume!!!

  3. IL says:

    You put the games on and build them up the same way they do with other sports and the rating will imporve. No question about it. Its all about presentation, and advertising.

    • Robert says:

      No its not. Its about quality of play! Advertising only takes you so far.

      • IL says:

        Disagree. Qaulity will improve when money comes into the league. Money comes in to the leage via TV. A good channel, showing MLS games regularly, in regular time slots, and putting on a good pre and post game show will drive ratings up and the sport’s popularity with it. The game itself will follow.

      • nick says:

        the most important thing is presentation, as shown by your love affair with the hype of foreign leagues. If you want 2 good match-ups all year that you will watch on tv then stick with the euro leagues.

      • Dan says:

        Sorry Robert, hard to take seriously someone who claims to be a soccer fan but yet refuses to support their Domestic league. I find the Mexican league boring, to much diving and whining. That’s not quality, Its called bad acting.

        • Alan says:

          Not to mention how AWFUL EPL has been. I can’t even watch it due to how bad its been. I can’t believe that people don’t think that an MLS team can compete with the likes of Wigan or West Ham or better. Those teams are awful to watch. The quality of the top 3 have been lacking. Their big appeal in popularity is production and accessibility. Its an easy product to watch. Even “true” soccer fans don’t watch half of the really good teams in the world. They watch EPL and support Chelsea or Man U like everyone else, or maybe Barcelona (who at least are a good team). Either way, the countries that those players come from have fans that support both European soccer AND their domestic leagues. Thats what true soccer fans do. It doesn’t even have to be MLS. It can be Division 4 for all I care. The question is what are you doing to help make your domestic league better at the grass roots level. I barely have a team by me and I can find ways to do it and STILL support the league in Europe that I also enjoy and follow.

          • Alan says:

            Sorry for the rant. I read this blog a lot and enjoy it, but the fanboys on both sides of the argument are not proposing anything to actually fix things and make the MLS and domestic soccer a good product. MLS is getting better and has improved, but it can do better. Why even troll around on blogs like this instead of trying to be a part of the solution to our domestic league. It is what we have. Lets try to fix the problems and enhance the successes of US Soccer.

          • The Gaffer says:

            I disagree. This has been one of the most entertaining Premier League seasons in years with potentially five teams in the race for the title (depending on results this weekend). How exciting the league has been this season can be evidenced by the record-breaking TV viewing figures for Fox Soccer Channel (last Sunday’s Chelsea against Liverpool match was the most-watched game on Fox Soccer Channel ever, while ESPN2 broke the record in late December for the most-watched Premier League match in US history with 610,000 viewers for an early Saturday game while most of the nation is asleep).

            I support local soccer in South Florida too (Miami FC). But there’s enough room for local soccer on a Saturday night and Premier League soccer on weekend mornings.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer
            The Gaffer

          • Alan says:

            While I disagree on the quality part (5 teams being contenders is good, but they have been awful to watch IMHO, but an argument for another blog), I totally agree that there is enough room for domestic and foreign soccer, no matter where it comes from after all. It is a world sport after all. I commend you greatly for your support for your local soccer. I think it is awesome!

          • nick says:

            @ alan, sorry for the fanboyism. When he said mls was not “real” soccer I was annoyed.

          • Alan says:

            It wasn’t directed at anyone specifically Nick. No apology necessary.

  4. Z-Quakes says:

    The reward for any network to televise MLS is the World Cup. MLS control World Cup television rights in the US so when USSF lost the bid, MLS lost their leverage.
    I’m just glad I can follow my team on the road.

  5. Kevin Sutton says:

    Here in Canada, the CFL has seen huge benefits accrue from being a feature presentation of biggest sports network TSN, as opposed to the incomplete coverage by a major network broadcaster like the CBC. TSN has also pulled of the same for the World Junior Hockey Championship which they’ve had rights to. In this market has reached new, almost Olympics-like levels of interest.

    Much as you’ve stated above, when a network doesn’t share the full benefit of a sport or sporting event, it becomes involved in the promotion of a product. Results follow because people can get the full story and background of what they’re seeing, and the amount of airtime and quality of that airtime and production devoted to the product also increases.

    It is my understanding that Canadian broadcasts of MLS may be heading away from CBC towards TSN, much like the CFL did. Hopefully with the new teams and new broadcaster, viewer interest will increase over the next few years.

    • Kevin Sutton says:

      *Correction/clarification*

      MLS games in Canada are as of now still split between a bunch of broadcasters. I’m hoping they will all migrate together under one cable sports umbrella.

    • Charles says:

      I wanted CBC, but only because we could watch in Seattle.
      TSN sounds like it will be great for all two, soon three teams.

      • Kevin Sutton says:

        Yeah… being cable, less people have access and I don’t know how many of our cable networks can be found in at all in the US. But within Canada at least, the reach of TSN almost as much as over-the-air broadcasters. Too bad about not being able to tune in outside the border though. :~/

  6. Charles says:

    Not too worried about the National coverage, it will come as the fans do.
    And as MLS expands. Right now 19 cities, aint gonna do it.

    The local coverage is the bigger deal right now.

    • Robert says:

      If local coverage is a big deal than what happens to the entire Southern United States without a MLS team?

      • Charles says:

        They are not watching anyways.
        Haven’t you seen the MLS ratings ?

        EXPANSION will happen. I just hope MLS doesn’t do anything stupid like pause at 20 teams because a few radicals that want it that way.

        • Robert says:

          A league can only manage 24 teams but since we have international play + Cup competitions 18-20 should be the max. Obviously you have never played at any competitive level beyond your Rec. League. Playing that many matches in a compressed amount of time takes a toll on players’ bodies.

          I’m fine with expanding beyond 20 teams but as long as they develop MLS-2.

          • IL says:

            You are assuming it would be a balanced schedule. It doesn’t make sense to have one in a contry as big as the US. We are talking about wearing players out with all the travel. Its not Europe. We have to adjust to local conditions including the size of the country (like every other US league). With an unbalanced schedule the number of matches can stay the same as with a 20 team league.

          • Heimdall says:

            I agree that we can’t blame any city for not watching MLS when the closest team is more than 200 miles away so areas like the South get a pass from me since it is devoid of teams, but second tier soccer won’t raise the pulse in any city with MLB.

            Just compare Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco (California Victory), and Toronto. Sure Seattle had decent numbers but D2 is better served in cities whose summer competition is minor league baseball like Portland, Vancouver, Rochester, Monteal. It also dampens stadium investment. How happy would the Red Bulls be if they opened their stadium in the second tier? Would prudent, risk averse owners build something as grand?

        • David says:

          “Radicals” like international rules which limit top divisions to 20 teams?

          It’s actually pretty easy to have a 20 team top flight in a geographically large nation. See Brazil. But hey, what do they know about soccer?

          Instead we should reinvent the wheel and trust some guy (Garber) that managed to drive an NFL league into bankruptcy. Brilliant.

        • David says:

          “Radicals” like international rules which limit top divisions to 20 teams?

          It’s actually pretty easy to have a 20 team top flight in a populous, geographically large nation. See Brazil. But hey, what do they know about soccer?

          Instead we should reinvent the wheel and trust some guy (Garber) that managed to drive an NFL league into bankruptcy. Brilliant.

  7. Magin Argueta says:

    You also forgot to mention that the NFL also has contract with NBC and has its own network (NFL Network) that also televises games. As far as the quality of play I think the MLS is improving. I see a lot of boring soccer in the big leagues of Europe and not to mention South America and people still watch. It’s just a matter of establishing a fan base, rivalries, history and so on. I wish ESPN would outreach to the huge hispanic community through the spanish channel and radio station. Unfortunately, those people spent all the time talking about other leagues (most of them boring I must say) instead of our league. If you ask one of the guys in radio or tv a MLS question, they will give you the wrong answer 90% of the time. As I fan who watches games I am pleased with the quality of play even though I know the MLS can do better. By the way, even with all the giant sports (NFL, NBA, MLB) around, the MLS is still ranked third in attendance in the America’s and top twelve in the world. How is that bad quality of play?

    • CGYoung says:

      I watch a lot of soccer. The quality in MLS continues to improve. MLS teams are very comparable to all European teams outside of the top 14 clubs (Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, RealMadrid, Barcelona, etc.). I believe MLS teams would compete against the bottom half of virtually every league in the world. The fact is that entrenched media, TV, radio, newspapers, etc., just won’t cover soccer the way they cover other sports. MLS needs to continue progressing qualitywise and needs to negotiate the best deals they can with all media outlets. At some point we will need an MLS network. Right now, I ‘d like to see MLS on FSC and on Versus to get broader exposure. 18 teams this year, 19 next year, and then on to at least 24 teams in the next 5 years.

      • Robert says:

        CGYoung,

        Considering MLS Franchises’ have never won on Mexican soil (Top 10 League). I highly doubt MLS franchises could compete in any of the European leagues.

        • Dan says:

          We all know that the refs protect the Mexican teams from losing on Mexican Soil. So Might want to slow down on your lust for MEXICO.

      • David says:

        “I believe MLS teams would compete against the bottom half of virtually every league in the world.”

        Sorry anyone who thinks this cannot be serious. 400,000 pounds is the AVERAGE salary of a footballer in England’s second division. That means that the average Championship player makes almost as much as an entire MLS team’s salary cap number.

