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What March Madness Can Teach Euro Fans About Watching MLS

March Madness and MLS Soccer American versus European Soccer 600x446 What March Madness Can Teach Euro Fans About Watching MLS

MLS fans put up with a lot in America. The soccer ignorant and the soccerphobic. Flipping through offseason NFL news, spring training news, NASCAR news, NBA trade rumors, hockey news, and golf news in their local papers before getting to any mention of soccer. And more often than not, that soccer news is European news lapped up by the dreaded American “euro snob.”

You know the type; fills up the bar every early Saturday morning to lustily cheer for his adopted Premier League side – the one he’s loyally supported to the death since that killer spring semester abroad. The ones who pair pristine Messi, Rooney and Van Persie shirts with skinny jeans and sneakers (which they’ll readily call trainers) to Pitchfork-recommended synth-pop shows. The ones who only attend domestic matches if it’s Steve Nash’s celebrity-strewn Showdown in Chinatown or involves Vice Magazine. And worst of all, the ones who refuse to watch MLS  because, merde, the soccer is just not as beautiful as it is on the continent.

For American soccer fans, the enemies are the soccer ignorant, the soccerphobic and Adam Carolla, not each other. And this time of year, March Madness, is a great reminder that if you truly love soccer as a sport, then you can watch all levels of the game.

After all, there’s no doubt that the quality of college ball is far inferior to that of the NBA. And the disparity has only gotten worse. Yet Americans continue to watch the NCAA Tournament in huge numbers and not just because of gambling and office brackets. NBA fans watch March Madness  to support their school, to watch tomorrow’s stars, to watch upsets, to watch wild finishes, to watch emotional stories unfold and most of all, just to watch basketball period. Just like many NFL fans warm up their couches for Sunday by watching college football on Saturday.

Is the quality of play in MLS inferior to the top European leagues? No doubt. But grounds fill up in countries all over Europe despite hosting leagues inferior to their neighbors in Italy, Germany, Spain, and England. That’s because soccer, like basketball, is a deep enough game for one to find beauty at any level.

This time of year, basketball fans revel in getting to watch hours upon hours of college and pro action. American soccer fans are spoiled for choice like that all year long. We can watch European action in the morning and then catch action from MLS, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil in the evening (and us west-coast fanatics can catch Japanese and Australian action during fourth meal time). A true soccer fan soaks in as much of the game as he or she can. We don’t do restrictive diets very well in this country, so don’t pick at your plate, gorge on soccer’s full buffet.

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

94 Responses to What March Madness Can Teach Euro Fans About Watching MLS

  1. The original Tom says:

    Good article. I’ve made the point about college football in the
    past, but your right about basketball, and the smaller soccer
    leagues in Europe. It is about connections, and getting off your
    couch.

  2. joejoe says:

    The NCAA tournament is all about “Do or Die”. Nothing about
    inferiority or even quality of play. The winner is the one that
    never loses a game. There can only be one. Simple as that. I don’t
    know how you try to tie soccer or any other sport into this. Soccer
    already has a tournament that may come close. It’s called the World
    Cup.

    • “Soccer already has a tournament that may come close. It’s called
      the World Cup.”……………………….have you heard about
      something call the “FA Cup” , “Copa de el Rey”, “Copa Italia” etc,
      etc, etc………………………………….so do you think
      that the World Cup may come close to it?!………………..are
      you aware that the last World Cup was played by 208 nations? More
      than the 192 member nations that the United Nations counts with!
      ……………………sure joejoe, one day the Fifa World Cup
      will get to be like the NCAA…..one
      day……………………greetings from outside of the bubble!

  3. Alan says:

    Fantastic article. If you love soccer, then you should get out and
    support your local side, whether it is MLS, NASL, USL, WPS
    (unfortunately absent for the year), WPSL, W League, College, US
    National Teams, whatever. There is nothing like going to a game in
    person. However, there is nothing wrong with watching foreign
    leagues either.

    • theakinet says:

      “If you love soccer, then you should get out and support your local
      side, whether it is MLS, NASL, USL, WPS (unfortunately absent for
      the year), WPSL, W League, College, US National Teams, whatever.” I
      will not be guilt-tripped into giving my $ to Don Garber/Sunil
      Gulati/Bob Kraft etc. @theakinet

      • Heimdall says:

        Wait, you said cricket’s the #1 sport here…so fortunately for you
        the I League is your local league. So hopefully you don’t feel
        guilt-tripped to support that league.