        If all these MLS players were good enough to play in second and third division clubs in Europe (or South America even) they would go there and make real money instead of playing for $50,000 a year and working at Starbucks in the offseason.

        European scouts will go the remotest villages in Ghana and Togo to scout prospects; if they thought MLS players were good enough to bring over, they would be making bids for them every single transfer window. But they’re not.

        Leauges are just the players who play in them. Most second division Brazilian and Argentine teams would wipe the floor with MLS squads. I go to MLS games (DC United), Fred is one of the better players in MLS and only had offers from third and fourth division Brazilian teams.

    • Dave C says:

      the MLS is still ranked third in attendance in the America’s and top twelve in the world. How is that bad quality of play?
      Attendance isn’t the same as quality of play (although in theory they should be linked)

      • Alex says:

        i totally agree with Dave C, attendance shouldnt be confused with quality of play. and yes they should in theory be linked together.

        @ Charles, what he meant was Garber was the commish. of NFL Europa. hmmmmm can you say “dissolved”? i dont trust a former nfl exec surrounded by nfl owners running a soccer league.

  8. Clayton says:

    Still confused how a blog called MLSTalk.com can consistently be so freaking negative about MLS and American soccer in general. I’m not referring to this article, but most of the comments and most of the articles on this site seem to suggest MLS should just fold.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Clayton, there’s a difference between being critical of MLS and being fan boys. We prefer to call it as we see it and give honest criticism, holding nothing back… whether it’s positive or negative.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Alan says:

      I agree about the negativity. There are negatives, but there are in every league. Lets focus on enhancing the positive and fixing the negative in a productive way.

    • Charles says:

      Clayton,

      The Trolls always post on articles like this.

      Check out the articles where only 10 people post. They are about actual soccer….weeds out the Trolls, who don’t watch soccer in the US.

      And Gaffer, when someone posts something negative about the EPL, you jump a lot quicker than when they negative post about MLS huh ?

      5 teams can win it still…wow, what league are you watching ?

      • Alan says:

        Agreed Charles,

        The MLS has problems, maybe more or less than any other league, but the point is that EVERY league has problems. Manchester United will win another title, as will Barcelona. Maybe next year it will be Chelsea or Real Madrid. Riveting.

        The big point though is that there is no reason not to support domestic soccer. It is not about Garber. It is about SOCCER. Every other country manages to support their domestic side AND watch some European soccer. For everybody that trolls around on this site and complains about how we don’t have soccer like the world has it, they always forget this fact.

        For those that want to see changes, take baby steps. Besides, how can you ask for change, not support your domestic leagues, and expect someone to take you seriously. Because you are a real soccer fan that doesn’t support your domestic league like every other soccer fan in the world? Come on.

        Second, and onto the real subject, if FSC can promote the nPower Football League (REALLY??????????) and have weekly shows on J-League and happenings around Asia, then they can do a better job or airing coverage of US Soccer in all its forms (MLS, NASL, USL, college) in a weekly show at least. I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks that the nPower Football League is more exciting than watching your domestic league, then you are crazy. And, people can’t support a club 200 miles away but they can support one halfway around the world? I just don’t get it. These people should focus on being a part of the solution. There is nothing wrong with tuning in to soccer from around the globe (it is a global sport) but it is growing here, and yes it can change too. People should take advantage of it and stop trolling.

        Sorry for my rant. It is getting a little old. There are people here trying to positively promote the actual soccer being played. Oh, and when I say you I mean the general you, not you specifically Charles.

  9. ExtraMedium says:

    Once again I have a solution. It’s called friday night. I’m writing this at 7:30pm est and FSC just finished showing a Champions’ League preview show at 7:00pm est, and is now showing an EPL preview show. Interesting…but I’d rather watch games. So there you go. FRIDAY NIGHT FUTBOL!

    Play 2+ games at 7:30pm est and 2+ games at 10:15pm est. Then give the rights holder the right to switch games March Madness style so people get to watch the best games.

    One more thing. If a team can’t afford to fly across the country then they shouldn’t be in “Major” League Soccer. Just saying.

  10. Sean says:

    Robert you should just move to mexico we don’t want you here

    • Shawn says:

      No kidding. How can anyone who’s watched MLS since 1996 or even just the past 5 years say the quality hasn’t improved? It’s night and day. I wish only people who watch MLS – comment on articles involving MLS.

      • Charles says:

        AMEN, Shawn, AMEN.

        Non-MLS watchers telling us how are league should be.

      • ExtraMedium says:

        “No kidding. How can anyone who’s watched MLS since 1996 or even just the past 5 years say the quality hasn’t improved?”

        You sure about that? Let’s compare Colorado’s first MLS Cup Final to their last MLS Cup Final.

        1997 MLS Cup Final Line Ups:
        COLORADO RAPIDS
        Marcus Hahnemann, Chris Martinez (Adrian Paz 59), Steve Trittschuh, Peter Vermes, Matt Kmosko, Marcelo Balboa,
        Sean Henderson (Ross Paule 81), Chris Henderson, Paul Bravo (Wolde Harris 27), David Patino, Steve Rammel
        D.C. UNITED
        Scott Garlick, David Vaudreuil, Eddie Pope, Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, Richie Williams, Tony Sanneh, John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno, Raul Diaz Arce

        2010 MLS Cup Final Line Ups:
        COLORADO RAPIDS:
        GK 18 Matt Pickens
        DF 3 Drew Moor
        DF 22 Marvell Wynne
        DF 27 Kosuke Kimura
        DF 6 Anthony Wallace 41′ 90′
        MF 20 Jamie Smith 51′ 90′
        MF 11 Brian Mullan
        MF 25 Pablo Mastroeni (c)
        MF 4 Jeff Larentowicz
        FW 14 Omar Cummings 98′
        FW 9 Conor Casey 84′
        Substitutes:
        MF 15 Wells Thompson 90′
        DF 21 Julien Baudet 90′
        FW 10 Macoumba Kandji

        FC DALLAS:
        GK 1 Kevin Hartman
        DF 6 Jackson Gonçalves 34′
        DF 14 George John
        DF 3 Ugo Ihemelu
        DF 5 Jair Benitez 84′
        MF 18 Marvin Chavez 105′
        MF 13 Dax McCarty
        MF 2 Daniel Hernandez (c)
        MF 20 Brek Shea 64′
        FW 10 David Ferreira
        FW 16 Atiba Harris
        Substitutes:
        DF 19 Zach Lloyd 34′
        FW 9 Jeff Cunningham 64′
        MF 12 Eric Avila 1005′

        DCU was loaded in the early days. San Jose was so good 2001-2003 DeRosario couldn’t start! Hm. Maybe the league peaked in 2003-2005. NE had Dempsey, a healthy Twellman, Shalrie Joseph, a young Michael Parkhurst, Matt Reis, Steve Ralston, Pat Noonan. Chicago in 2003 had a nice roster.

    • Alex says:

      ignorant people like you dont get far in life. speaking of ignorance MLS has to learn that other leagues know how to manage soccer league too. MLS should learn from other successful leagues not only EPL but the bundesliga, J league and other

    • Robert says:

      I actually have duel citizenship. I live in both countries. So, just because I watch FMF you think its ok to kick me out of my country? Scary comments for MLS Talk.

  11. Roger says:

    @Rober
    I very much agree with you

    @Earl
    I very much agree with much of your article. I disagree with the exagerated importance that we give to marketing in the US though.I think that our game is a “product” that sells itself, because of its magic; its beauty and its capacity to reflect life.

    I think that the only thing that we need to do ir order to have one of the best leagues in the world is just to “let soccer be!”. If you look at international club soccer , you will realize that it reflects life everywhere. The biggest spanish clubs are on Madrid and Barcelona; not in Murcia or Ourense. The biggest Italian clubs are in Rome and Milan; not in Pescara or Padova. The best leagues in the world are on the wealthier european countries; England , Spain, Italy, France and germany. It is not a coincidence!
    So, it is only logical to think that if we apply the same set of rules by wich the game is “standarized” all around the planet, soccer would do what it does by nature, reflect the reality that we are one of the bigger and wealthier nations on the world!

    In other words. In order for our league not to be at the level that it should, it takes a group of non soccer people in power deciding that we are going to apply a diferent set of rules ( single entity ) than the international soccer community. American soccer is synthetically kept dawn! We should, by default, be on top, because that is were we belong!

    • Gazza says:

      Complete Cobblers.

      “If you look at international club soccer , you will realize that it reflects life everywhere”.

      Give me a break. These so-called businesses are paying their top employees 100%+ of revenues while piling up hundreds of millions in debt and that is seen as a good thing. And you want us to copy that system? Guess what – that league model is failing.

  12. Robin says:

    Ok just one thing…

    STFU people that say that MLS will not do good in “any” European League. Sure maybe England, Spain, Italy, and Germany (Dutch and French as well) but MLS can compete with Ukraine or maybe even Russia.

    Also with the TV coverage, FSC is going HD now so it should be good.

    • ExtraMedium says:

      “STFU people that say that MLS will not do good in “any” European League. Sure maybe England, Spain, Italy, and Germany (Dutch and French as well) but MLS can compete with Ukraine or maybe even Russia.”

      LOL! Please go to Wikipedia and take a look at the rosters for the top Ukrainian and Russian clubs. Those teams would smoke MLS teams.

      Shakhtar has rising Brazilian 20 year-old Douglas Costa, Dario Srna and ex-Barca defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy. They pay Willian $3.8M/year.

      Zenit just recalled rising US star Starikov from his loan with TOM. They also have Portuguese internationals Danny, Bruno Alves and Fernando Meira! Their roster is full of internationals.

      CSKA has Keisuke Honda, Vagner Love, and Mark Gonzalez!

      MLS != American soccer…Btw, I think MLS *should* be better than Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, and Japan. But it’s not because it’s run by none soccer people. MLS’ original sin is single-entity.
      Set a non-absurdly low salary-cap*, give franchises their independence in order to develop into clubs, have an open-pyramid, and pro/reg (mandatory relegation clauses in player/coach contracts). You’ll get teams in cities that can support them.

      *$5M/year for everything the club is legally liable to pay. Salaries, bonuses, transfer fees, loan deals, even severance. Drop one DP every 2 years beginning in 2013. Instead exempt a percentage of a player’s salary from the cap based on the percentage of senior national team matches in the WC, Confederations Cup, Continental Cup, and qualifying tournaments. US/Canadian players are exempt from the salary-cap if:
      1. They’re U-20 (encourages signing young domestic talent)
      2. They’re U-23 and signed their current contract while U-20 (rewards players for committing to MLS instead of the Danish league).
      3. They’ve been with their current club for 5+ years, or with MLS for 8+ years (Larry Bird Rule).
      4. The player is “home-grown.” By that I mean the player spent at least 5 years before age 23 with their current club. It’s dropped to 3 years if the current club gave the player their first pro-contract.

      Hey MLS/USSF officials. Feel free to steal my ideas. You may present them as your own. MLS != American soccer.

      • Dan says:

        I agree with you to an extent. I think MLS is slowly moving away from Single-Entity. I sayit might take 5 to 10 years before the Single Entity is removed completely. Its just to early to move it right now.

        • Charles says:

          MLS is moving AWAY from single entiny ? They just sold 4 FRANCHISES in the last 3 years.

          They are definitely are NOT moving away from single entity.

          • ExtraMedium says:

            That’s depressing…But Charles is right. I can’t find the link but a Galaxy official (I think it was Liewieke) gave an interview last year saying single-entity is what they want permantely. He is convinced other sports leagues will follow MLS.

          • PeteB says:

            This is in reply to ExtraMedium’s comment below this one – I’m not able to reply to it directly because the REPLY buttom doesn’t appear.

            I’m not surprised about the fact they want to stick to single entity – these owner/operators’ whole belief system is that they are in a zero-sum game with the players, and that unless they screw them, the owners won’t be successful.

            This comes from the mindset of having a monopoly over the sport – and until they accept reality that in soccer they will never be able to erect walls high enough to keep viewers (and players) from looking elsewhere – this league will never reach its potential.

            This is the underlying problem with MLS – teams’ fortunes are not their own.

            I get a certain amount of joy from watching the Galaxy, I like the players and the intensity of the fans. But it sure would make things so much better if the team functioned like teams do everywhere else in the world – they made their own decisions about players and otherwise ran their own finances. Instead what we have is that the Galaxy essentially is just a local branch of a monopoly that has cornered the whole market in this country. (A number of the teams that used to be its closest competition for big time soccer in the country, by the way, have now been absorbed – Sounders, White Caps, Timbers).

            Frustrating. The blind “support your domestic team” view basically is just a license to be taken advantage of by these billionaires, many of them who really don’t give 2 hoots about soccer. If it weren’t for leveraging MLS to get WC, Olympics, concerts, and do other things to extract non-soccer revenue from MLS stadia, Galaxy-owners AEG would have cut and run from the league a while ago.

        • Alex says:

          i hope they do move away from single entity but as long as garber is in charge thats not happening. he even said so himself he doesnt see single entity going away soon. but pretty soon MLS needs to switch gears and the way i see it i dont see garber as a key role in MLS anymore after his 2014 year. ill admit the guy helped MLS transistion from 1.0 to 2.0 and the single entity model served as training wheels for soccer to take off here but sooner or later that model has to go. it hinders soccer from what it can truely be. and its not like once single entity goes away all hell brakes loose, im pretty sure we manage soccer clubs without them going bankrupt i think MLS can create checks and balances for soccer clubs while having clubs become more autonomous.

          • Alan says:

            One of the more productive comments I have read in a while IMHO. I think it is a matter of time, but it is just not time yet. Baby steps. Maybe once we have 20 regular clubs and NASL has 20 regular clubs. Maybe using the NASL/USL as a testing ground would be a start. Yeah, I agree. I don’t want to ever see an EPL-like MLS because the same team will win every year, but maybe we can learn from their mistakes and do things right if we ever move away from single entity.

      • ExtraMedium says:

        @PeteB. I found relevant quotes from Garber. It’s worse than I thought.

        SI Interview with Grant Wahl before the World Cup: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/grant_wahl/04/12/wahl.QAgarber/index.html

        SI.COM: Do you have any concerns about the new DP rule, that perhaps it increases the gap between the large- and small-market teams in MLS?

        GARBER: There are still restrictions, though. It’s so early, but the beauty of the MLS single entity, which is why we fought and will continue to fight to keep it in place, is because you can create these rules and see how they work and adjust those rules if they don’t, as opposed to having other forces drive you down a path that can lead you to disaster. So if we see that we created too much imbalance with this rule, we very simply cut it back. And that’s not a decision one owner makes, it’s a decision the collective makes. This whole dynamic is difficult to understand for our players and fans. We understand that, and we know why it is here today. At some point you’ve got to take responsibility and say, “Trust me.” Our results have proven to be true, and we’re here against all odds.

        ESPN last March: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=760003&sec=mls&root=mls&cc=5901

        In truth, free agency was probably never really on the table. MLS has spent too much time and money defending its single-entity concept, which gives the league a de facto bye in the free-agency battle.

        Garber said it in plain English: “MLS was founded on the principle that our owners would not be competing against each other for a player’s services. When we think of free agency, it is that concept of internal bidding. There will not be internal bidding for a player’s services.”
        2016. That’s my drop dead-date for supporting MLS if the league/USSF continue this absurdity. I’ve been supportive since the first season.

        HEY MLS FAN BOYS. GARBER SAID THE TEAMS *AREN’T* COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER. THE GAMES ARE EXHIBITIONS!!!!!!!

  13. Roger says:

    It just happens that geografy decided to place us in Concacaf land and not Uefa’s. So, before we can “compete” with Ukraine or maybe even Russia, we have to make sure that clubs from Puerto Rico and T&T dont kick our behinds on CCL. Just saying.

    • Bolacuadrada says:

      Fortunately this is soccer where logic does not apply. Just because Russia and Ukraine are in Europe It does not mean the a club from Porto Rico is not going to kick their behinds too. Or that a team from Russia is not going to beat Barcelona too (opps I forgot Rubin Kazan).

    • Alan says:

      One solution for this might be the way we choose our 4 teams to put in CCL. Instead of the MLS Cup winner, runner up, supporters shield, and Open Cup winners, I believe the league top 4 should qualify. We need the 4 best and most consistent teams competing at CCL regardless of what debate we have or do not have about the play off system. The 4 teams with the highest score qualify for CCL, or at least the top 3. That might make us more competitive and possibly help get us into the FIFA Club World Cup.

      • nick says:

        The nice thing about the open cup spot is that lower divisions actually have a chance to play in ccl, but besides that top 3 would be great. It would also keep the teams that qualified for playoffs from resting their best players.

      • Alan says:

        I’m not sure that the CCL is where we want to give lower ranked teams a chance. The MLS Cup I can maybe see. Not the CCL. That is where we need the best teams to compete on the world stage and win.

        • Robert says:

          I agree. Supporter’s shield should be auto-qualify while MLS Cup winner should have to qualify for MLS. I don’t think MLS should have 4 possible slots. US Open Cup should only get a slot in Super Liga (if it still exist). MLS only should get 2-3 slots. not 4

  14. Earl Reed says:

    I think that a channel willing to devote time to the league as opposed to only a singular match means a lot to the finished product. People in this country care about personalities, and without a forum to display the talent, both on and off the field, the public loses an opportunity to learn to like a player in the way fans like Peyton Manning or Albert Pujols. How awesome would it be to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and prepare to immerse yourself in all things MLS?

  15. SSReporters says:

    The United States is trying to create an artificial “soccer nation”. It’s only going to work if the men’s (and I stress MEN’S) national team succeeds. As long as they keep falling behind before you can even sit down and as long as they treat the national team with kid gloves instead of being a little bit critical then the MLS will have trouble succeeding.

    And by success I don’t mean the Round of 16, I mean World Cup Semi Final, Confederations Cup Final (again), etc. America likes WINNING and since we don’t win at soccer we don’t follow it. We don’t follow cricket because we don’t win. We like basketball because we WIN. We like football because we’re the only ones who play it and I guarantee Division III All-Stars could defeat the top Canadian college.

    To “grow” soccer the national team has to win. If more people watch a winning product, there will be a higher demand of soccer coverage, and with a higher demand of soccer coverage will have to come an increase in MLS matches shown nationally.

    If you notice, the Donovan goal did next-to-nothing regarding MLS ratings. It’s a group stage match and the hysteria wore off around August. Had that happened against….Brazil in the World Cup Final I guarantee ESPN would cram MLS down our throats.