      • Alan says:

        It has nothing to do with those guys. It has to do with the players
        on the field and showing that there is support for and love of
        soccer in the United States. That is the only way that the sport
        will grow in this country.

  4. bullsear says:

    The title of this post is pretty misleading, and mostly because you
    fail to articulately draw out the connection you’re hinting at.
    Even then, the analogy is a pretty silly one. And that’s to say
    nothing of the unbearable irony (that seems to be lost somewhere)
    of calling for soccer fans to unite while simultaneously insulting
    and denigrating a certain type of soccer fan. If we want to see the
    end of euro-snobbery, we need to start being more accepting of
    different sorts of fans. We’re not going to make allies (or ‘real’
    fans, as were often apt to call them) by making fun of peoples’
    fashion senses, no matter how off-putting or ‘fake’ they may seem
    to us.

  5. “if you truly love soccer as a sport, then you can watch all levels
    of the game. “…………..so, we should not question that the
    “single entity” system that MLS practices is completly oposit to
    the true spirit of our
    game?………………………………….Dont you think Mr
    Coachie Ballgames ( real name? ) that by NOT including ALL of our
    clubs/cities , and RESULTS not deciding who gets to division 1, but
    the close doors decision of a commission, we are TOTALLY out of
    tune with the practices of INCLUSION and MERITHOCRACY that are an
    essential part of the international game?……………….Do you
    think that soccer is beautyfull just because what goes on inside
    the field?…………………….every time I bring on INCLUSION
    and MERITHOCRACY, the same thing happens………….silence

    • jorge posada says:

      couldn’t agree more. most eurosnobs dont watch MLS because they can
      see right through the single entity and fake clubs that MLS puts
      out there. MLS is a kumbaya league that ensures no club can reach
      its full potential. Why should I watch a league that has teams that
      have show EPL levels of support like Seattle, Portland, Montreal
      and Toronto, yet are forced to abide by the same 2.8 million dollar
      salary cap of chivas. Eventually fans are going to wise up. Fans
      not watching MLS has little to do with the quality and more with
      the structure.

      • Tim says:

        Because watching clubs hemorrhage money just to exist is sooooooo
        much fun

      • joejoe says:

        I’ll tell you why Jorge. Because MLS doesn’t want to go out of
        business like all the other leagues before. Don’t watch. Nobody
        cares. Pal carajo contigo.

        • jorge posada says:

          name one league that has had pro/rel that has gone under? just one?
          there arent any. plus just as many MLS teams are in the black as
          there are in other leagues so clearly this single entity system
          isnt creating all this money you thought. the only reason MLS is in
          business right now is SUM and the ridiculous perks that come with
          being an MLS owner, free of all risk and investment.

          • Prune says:

            What does pro/rel have to do with anything? Nobody mentioned
            pro/rel not the poster not the article. Not everything in soccer in
            life has to do with pro/rel. And to your other point. Toronto
            spends 5 times as much as Chivas. So does Seattle, LA spends almost
            10 times. The answer to your question is India’s National Football
            League started 1996 went under 2007. And it had pro/rel.

          • Alan says:

            EVERYTHING has to do with pro/rel with these guys Prune. They tried
            to pull the same crap with me a few months ago. Even the color of
            each team’s kits have to do with pro/rel.

          • Robert says:

            @alan, everything in life is about Pro/Rel. Wake up buddy. I highly
            doubt you still use a Zenith Tv, Sony Walkmen or motorala razor
            flip phone. Pro/Rel is all about pushing yourself to the next level
            and not mailing it in hoping for a first round draft pick in the
            next season.

          • Alan says:

            You are right. I did upgrade to the best. I am not just happy to be
            here. I actually did just achieve my dream job, and am not just
            looking and watching someone else do it, which is what I would be
            doing if I were West Brom. I would have just been satisfied with an
            interview i.e. being included. My life doesn’t work in seasons
            where even if I have a bad year I will be relegated and someone
            else will be promoted that is not necessarily better than me. I did
            upgrade to an iPhone, and no one is relegating me to a flip phone.
            In a pro/rel world, only 20 would achieve it and next year the 3 at
            the bottom would have to give it up to the three flip phone users
            below me. “Wake up buddy.” Your analogy is stupid as are the people
            that gave you a thumbs up.