    When you’re a 5th sport trying to overtake one of the “Big 4″ you’ll need something drastic to get over the hump.

    • Heimdall says:

      Winning the WC won’t turn US citizens into soccer viewers. It cycles too infrequently and while there are gains, there is still to much of the population that will watch a WC game and won’t fully appreciate the action because they don’t understand the nuances right away. Participation are helping to change this but for Americans, the game is not as universal as the big three sports. John from Omaha can tell when the starting pitcher is having a hard time throwing strikes. Quoc from Fort Worth can tell his team has no running game. If an American just watches the US WC run, I’m not surprised MLS ratings don’t get a bump.

      The US has had international success in hockey. There are top tiered US hockey teams and lesser hockey teams throughout the country and despite all this, television ratings are unimpressive outside of the markets compared to the big three. There are other reasons for this but mostly, the televised game is not nearly as impressive as the game at the venue and like in soccer too much of the population doesn’t know what’s going on outside of NHL markets. Unless a team is brought to an educated fanbase like Minnesota or is one of the poster children for expansion like Sharks in San Jose, it’s going to take time (15-20 years) for people to really appreciate the game after the novelty wears off.

      The WC is like the Contest of Champions or Secret Wars where everyone is brought in and battles but it happens infrequently. When people have their favorite MLS team and are as equally interested in the annual event (Mutant Massacre, Inferno, Age of Apocalypse etc) then MLS will be in excellent shape. The Mexican top tier gets $90M with 20 going to ChivasMEX. A NHL hockey team has a salary cap of just under $60M and the league gets $75M for tv rights. I don’t want the high ticket prices that the NHL has though and they play more games. MLS doesn’t even have to get to NHL level to become a very good league but it will take time.

      Also, ESPN wouldn’t cram MLS down our throats if the US won the WC. MLS won’t pay $500K+ salaries for their own talent unless it’s Landon. Until then, seeing important US players (like a 2003 matchup of Pope/Olsen/Convey vs Beasley/Wolff/Bocanegra) isn’t happening. Unless it’s LD, if someone young breaks out in the league and outplays their contract, that player is just waiting until their contract ends because the team won’t sell since they just get $800k max in allocation money and it would be too big of PR hit. Sure, you don’t pay Bornstein and Buddle $400K when the salary cap is $2.6M but the fact that it’s a slam dunk for players to leave the league for a league that isn’t even one of the big four and it leaves a vacuum that takes too long to fill. Teams that used to be in the top 6 in 2008-2010 but not anymore include NE, Hou, Chi, ChvLA, and Cbus. Except for Columbus who just got old, their players elected to leave elsewhere while other players in the core aged, resulting in their downfall. Some would have left no matter what but this league would be better if those teams were still title contenders. Toronto spent $2.8M on Julian D and Mista, too bad they couldn’t use it to sign four players with DeRosario type talent. Kinda feel sorry for DD and Shalrie since they carry their teams.

      • ExtraMedium says:

        “Toronto spent $2.8M on Julian D and Mista, too bad they couldn’t use it to sign four players with DeRosario type talent. Kinda feel sorry for DD and Shalrie since they carry their teams.”

        This guy understands what’s going on. DPs allow teams to obliterate the salary-cap, so why not drop the cap so teams can build depth/keep National team players?

        • Kevin Sutton says:

          I think part of the reason for caps/DPs is the realization that marquee names are great for marketing purposes but usually can’t guarantee championships. Removing this setups could both allow for stronger markets to totally out compete smaller markets with a more efficient use of their deeper pockets, while removing some of the purpose in acquiring interest-generating names. Small markets wouldn’t improve much, while some like the Red Bulls would ditch the famous players for a deeper bench of less famous players. Possibly resulting in the worst of both worlds from a marketing standpoint….

          Or it might work out in spite of that…

  16. CoconutMonkey says:

    “At some point a network has to take a chance and feature the sport. Until a risk is taken similar to FOX’s gamble on NASCAR, the sport will continue to find difficulty making headway in the market.”

    True. However, I think that also means that MLS might have to be willing to settle for less money if it means more exposure.

  17. Kobashi says:

    Why doesn’t FSC/FS+ use local MLS team programming on their networks? I’m a big Michigan Football fan and the Michigan Football Coaches show Inside Michigan Football airs on Fox Sports Detroit, the Big 10 Network, and Fox College Sports. Why couldn’t FS+ use Friday nights to show team programming from MLS teams that create programming outside of the actual games as preview to the upcoming weekends fixtures? I look at Fox College Sports which is spread out over 3 channels and they have coaches shows from all around the US that also air on Fox, Comcast, and other regional sports networks. Why couldn’t Fox get Sounders Weekly, Red Bulls 365, and other team programs of that ilk and air them? Maybe it would force other teams to create their own programming to keep up with the Joneses to get their programming out to a national audience if a team doesn’t have a regular weekly TV program. The MLS is really missing out on having an outlet that goes in-depth about the league, the teams, and the players with personality pieces and analysis.

    Also can we please get a weekly MLS Review Show with all of the highlights and game stories like what used to air some seasons ago on FSC?

  18. ripsaa says:

    I see MLS as a catch 22…improve the quality of play more fans …more fans then there will be a better quality of play…one of the 2 needs to break the ice first.

    • Charles says:

      Quality already has broken the ice, but the fans are only starting to realize.

      Like the non-MLS watchers on this site, they just don’t have a clue.

      • Bolacuadrada says:

        Agree. The MLS does not need players faking injury every time they are touched or have a free kick every few seconds to be entertaining. The MLS game has continuous action and not as many barbie players as other leagues I see on tv.

        • Charles says:

          Bolacuadrada,

          That is a huge positive for MLS. You rarely see the cr@p that we all hate.
          I think MLS should take more steps to “correct” the craziness in pro-soccer.

          No more letting the defense set up for 1 minute everytime there is a dangerous free kick would be my top pick.
          Second would be video replay to determine if someone dove….if so they should be kicked out of the league…let him go to Europe to do that stuff.

          • Alex says:

            i think its ironic that you hate anything not american yet you watch a european sport. grow some sense man america isnt the only country that does things right.

          • Charles says:

            Not so Alex, I married a foreigner.

            I just don’t like the 1970s NASL leagues that Europeans offer.
            They suck. Not really into watching the Cosmos win it every years ( or Barca ).

            Soccer isn’t a European sport, South America has won just as many World Cups ( 1 less now I guess ). Brazil winning the most of course.

            European sport ? Wrong.

          • DCLee says:

            AMEN Charles.

  19. joejoe says:

    All MLS needs to do is create its own network and go “over the top”. The PC is no longer big enough. Do what mlb.tv has done with its games. Stream them on anything from a Roku box to a toaster. The only thing they should do differently is not to have blackout rules. They can then try to get the palyoff games shown on regular tv. Have MLS related programs steamed as well. Develop your own talent. The big networks aren’t going to do it for you. Oh, and drop silverlight. You’re just turning custumers away with that garbage. I mean espn3 on the Xbox360 doesn’t use silverlight.

    MLS this is a goal you should try to meet with your streaming service this year.
    Custumers:200,000
    Price: $50.00
    Some basic math: 200,000 x $50.00 = $10,000,000
    Add some advertisement and the figure could be a million or two more.

  20. ExtraMedium says:

    1997 MLS Cup Final
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ETwSdGuTbQ

    Sold out RFK (57+K) while 90+K where <15miles away for a Redskins game.

  21. CTBlues says:

    NBC showed Rugby Sevens tourny in Las Vegas today because it’s being added to the Olympics in 2016. Why can’t they try and get NBC on board? NBC doesn’t show any spring or summer sports. They only have one hockey game a week on Sundays and the only time they would have a conflict would be every four years during the summer Olympics.

    • ExtraMedium says:

      The top 11 US markets get NBC Universial Sports. Unlike ESPN/GOLTV/FSC/FS+/VERSUS Universial Sports is over-the-air, aka free. Every US MLS market except Kansas City has a NBC Universial Sports affiliate, but KC has some independent stations that could probably us original programming.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Sports#Affiliates

      • CTBlues says:

        The only problem with this station is that you have to either have an antenna or a cable line not hooked up to a cable box but to a HDTV with a cable tuner.

        • ExtraMedium says:

          No. These digital channels come in automatically if you have a pay-tv service. If you don’t, newer TVs already have digital receivers built in. Most people don’t have to do anything to get Universal Sports if it’s available in your area (it reaches more households than FSC).

          “Since June 2008, when NBC and InterMedia Partners officially announced their partnership with Universal Sports (formerly the World Championship Sports Network), distribution has grown from 1.5 million to being available today in more than 57 million television households.” http://www.universalsports.com/news/article/newsid=476912.html

          FSC is in ~40M.

          • CTBlues says:

            Your right Extra I just found it on my TiVo, it’s not on my DirecTV. When I first tried finding it I was using the digital subchannel. The downsides to Universal Sports it’s not in HD, it isn’t on any of the satellite providers, its in the high digital channels, and when I looked up the channel guide for Cablevision they gave the wrong channel number for it (the guide says channel 110 but that’s the channel guide station and Universal Sports is on 119).

  22. David says:

    ESPN and FSC do promote soccer in the States, but the promote EPL, La Liga and MFL because they get ratings. They are businesses and will show programming that gets ratings. Pretty simple.

    Just because MLS gets crap ratings is because it’s a weak product competing in a crowded sports marketplace. It doesn’t mean Americans won’t watch soccer on TV, just look at EPL and WC ratings. Americans love basketball but if you showed Greek second division hoops on ESPN it’d get crap ratings like MLS does.

  23. ExtraMedium says:

    @PeteB. I found relevant quotes from Garber. It’s worse than I thought.

    SI Interview with Grant Wahl before the World Cup: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/grant_wahl/04/12/wahl.QAgarber/index.html

    SI.COM: Do you have any concerns about the new DP rule, that perhaps it increases the gap between the large- and small-market teams in MLS?

    GARBER: There are still restrictions, though. It’s so early, but the beauty of the MLS single entity, which is why we fought and will continue to fight to keep it in place, is because you can create these rules and see how they work and adjust those rules if they don’t, as opposed to having other forces drive you down a path that can lead you to disaster. So if we see that we created too much imbalance with this rule, we very simply cut it back. And that’s not a decision one owner makes, it’s a decision the collective makes. This whole dynamic is difficult to understand for our players and fans. We understand that, and we know why it is here today. At some point you’ve got to take responsibility and say, “Trust me.” Our results have proven to be true, and we’re here against all odds.

    ESPN last March: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=760003&sec=mls&root=mls&cc=5901

    In truth, free agency was probably never really on the table. MLS has spent too much time and money defending its single-entity concept, which gives the league a de facto bye in the free-agency battle.

    Garber said it in plain English: “MLS was founded on the principle that our owners would not be competing against each other for a player’s services. When we think of free agency, it is that concept of internal bidding. There will not be internal bidding for a player’s services.”
    2016. That’s my drop dead-date for supporting MLS if the league/USSF continue this absurdity. I’ve been supportive since the first season.

    HEY MLS FAN BOYS. GARBER SAID THE TEAMS AREN’T COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER. THE GAMES ARE EXHIBITIONS!!!!!!!

    • Robert says:

      HAHAHAHAH! What a joke of a league and all these people who support billionaire owners for the fear that they might lose a bit of money if we go full independent clubs.

  24. ExtraMedium says:

    Ok, for some reason my posts with links are appearing, so I’ll post w/o links.

    @PeteB. I found relevant quotes from Garber. It’s worse than I thought.

    SI Interview with Grant Wahl last April:
    SI.COM: Do you have any concerns about the new DP rule, that perhaps it increases the gap between the large- and small-market teams in MLS?

    GARBER: There are still restrictions, though. It’s so early, but the beauty of the MLS single entity, which is why we fought and will continue to fight to keep it in place, is because you can create these rules and see how they work and adjust those rules if they don’t, as opposed to having other forces drive you down a path that can lead you to disaster. So if we see that we created too much imbalance with this rule, we very simply cut it back. And that’s not a decision one owner makes, it’s a decision the collective makes. This whole dynamic is difficult to understand for our players and fans. We understand that, and we know why it is here today. At some point you’ve got to take responsibility and say, “Trust me.” Our results have proven to be true, and we’re here against all odds.

    ESPN last March:
    Players still left without freedom of movement
    March 22, 2010
    By Leander Schaerlaeckens

    In truth, free agency was probably never really on the table. MLS has spent too much time and money defending its single-entity concept, which gives the league a de facto bye in the free-agency battle.

    Garber said it in plain English: “MLS was founded on the principle that our owners would not be competing against each other for a player’s services. When we think of free agency, it is that concept of internal bidding. There will not be internal bidding for a player’s services.”
    2016. That’s my drop dead-date for supporting MLS if the league/USSF continue this absurdity. I’ve been supportive since the first season.

    HEY MLS FAN BOYS. GARBER SAID THE TEAMS *AREN’T* COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER. THE GAMES ARE EXHIBITIONS!!!!!!!

    • Charles says:

      Come on, EM

      He said compete for PLAYERS. I know you know the difference.
      I realize in Euro leagues that competing for players is almost all there is. Here is WAY different.

      MLS does compete for players, and for US players they are kicking Euro butt, outside of a few nat team members ( which they should be using DP money on ).

      • PeteB says:

        The biggest expense for a team is player salaries – and your players are the wons that determine whether you win or lose. If team owners and coaches don’t compete to get the players they want by offering to pay what they each think they are worth, they they aren’t really competing at all. So whenever an owner/operator starts to go “native” and actually tries to allow them to pay to ensure success on the field, the rest of the billionaires give him a stern talking to, tell him to stick to the monopolistic gameplan, and don’t make It’s kind of just an exhibition, I agree with EM.

        On your second point, MLS as an entity does “compete” for players with teams abroad. It says, “unless you want to leave your family and friends in this country, you will sign our take-it-or-leave-it offer”, and most players have no choice, since going abroad is not the simplest of matters, and there are almost zero non-MLS teams who pay $50K/year salaries. So sure, MLS gets Americans to sign for them because of this unfair advantage.

        • Alex says:

          i agree with you PeteB and EM. MLS monopolistic system isnt fair for our players, i bet if there was a poll taken with MLS players with immunity about what they say i bet most of them are unhappy with the terms of how they are contracted with MLS. im pretty sure Ljunberg is the first player ive seen that was alittle more open about his unhappiness with MLS. i only wish CBA was more beneficial for MLS players. just like their contract MLS the CBA was a take it or leave it type deal. i too will give MLS until 2014. if MLS doesnt get real by then i give up on US soccer all together.

          • Charles says:

            Again, why are you waiting till 2014 ?

            You really think that guys investing $40 million a year ago, Montreal next year, want to change the rules of their investment ?

            Ljungberg was unhappy ? He wanted to play here, noone wanted him. Seattle BENCHED him.

            NOONE wanted him. Chicago tried to want him.

            You, Robert, and the rest of the non_MLS watchers
            ARE UNGREATFUL. Seriously. Soccer failed !!!! Huge failure.
            24 teams, some drawing 50k + then there were zero.

            Some guys come in a take a BIG risk, with big money and you want them to do it how some guys in Europe do it. Your way.
            They saved pro-soccer in this country.

            Sit back and enjoy the soccer and quit worrying about the details. They are NOT changing, they NEVER will. IF the league fails, which is an option, soccer is NOT coming back. You would be a fool to think anyone invests any money in pro-US soccer at that point.

          • Alex says:

            @ charles

            non mls watchers? dude ive been watching mickey mouse league since 96. my dad supports columbus crew because the club colours are the same his is favorite ecuadorian club Barcelona S.C. ive supported MetroStars (not anymore ever since red balls) DC United and Seattle Sounders FC and if there was a club in Florida or a club in my hometown NYC i would support them too. ive had MLS direct kick for two years and im getting it again this year. im more involved in MLS than EPL discussions. so i know a thing or two about MLS. i support MLS, i want MLS to move forward, and MLS doesnt need people like you wanting to keep MLS in the kiddie stage that its in now. u and all those other “lets americanize soccer” people are ignorant douches. MLS clubs cant even compete with A league and J league clubs. so please please shut up and go watch some real soccer. you dont know anything about soccer. and seeing that association football was invented in scotland/england it is a euro sport. but you’re right that brasil perfected the sport.

  25. DCLee says:

    These are some great points by everyone. I have really enjoyed Charles and Extra Mediums points.

    I think that you can point to the World Cup with this argument. The World Cup in 1990 use to be on TNT and have commercials during games that were not even live and of course only hardcore soccer fans watched the crap coverage. Then the US got the Cup and ESPN made the games live without interruption and and the game began to build as the national team and coverage improved so did the rating and the fans grew with them. Fast Forward to 2010 and ESPN gave the World Cup the coverage it deserved and everyone knows the response with record ratings(tweets per second, 3D, Online viewership, mobile viewership, etc…) making it a huge hit.

    ESPN kind of took that chance and it is beginning to pay of for them. MLS in a way is like this as the product is improving and the brand is starting to spread with more expansion like the USMNT brand awareness did in 1994 on. FSC does a Pre and Post game show but you wish it could give MLS that ESPN type coverage or like it treats the premier league. I’d like to see Versus given a chance.

    It also drives me nuts how Mourinho spouts every 4 years how the world cup is not the best of the best because it isn’t champions league football. The world cup is the final 32 national teams who are the best players in their respective countries. Granted it is harder for them to gel in a short amount of time together unlike club teams but anyone could nick pick the final 32 in the champions league every year and you could find your New Zealand/MŠK Žilina type of underdog teams as well as your powerhouse Spain/Barca ones.

    @ Extra Medium While your 1997 MLS cup final one is an interesting argument. you should also look at the teams. DC was the supporters shield winners so they would compare with LA from 2010 which would be pretty close. Colorado was the 7th like in 2010. Those rosters are pretty comparable IMO. Marcus Hahnemann was a much younger player and a decent goalie at that moment in his career. Looking back now we know he turned into a premiership level talented goalie but at the time I’d say Pickens is equal. Trittschuh and Balboa were towards the end of their careers like a Brian Mullan and Pablo Mastroeni. Omar Cummings would be playing EPL ball right now if not for VISA issues and Conor Casey is a very good holding forward.