          • Robert says:

            What the hell are you talking about? Why are you talking about your
            dream job? your response is idiotic

          • Alan says:

            You said EVERYTHING is about pro/rel, not me. Why are you talking
            about cell phones? That part of life is about pro/rel but getting
            hired for a job isn’t? The point was that in your system, I would
            have been happy to have been included in an interview. In my
            system, I actually had a chance to get hired, and I did. In life,
            you can actually win. In pro/rel, you are just there to see which
            one of three can beat me so that they can win. In life, you keep
            playing until you win. In your world, you just keep playing so that
            others can see who wins between the “elite”. Idiotic would be a
            nice word for your analogy. Mine is spot on. I am not the one that
            keeps saying that pro/rel is about life. You are. There are not
            leagues, seasons, 3 automatically go down and 3 automatically go
            up, etc. in life. It is a sport, not life, but I am sure glad that
            there is not some contrived pro/rel system in real life. I would be
            watching the same 4 buy the success that I have achieved. In real
            life, everyone has a realistic chance to win. But really, the “real
            life” analogy is just dumb. Life is life and sports are sports.

          • Robert says:

            read the first sentence and stopped. I feel bad for your new
            employer

          • Alan says:

            I know. It is about an eighth grade reading level. For that, I
            apologize.

          • Alan says:

            The next time I will dumb it down a bit for you.

          • Robert says:

            @alan, hhahah you just burned yourself, you dummy. “its about an
            8th grade reading level” -Alan. HAHAHAH,

          • Alan says:

            Uh, stop and think about it for a second. I wrote it at about a
            level that even an eighth grader could understand, but it was
            obviously not low enough for Robert. Even that was too hard for you
            to understand.

    • TUA says:

      Can someone please tell me how you sustain a business model in the
      US with pro/rel and no salary cap? Just wondering since some
      jackasses like “roger 4 pro/rel” have no clue what they are talking
      about. I swear some of you Euro posers are going to go your whole
      life being upset at MLS and not enjoying having a league in your
      own country that is going to be around for a long time.

      • Robert says:

        @TUA, Why is it a RIGHT for MLS teams to exist? How does your life
        change if MLS disappears?

      • Alex says:

        americans, always think they know whats best. why dont americans
        just open their friggin eyes for just alittle bit and look that a
        club based structure is used all over the world, in leagues big and
        small, rich and poor. how many of those have failed? now look at
        USA checkered soccer past. every pro league before is a closed shop
        league with franchises and look at all their failings. insanity is
        doing something repeatedly and expecting different results. yea MLS
        is growing but a growing league with diverse owners with their own
        agenda to grow and profit from their individual franchises yet all
        coming to agreement on players salaries, contracts, regulations and
        different clauses; you have a recipe for a anti trust lawsuit. you
        only have to look at the tract record of franchises vs club models.
        seems like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • TUA says:

          That didnt even make sense just so you know. Here is what it comes
          down to. If you knew so much about running a sports league you
          would be. But your not so if you dont want to support MLS then dont
          and sit in front of your tv and pretend to care about a euro team.
          Pro/rel will NEVER work in the near future. And BTW do you know how
          many MLS clubs were profitable last year? TWO, seatlle and toronto
          and it came right out of garber mouth. So again how do you sustain
          a league where clubs are independent but have no profit? Seriously
          some of you are really that dumb.

          • Robert says:

            @TUA, answer the question. Why must MLS franchises be given special
            treatment? After 17 years only two are able to turn a profit?!
            Isn’t that the big complaint about pro/rel is that clubs overspend?
            Well, MLS doesn’t have Pro/Rel and franchises are still
            overspending! Simple: Revenue-Expenses=Net Income or Net Loss.

          • TUA says:

            @Robert…i agree with you there but pro/rel is not the answer YET.
            Where are these lower level clubs coming from? On top of that where
            will the play? In the 3000 seat stadiums a lot of them have….And
            yes major clubs overspen all over w/ pro/rel and then you have
            clubs like Rangers and Portsmouth who are now bankrupt hence the
            reason for a hard cap. No one is saying pro/rel and no salary cap
            cant happen but not in the near future…

          • Heimdall says:

            Non-profitability is acceptable for profit minded owners if it
            ultimately increases the value of the team. If MLS owners all
            demanded profitability, the league would have died a long time ago,
            but they don’t. They just want something more sustainable than the
            hard spending done in Europe. The unsustainable spending for some
            of the larger teams is acceptable because the owners will just
            inject more capital or exit ownership. Losing a ton of money with
            no end in sight is unacceptable to the current owners of MLS.
            Slight losses are okay. Heavy losses like with the NYRB (high paid
            DPs without LA revenue streams) are okay because of brand exposure
            that is reflected in the corporate culture in their other soccer
            endeavors.