    1997 MLS Cup Final Line Ups:
    COLORADO RAPIDS
    Marcus Hahnemann, Chris Martinez (Adrian Paz 59), Steve Trittschuh, Peter Vermes, Matt Kmosko, Marcelo Balboa,
    Sean Henderson (Ross Paule 81), Chris Henderson, Paul Bravo (Wolde Harris 27), David Patino, Steve Rammel

    2010 MLS Cup Final Line Ups:
    COLORADO RAPIDS:
    GK 18 Matt Pickens
    DF 3 Drew Moor
    DF 22 Marvell Wynne
    DF 27 Kosuke Kimura
    DF 6 Anthony Wallace 41? 90?
    MF 20 Jamie Smith 51? 90?
    MF 11 Brian Mullan
    MF 25 Pablo Mastroeni (c)
    MF 4 Jeff Larentowicz
    FW 14 Omar Cummings 98?
    FW 9 Conor Casey 84?
    Substitutes:
    MF 15 Wells Thompson 90?
    DF 21 Julien Baudet 90?
    FW 10 Macoumba Kandji

    Can’t wait for Charlie Davies and 2011 to begin!!

  26. You little geeks already had your chance to get exposure when ABC would show your games from 1996-2008. You FAILED. You nancies are acting like you’d get better ratings if given the chance. YOU ALREADY HAD YOUR CHANCE. ABC is a top 3 network. But noone watched. They prefer women’s billiards.

    Face it, your league sucks. Caribe and Central American teams pwn you in the CCL. Pathetic.

    • CoconutMonkey says:

      Well, I suppose that’s that then. Cancel the season!

    • Robert says:

      MLS Fanboys will never admit the failure of MLS Final on ABC. ESPN is probably counting the days for the contract to expire.

      • Alex says:

        agreed. MLS fan boys are too ignorant to understand. i blame the piss poor quality, the mistreatment of players, the centralized manipulation of the sport and the horribleness of the league on single entity and garbage garber. dont get me wrong im rooting for MLS but garber, the single entity model and ignorant mls fan boys has to go.

        @ MLS Talk dont give in to MLS fan boys, keep up the constructive criticism. speak the truth. theres alot that MLS needs to face and they dont want to know because they are content to be the worlds worst league. KEEP GIVING THEM THE TRUTH!

  27. VirginiaBlueBlood says:

    Not trying to slam your analysis. You could certainly point to our current slate of TV partners for failing to cross promote MLS contests beyond the MLS audience. I think that’s where the real slight is at the moment. You don’t see much mention of MLS broadcasts during other sports or productions on ESPN. The same goes for Fox and it’s networks.

    At issue is the whole supply and demand dynamic. MLS produces at least 9 matches per week now. Assuming the old arrangement, that’s at least 3 national(ish) broadcasts or 1/3 of the available games. Beyond that, diehards can get every match on MatchDay Live or PPV.

    What MLS lacks, beyond ratings, is the strong appetite from all ranges of fans (diehard to casual) to turn into the national game not featuring their club.

    I attend every DCU home game I can get to, and try to watch the TiVo-ed match when I get home. I also try to make sure I see live or on delay every FSC and ESPN2 match. However, I feel as though I’m in the minority. And I would say that somewhere below 20% of a club’s base tunes into matches not involving their club. That’s an issue for MLS to sort out, not as much for broadcast partners.

    You can lay some blame on the quality or perceived quality of the players and the league. You can also lay some blame on the competition. That (if say, you’re a DCU supporter) a Thursday night match in April between Chicago and Real Salt Lake may not mean as much, doesn’t involve your club, and you somehow didn’t realize there was a Thursday night match on ESPN2 despite sitting on the internet all day is a big part of low television ratings and why 50% of weekly matches aren’t on cable and why MLS doesn’t have a network partner (which, watch closely, but networks are shy to do sports now because they don’t enjoy the dual fee structure of a cable channel and is why they shy from a lot of big dollar delas).

    Clubs have done a pretty good job of carving out their space, no matter the size, in their individual markets. Stadiums and annual improvements in quality and staying power help. But the league and a broader investment by ALL supporters to watch matches is needed if you really think that TV deals are going to dramatically improve from their current level.

    Just my thoughts.

  28. Jspech says:

    To be frank Soccer players personalities are not the most tv friendly to base proper promo around. Maybe build promos around supporters clubs.

  29. Robert says:

    What is this professional wrestling!>?

  30. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    I think the author of this article puts too much blame on the ESPNs and the FSCs in the soccer on tv business. I don’t at all is to just simply beam the tv channel, he should have blamed the league for not marketing themselves nationally. MLS hasn’t really marketed well nationally since the 1996 season. Also I believe MLS is alienating themselves a bit by catering more to soccer fans who have more other interest in european football. IMPO MLS needs. To develop and enhance soccer for the ameican fanbase and cater more to the mainstream where they will develop success.

    • Alex says:

      remember the shot clock? overtime? Pks? playing music in between plays? playing the clock backwards? cheesy nicknames? MLS tried to cater to americans and it failed. you dont deep fry and batter soccer. thats main reason why the first mls commish resigned. MLS should cater to hardcore soccer fans who watch other leagues. who do you want supporting the league, kids, soccer moms and fat slobs who is watching MLS as a last resort because their NFL or MLB isnt on or passionate knowledgable soccer fans who actually do care about their clubs? yea i think you and charles want the first group.

      • DCUDiplomat96 says:

        Sporting KC is a cheesy nickname, BTW. MLS is practically non exist in the regular sporting aspects, because of lack of marketing. soccer in general continues to fail to crossover. MLS has been having a Identity crisis for sometime. the league feel its entitled to more Media Face time with out earning it???? why did the upper Management of FC Dallas had to write a Please Beg to see me mommy letter to the DFW Media??? why has MLS blew themselves in the face trying to so called promote David beckham( more model than athlete) and I guess doing more of the same with Henry. (I feel More sorry for Him) MLS needs to refocus on winning the american sports fan and try to prove worthy of being a true Major League.

  31. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    If. Major League. Soccer gives in the the inclusiveness that non american aka european soccer culture often brings towards the american sports fan then the league wont succeed and soccer will be further backwards. MLS cannot worry so much what else goes on in the world, especially where your in the US the biggest sports country in the world. You have Major college and prosports to deal with. …. European leagues are the least to MLS problems or even the lower leagues as well.

  32. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Major League soccer needs to really work on getting there name out there, heck the could have commercials on the super bowl, the BCs letting the world know the MLS is around the corner. But I guess they are happy or think the Spanish speaking media will help, but they don’t seem to realize the Spanish speaking media doesn’t have a serious impact on mainstream american sports scene.

  33. montana lucky says:

    I don’t really follow European leagues. I’ll watch a EPL game now and then, and some Champions League here and there, but basically I would rather be out skiing or on a river that sitting inside watching TV. I am actually way more interested in MLS, the reason being, is because it is mine. It is the American league. I know the quality of play isn’t as good as the other leagues, but I have been following the league since its inception and the average player is better, the average team is better, the average game is better than 15 years ago. Still though, I don’t like everything about the league. The playoffs are ridiculous and need a total over-hall. But I still want them. The salary cap is really low, I wish they could afford a way to pay the players more and keep some of the better Americans from leaving. I Actually have no problem with the concept of single entity. Its not all for the best, but i think its more important now then ever. As the league becomes more successful, it is obvious that teams like the Red Bulls and Galaxy are willing to pay huge dollars for players. If it weren’t for single entity and salary caps they would bleed the league dry, smaller market teams would struggle, and investors would be more skeptical of expansion. I remember not having a professional soccer league in the US and how it was nearly impossible to see any soccer, I remember watching the first MLS game and how elated I was it was happening. I remember watching the Florida teams fold and worrying the league wasn’t far behind. I remember every team playing it a cavernous football stadium, and what a big deal it was when Columbus built the first SSS in the US. I remember just a few years ago you couldn’t even watch highlights of every game on youtube because not every game was on TV. Overall I happy with this league and think it has a very bright future. You naysayers can flame all you want. MLS doesn’t need you to be successful, and this year is going to prove it to you.

    • Alex says:

      “MLS doesn’t need you to be successful, and this year is going to prove it to you.”

      actually they do. no ratings means no money.

      • montana lucky says:

        MLS doesn’t need people who are haters to become fans. The people who hate MLS, they in the scope of this country are very few. This year is going to be a very good year for MLS. The haters can continue to hate and it won’t matter.

  34. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    For those Inquiring minds Rooney’s Goal from Saturdays Man U- Man City was on of the major topic talked about on not one show but multiple shows on FOX sports radio, in particular the JT the brick show. JT who is a admirer of soccer has made numberous convo not only about the World cup (which he was in italy on vacation at the time) Wayne Rooney and Manchester United and champions league. He also talked about one of his favorite games was the 05 Champions league final and during the night much after the world cup final in 2010 was done, he opened the floor for world cup talk where only one caller actually wanted to talk about it. …. JT the brick along with Cowherd and several other are very popular not only in sports radio also on tv and to alot of American sports fans. They do care about soccer and can be passionate and rooting but at the same time you can have your particular. Eurosnobbish blame game on american sports media members especially if they are influential

  35. ExtraMedium says:

    The Rooney goal was talked about on Tony Kornheisher’s radio show here in DC. Kornheisher HATES soccer, but he had to acknowledge the goal becuase so many people around him kept talking about it. Soccer in America is healthy and growing. MLS continues to lag behind the American fan. Super clubs vs. non-Super Clubs = the tension of the Fulham Chelsea game.