          • Heimdall says:

            Overspending is not the main complaint in pro/rel since if
            necessary, behavior modification will be mandatory. The problem is
            that method is not the best way to grow the league in a country
            where soccer is not the main sport and we don’t have a surplus of
            well run teams that would keep 90% of its fans if it went down into
            the 2nd tier. Look how it hard it has been for DC to get a stadium.
            Except for the stadiums that were entirely privately financed, how
            confident would one be in getting a revenue controlled facility if
            an owner went to the city asking for them to pay for their share of
            the stadium by selling bonds in a deal that could affect their bond
            rating, and then warn them in advance that everything should run
            smoothly and to the projections….unless the team gets relegated.
            If I’m a city council member, I run far far away. Sure if there is
            pro/rel, then I want unfettered spending and I want my team to do
            use the resources of its owners to win titles and avoid relegation,
            which is why you’ll never see a salary cap in a pro/rel league
            because it would be unthinkable to hold back resources. Minor
            league soccer is a hard sell here which is what most of the country
            would be following because at least half of the 20 team top
            division would be in the top 6 markets. Is this the best way to
            grow the pro game here while inviting investment? Soccer’s relative
            lack of popularity makes it difficult and while pro/rel makes it
            relatively easy to enter the pyramid, the instability of pro/rel
            makes financing unfriendly…unless you know a lot of owners
            willing to build their own stadia.

        • Heimdall says:

          I think what works all over the world would work here if soccer was
          our major sport like most other places, but alas, it is not. A lot
          of the MLS is based on not repeating the same mistakes that led to
          the failure of the NASL such as no spending controls and not being
          putting investors under enough scrutiny before being granted a
          team, and as you say, insanity is doing something repeatedly and
          expecting different results. Also, the league will disagree with
          your anti trust assertions, since players are contracted by and are
          paid for by the league. Remember when Nguyen wanted to sign with
          Dallas, but the league ixnayed that because the terms were too
          high? It doesn’t have the rampant free agency that other leagues
          have and even the scrub draft at the end of the season is designed
          to make player movement act like single entity. But maybe the
          players will make a stink about it again in the future.

          • Robert says:

            MLS has spending controls but is still OVER SPENDING! Two Clubs are
            profitable out of the whole lot.

          • TUA says:

            @Heimdall…Very well put. @Robert…Most clubs are not
            overspending, they are just not generating enough revenue. Remember
            your little business equation. Revenue minus Expenses equals
            Profit? very simple that the clubs are just not making money.

          • Robert says:

            @TAU, I’m sorry sir but you are not very bright. If expenses are
            higher than Revenue(sales) YOU ARE OVER SPENDING.

          • @Heimdall…………..I think that you missuse the definition of
            insanity when you use it to support the “old dirty trick”(remember
            the old NASL!) for two reasons:………1) the old NASL did not
            have a salary cap but did not practice Pro/Rel either. That changes
            the whole equation!………. Ironically,, one of the conclusions
            that you get when watching “Once in a lifetime” is that they folded
            not only because overspanding but because the fact that they have
            an “all powerfull” central office that made questionable decisions.
            Well, just like you guys use the old NASL to make a case against
            Pro/Rel ( which is ridiculous since they did not practice it! ),
            you could make a very strong case against “single entity” because
            the centralization aspect of it…………………….2) isn’t a
            better fit to apply the definition of insanity when we are told
            over and over that a Pro/Rel system will not work in america, even
            that it works everywhere else?……………………….let me
            throw an extra qestion in the mix: ….isnt it funny how they want
            to promote rivalries, but in order to avoid antitrust sues they say
            in court: “it does not apply to us, we do not have to compete
            against each other, we are a single entity”…………So, I think,
            if they not compete against each other, is it a soccer
            league?…………or is it more a show like Cirque do Soleil?

          • think about it! Just like in MLS, in Cirque do Soleil the “actors”
            wear different colors, and play different roles, but at the end of
            the day, they are contracted by the same entity!