    • Charles says:

      The tension of distant 5th place versus 15th place with no playoffs. There is nothing like it all of sports.

      When he missed the penalty…one could only think, oh my word, there goes 10th place. Right out the window. They were so close too.

      Dang, I hope it doesn’t carry over to the next game.

      THERE IS AS CLOSE TO ZERO TENSION IN THOSE GAMES AS YOU CAN GET. ZERO.

      • Dave C says:

        Charles, I know you’re just a “MLS is awesome, EPL sucks” troll, but seriously you need to give it a rest, it’s so lame and contrived.

        I mean, you seriously think there was zero tension in the Chelsea-Fulham game just because neither side is realistically fighting for the league title? Chelsea are hoping to catch 4th place in the league – the difference between finishing 4th and 5th is HUGE, and if they fail to do so (which is very possible given last night’s failure), it could well signal a sea-change at the top of English football. Chelsea missing out on Champions League football (while Man City and Spurs get in) could be incredibly significant.

        Meanwhile, Fulham are not entirely safe from relegation. Every point counts for them.

        Throw in the fact that they’re local rivals, which adds a bit of spice to the mix regardless of what prize is at stake, AND the fact that the game was decided by a last-minute penalty kick, AND the fact that the underdog came away as the happier team, and I don’t see how you can deny there was tension there.

        Perhaps you would only be happy Fulham were fighting for the 12th spot in some all-inclusive end of season play-offs where everyone gets told they’re mommy’s special soldier, or maybe the game would have been more exciting if they had re-named it the Southern Conference West London Division Championship Play-Off Final.

        • meh says:

          Also, the difference between 9th and 10th place makes a difference in prize money. That affects the club’s balance books and it affects the players bank accounts.

          This is what typical American sports fans don’t get: just because it is a single table, balanced schedule league with no playoffs, does not mean that the teams in the middle of the table are indifferent to what spot they end up on in the middle of the table.

          You don’t have to be spoon-fed a contrived playoff system in order to enjoy sports. That is just as silly as the attitude that you “have to” have a tie breaker OT if the teams are tied at the end of time. No, you don’t.

          • DCLee says:

            @ meh, EM, Dave C and others that respond to Charles or other Pro MLEers

            Speaking of passion and tension…It is great to see the passion and tension on this blog. Charles has as much passion for the game in the states as everyone does for the European game that is constantly attacking his point of views. The people attacking those points of views are leftsided/right or wrong in their point of views as rightsided/right or wrong that Charles views are for MLS and the game in the U.S.

            It is interesting that that the team Charles follows is Seattle, a team that has as passionate and as strong a fan base as most of the clubs in the top leagues in Europe or worldwide and I say this as a D.C. United fan. There are obviously more of you who follow the top clubs in Europe as those that follow MLS due to the history, tradition and success that those clubs have created over decades and generations of followers but both sides should stop and think about each others points of view on this or any subject.

            I believe that we all want the game to succeed but just have different views about how we want that success to look based on the club/clubs/leagues we follow. IMHO there is not right or wrong way but you have to choose the way that will sustain you and as of now for MLS to have a chance to maybe one day go down that european road of format and scheduling they first need to build that strong passionate base that is on here on an MLS website attacking the game they love in this country. The NASL tried the European model and it failed miserably unfortunately. So as much as some of things that MLS does in 2011 frustrate me as a fan like a lot of you, I am extremely happy the game finally has roots in this country/continent that continue grow slowly so that we can see great players in our own country more than a few times a year and get to see the european sides as well so to me we are all getting our cake and eating it too. The U.S. team and players like Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, etc. are not as successful as they have been without having a professional option after school to continue to learn and grow without MLS. Not to mention players like Andy Najar, Bill Hamid who are given a chance to shine as youngsters and players like Charlie Davies who are given a comfortable environment for a 2nd chance at the USMNT and perhaps europe again if he proves himself over the next couple of years.

            As many things that the European fans dislike they should realize this league is not ready and may never be able to go down that super club road and in fact you may see european leagues look into adopting a few of the practices that MLS uses just like MLS scrapped all the gimmicks of the late 90′s and early 00′s with the shootout, clock running down, etc. and adopted some great things from the european game.

            I for one enjoy the playoff format and look at it as MLS has 2 champs every year. A regular season champion and a champ that wins a month long tournament that they qualify for after 8 hard months of games.

            I can’t believe that the league has gotten to the point that players like an Academy product United just signed Ethan White is so young he can’t remember the day when there wasn’t pro soccer in this country because it has been around his whole life and he grew up rooting for the team he will now play for just like kids do in Madrid and Manchester.

            As a young kid who use to watch the Atlanta Chiefs play in the NASL I never thought I’d get the opportunity to go watch very good players play again on a regular basis let alone have a strong club team to root for in this country in my lifetime so I certainly thank MLS for that every season!

          • Dave C says:

            @ DC Lee -
            I just want to clear something up. I don’t consider myself a staunch critic of MLS or one of those people who are constantly denigrating it by comparison to European leagues, and I certainly don’t think everything should be done the “European” way. I think people who constantly advocate pro/rel, single table, winter schedules, or complain about the quality of play in MLS, etc etc are ridiculous.

            But at the same time, I find Charles’ rose-tinted promotion of the MLS equally ridiculous. I mean to say Chelsea vs Fulham had “zero tension”? Only someone with no interest in sport could think that. Or the constant made-up facts that he uses.

        • Charles says:

          He is ripping on MLS on an MLSTalk site, by saying a meaningless game has more tension than MLS games. Give me a break. Every non DC United game and even some of those last year in MLS had 10x more on the line.

          I know it has meaning one of the teams could finish in last. WOW.
          Demote them who cares ? There is another team in fact, 10-20 teams that could finish 10th-20th place year after year after year.

          BUT WAIT MEH says…..there is prize money !!!!

          Oh my word, please start the REAL league or kill me now…..

          • Dave C says:

            Charles, as always you choose to ignore the most pertinent part of any response to your comments.

            The game didn’t simply have an impact on if Fulham would “finish last”. The key thing is not the prize money diffential available to Fulham for finishing 10th compared to 12th. The key thing is not even the prize-money available to Chelsea for finishing 4th compared to 5th.

            The key thing in the Chelsea-Fulham game, and ALL remaining Chelsea league games, is that Chelsea have a real challenge to even make fourth. If they miss out on 4th, and thus miss out on the Champions League after having been locks for the last 5-6 years, it could very well signal a big change at the top of English football. Suddenly Spurs and Man City (if they are not already) would become bigger attractions for new players than Chelsea. This could bring about something a lot closer to your beloved parity in English football. Next season, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Spurs might all be realistic league contenders.

            Please tell me of an MLS match that carries “10x” that much significance.

            As for saying there are 10-20 teams that could finish 10-20th every year, I’m not even sure what you mean (especially since it is literally impossible to finish 18th-20th ever year due to relegation). Do you mean there are at least 10 teams in the Football League Championship who could step up to the EPL and maintain a finish of 10th-17th every year?? Because there aren’t.

          • DCLee says:

            @Dave C. Understood and I agree Charles is very strong willed in his support but you knd of can’t blame him considering all these people that come onto an MLS site to do nothing more but bash it. I certainly don’t mind seeing his passion especailly with some of the off the wall comments some people will make just to put down the league.

            If MLS is ever going to take that ultimate step forward then everyone needs to honestly step back and appreciate and support the league for what it is not the skewed perception that is added to time and time again by untrue and unresearched comments like those posted on here.

            Are their flaws to the league that need to improve and hopefully will? Sure. But there is a lot of stuff typed in here that couldn’t be farther from the truth and others need to realize that and be given a fair assessment of the league so that they can choose to support it just like plenty of people love these other leagues. There are a lot of very talented and good players in this league that are fun to watch if anyone would sit down and give them half a chance with an open mind.

          • DCLee says:

            @Dave C. Understood and I agree Charles is very strong willed in his support but you kind of can’t blame him considering all these people that come onto an MLS site to do nothing more but bash it. I certainly don’t mind seeing his passion especially with some of the off the wall comments some people will make just to put down the league.

            If MLS is ever going to take that ultimate step forward then everyone needs to honestly step back and appreciate and support the league for what it is not the skewed perception that is added to time and time again by untrue and unresearched comments like those posted on here.

            Are their flaws to the league that need to improve and hopefully will? Sure. But there is a lot of stuff typed in here that couldn’t be farther from the truth and others need to realize that and be given a fair assessment of the league so that they can choose to support it just like plenty of people love these other leagues. There are a lot of very talented and good players in this league that are fun to watch if anyone would sit down and give them half a chance with an open mind.

      • Robert says:

        @Charles,

        Please remember that Sounders Franchise Club are only in MLS through Faux promotion. Otherwise you would still be like the rest of us, without a team, screaming for promotion and relegation.

        I will never root for a team domestically that is not in my city/town. Single team markets are ridiculous along with closed league models. Did the EPL collapse due to Portsmouth FC financial troubles? Did the EPL collapse after Leeds United went on a spending binge and almost collapsed? Relegation weeds out the weak and diversifies unsystematic risk.

        No matter how great of a fan base Sounders Franchise Club has you are still tied to New England Rev, FC Dallas, Crew and DC United. If those franchises come tumbling down or owners decide not to fund operations the league will fall flat on its face.

        • Charles says:

          yeah, Seattle would be worthless if the rest of the league was gone.
          You forget, that scenerio already played out. The Cosmos won every year, Vancouver and Seattle were contenders….the rest of the US didn’t draw any fans.
          I attended every Sounders game in 1982 and 83, then the league folded.

          Well then it would make sense for a non-parity model huh ?
          Rediculous…..I have already live that. It was awful. We will never go back…THANK GOD FOR THAT.

        • DCLee says:

          Come on Robert. Could you be that blind and hypocritical?

          Everyone on here needs to read Beau Dure’s book “Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer” before commenting any more nonsense as this will dispute about 95% of the negative comments about MLS on this blog with actual facts unlike the BS that gets put on here by anti MLS fans. Which again…what are you doing on an MLS site!

          The whole premise behind MLS is to avoid what you’re talking about, Robert. In fact it has already happened and thanks to the strength of single entity…MLS still exists. Miami and Tampa folded after the 2001 season and the league only had 3 owners running 10 teams heading into 2002. Did the league collapse? Last I checked….NO!

          The league now has 18 teams with #19 next year and will have 17 owners by 2012 with every team but United and San Jose playing in a stadium that the owner owns. And if you need to check the facts then look no further than Dure’s book or Wiki. And quit making unfounded comments that are very hypocritical!!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Soccer

          • Robert says:

            @DC Lee,

            IF you are going to cite Wikipedia as a source for facts you deserve MLS.

            @Charles,

            Please re-read my statement. NASL was also a closed league along with ASL. You still don’t get why the league folded. If Sounders, Cosmos, Whitecaps were all independent from each other, other market participants would of taken the place of defunct clubs. MLS WILL NOT EXIST IN 5 YEARS IF IT CONTINUES DOWN THIS PATH.

          • Robert says:

            @Charles,

            I also read the history of NASL. It shockingly similar to the progression of MLS.
            1. Americanization of the sport – 35yard offside, countdown clock, shootouts [See. Conferences, Playoffs, shootouts, countdown]
            2. College Draft
            3. Brought in older foreign stars [See: Henry & Becks]
            4. over expansion [See: Union, Whitecaps, Timbers]
            5. Followed by contraction [See Miami FC]
            6. Mexico awarded World Cup 86′ which crushed USA’s running to get the cup [See Qatar]

          • Charles says:

            You READ the history of the NASL,
            READ it ?
            Did you at least watch Kyle Rote, Jr win Superstars ?

            And you bring up College Draft ? Which college teams were they drafting from exactly ?

            And teams were not independant of each other ?

            Where did you ‘read’ about this ?

            You, Robert, have no clue.
            I lived it, HUGE fan, from 1977 on, moderate fan before that, while you were either unborn or watching MASH, because you have no clue.

            Why do I think that if you HAD lived it, you would have complained about it back then ? Probably would have taken the league needs parity side or something.

          • DCLee says:

            @Robert

            You are making very random comments that really make you look very ignorant.

            As you said to to Charles. Read my entire statement. I said you can cite wiki or go out and buy the book “Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer” for the facts in my response so my comments are not just based off of wiki. They are documented and researched facts unlike 99% of your comments.

            So if I deserve MLS then you need to get off this site with the BS you are spewing!

          • DCLee says:

            @ Robert again

            An earlier statement by you that was again completely inaccurate…

            4. over expansion [See: Union, Whitecaps, Timbers]
            5. Followed by contraction [See Miami FC]

            So is this the order of things because last time I checked the accurate way things happened was:

            4. Contraction [See Miami FC]
            5. Expansion with owners investing 35-40 million [See: Toronto, Sounders, Union, Whitecaps, Timbers,Impact and the list goes on]

            If you want to do it historically right then it should read…

            2. Over expansion [See Miami FC and Tampa in the first place]
            3. Contraction [See Miami FC & Tampa]
            4. Foreign Stars coming to the league that were still very capable players based on the fact that they played for big european clubs during the offseason including going there after their 2 year contract were up [See Henry, Beckham and Ljungberg]
            5. Expansion with owners investing 35-40 million [See: Toronto, Sounders, Union, Whitecaps, Timbers,Impact and the list goes on]

  36. Mickey Mouse League says:

    Fulham-Chelsea was 100000x more exciting than anything this league has to offer. This league is pure mickymouse, you can’t deny that. Charles is nothing but a pipsqueak fanboy who’s trying to make his league more than it is. The league is unexciting and uninteresting. I’m content with the EPL and the Championship. I’ll never patronize this joke of a league.

    • DCLee says:

      Hey Mickey. Then get off this site with the negative comments. Why do you feel the need to comment on here about a Fulham game that was very enjoyable to watch and I wish Dempsey had buried the PK but at the end of the day is not going to do anything for towards deciding who wins the EPL. And if Charles is just a “pipsqueak fanboy” then what does that make you the giant A-hole with the peter pan complex.

      This league does have entertaining games in it every weekend with exciting goals and results just like the rest of the world. I will never argue with the history and tradition of the EPL clubs and the excitement it brings to small fan bases like Blackpool who get their shot with the big boys and play right there with them. However the EPL has its flaws as well. When was the last time a team other than Arsenal, Chelsea or Man U won the EPL title?

      Blackburn won it in the 1994-1995 season. And there have only been 4 other clubs other than Arsenal, Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool to win the title in the last 33 years! So everyone on here can say how that game created a huge shift for 2 new teams to come into the fold of the top 4 and perhaps they will but everyones excitement over the “tension”of that game is the big reason the EPL stinks for some fans like Charles because in the grand scheme of things for the EPL 2010-2011 that game meant very little if anything.

      In 15 short years the MLS has had 9 different cup winners and 8 different supporters shield winners.

      IMHO the MLS provides everyone a chance and can have unexpected surprises during the season and playoffs. While the EPL has a strong great tradition and a lot of money to get the top players in the world at the big clubs due to that tradition. MLS will get there but needs to get to 123 years old before getting that type of tradition.

      The thing that bugs me the most about the EPL that I love about MLS is that the EPL is like NASCAR or the MLB regular season in my opinion. That the teams paying top dollar will eventually rise to the top while the others with much less of a budget enter each season with essentially no shot and are only focused on trying to avoid relegation and that is sad to me! In MLS everyone has a chance during the season(NY 2009 season to last year) and then the playoffs give it another exciting element that rivals that of the MLB playoffs and the NCAA tournament where anything can happen and usually does.

  37. Alan says:

    I think many of the people need to learn the difference between productive comments and criticism and just plain bashing. MLS has its problems, EPL has its problems, but true fans will try to be productive in voicing their opinions.

    If you hate it so much to where you don’t think that it is any good and has no value whatsoever, then this shouldn’t be the blog for you. EPL Talk is for EPL fans. If you are an MLS fan, want it to succeed, or like BOTH leagues, then this is probably the place for you.

    Its just getting old.

  38. Alan says:

    This is getting old. Can we have an MLS blog again? Just saying.

    • Alan says:

      Sorry for the double post. I didn’t think the first one went through before.

      • Charles says:

        It deserves to be posted twice.

        Go find another site people. You are starting annoy a guy that LIKES to hear others opinions that aren’t aligned with his….ME.

        Go watch the EPL. The Bundesleague is very exciting. I enjoyed a league that had the Cosmos dominate most of the time I followed it. It was fun too.

        The MLS will never have Pro/Rel….NEVER
        The MLS will always be a single entity….ALWAYS
        The MLS teams quality will never be as good as Barca….FOR A VERY LONG TIME ANWAY

        I am done arguing on posts like that. It was fun, thanks, but like Alan says it has gotten old.

        Once again I don’t mind disagreement, I love them….lets argue over whether Vancouver was smart to take Salgado.
        Let’s talk about who will fall this year. I say LA will struggle comparitively. I don’t think that NY is that great, but I think they have a cakewalk in the playoffs ( depending on how they do the 10 teams ). Who will rise, DC should be better ?

        IF I thought any of the MLS haters could have a discussion like that I might listen to their MLS is crap garbage. They can’t and I won’t.

        23 days until the fun begins, 24 days until I can’t talk the next day with my ears ringing so loud I can’t hear !

        • Alan says:

          If there is a demand for something, then it will happen eventually. The discussion should be about constructive ways to make the league better, and US Soccer in general. Even if pro/rel happens, it is a long ways off. If it bothers you that much, then you should go watch EPL and Man U win it again. If you want to be a part of supporting the game in their country, then be a fan, through better or worse like real fans do, and get on with it. Go to a game (MLS, NASL, USL, etc), be a supporter, voice your opinion on stuff that can be controlled, and be a part of making things better, like they do in every country in every sport. If you can’t find a single thing positive, tune in to the yearly Man U/Chelsea/Arsenal title race. Its that simple. I happen to like Serie A and I support Arsenal and Roma, but I also have a San Jose Earthquakes jersey (my team), go to Columbus and Chicago games (I live in Detroit), and plan to support my local PDL team the Michigan Bucks. Really, its not that hard. If you don’t like it that much, go troll somewhere else. The league is just not for you, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just wonder if any of the MLS fanboys are trolling EPL Talk. My guess is probably not.

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