          • theakinet says:

            Heimdall wrote: “Overspending is not the main complaint in pro/rel
            since if necessary, behavior modification will be mandatory. The
            problem is that method is not the best way to grow the league in a
            country where soccer is not the main sport and we don’t have a
            surplus of well run teams that would keep 90% of its fans if it
            went down into the 2nd tier…Soccer’s relative lack of popularity
            makes it difficult and while pro/rel makes it relatively easy to
            enter the pyramid, the instability of pro/rel makes financing
            unfriendly…unless you know a lot of owners willing to build their
            own stadia…I think what works all over the world would work here
            if soccer was our major sport like most other places, but alas, it
            is not.” *CLEARS THROAT* pre 1993 JAPAN no pro soccer. 1993
            launched j. league. 1999 adopted germany’s pyramid with pro-rel. by
            2005 j league was top-10 in the deloitte money list of leagues, and
            ranked #1 in asia both financially and based on on-field
            performance. and attendance is ~20K/game. 1996 (hmm, 1996? what
            happened in US sports scene in 1996?) INDIA launches nfl with
            semi-pro teams. 1997 add d2 with pro-rel. 1998 add d3. 2007 rebrand
            nfl as i-league to raise professionalism. cricket’s the #1 sport
            here AND foreign soccer leagues are very popular, but somehow the
            i-league has survived. hmm. puerto rico has pro-rel and i’ll bet
            basketball, baseball and boxing are all more popular.

          • Heimdall says:

            While the J League and MLS both started in the 90s, if you compare
            the two soccer scenes before formation, one can see that the J
            League was a natural evolution of the JSL and many of the clubs
            began well before the JSL. In the US, during that same period of
            time, was marked by such instability with leagues appearing and
            disappearing and clubs doing the same. Also, the amount of
            corporate support given to clubs in Japan would never be matched
            here. I’m glad the I-League is thriving, but I don’t like the
            spread of average attendance in the first division. Sure East
            Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Shillong Lajong get a ton of people, but
            how about the lowest attended three teams in the first division?
            And those top three teams are relatively close to each other
            compared to the expanse of the country’s border. Also, with few
            exceptions I-League teams play in stadiums too large for them.
            There’s no pro/rel here, but the league is doing what it can to
            have teams play in size appropriate arenas.

        • Heimdall says:

          No Roger, I was using Alex’s definition of insanity, which is
          repeating an action while expecting a different outcome. You should
          address him if you have a problem with it. But pro/rel won’t work
          here because we’re not like everywhere else. I didn’t talk to him
          at all about pro-rel. All I did was mention about the failure of
          the NASL was due to no spending controls and (here’s where your
          central office comes in) the ease of which owners became a part of
          the league and how MLS is run differently (salary cap and expansion
          fee) to avoid the fate of the old league. MLS does not stifle
          competition and is indeed a part of the global marketplace for
          professional soccer, just as Cirque du Soleil competes with the
          Ringling Bros, Shrine Bros, and whoever else is out there (etc).
          Yes, it is a competition because once a player is signed, the
          league lets the franchise do its own thing. You just have to
          remember when it comes to player ownership and rights, those are
          owned by the league. So for example, Mauro Rosales plays for the
          Seattle Sounders, but his employer is MLS.

          • “But pro/rel won’t work here because we’re not like everywhere
            else”………………………Is Japan like “everywhewre
            else”?……….Is Puerto Rico like “everywhere
            else”?………………..Is India like “everywhere
            else”?…………….countries of all sizes, cultures, levels of
            wealth, political systems, yet all sucessfully practice
            Pro/Rel……………………you may be right Heimdall, Congo
            Democratic Republic, El Salvador, Fiji and Denmark…………..all
            kind of similar right?!

          • It is not very difficult to read on these forums and find out who
            are the ones trying to misslead and disinformate………There is
            only one definition of insanity, which is to do the same things,
            and expect a different resut. So when you ignore the ovelwhelming
            evidence of Pro/Rel being suscessfull in almost 100% of leages
            around the world; and when you ignore than a pro/rel league has
            NEVER EVER folded, and say:……”But pro/rel won’t work here
            because we’re not like everywhere else”………….you are
            expecting a different result right?………..if you are not, then
            tell me ANY pro/rel league that have ever
            folded?………………………and the “we are different”
            argument which would be your only intellectual shelter, is just
            ridiculous…………………..and yes MLS competes in the global
            market-place because soccer is a global game. However, internally,
            MLS does not compete against our other leagues (USL,
            NASL)…..”just as Cirque du Soleil competes with the Ringling
            Bros, Shrine Bros, and whoever else is out there”……..neither
            MLS franchises compete on that way against each other! DO THEY?
            ……………………….and then we get to the NASL argument.
            In your view they folded because:…..1)no spending controls
            ……2)the ease of which owners became a part of the league
            (meaning : no $40/$60/$70 mil franchise fees)…………you only
            make the central office responsible for not implementing the “right
            rules”……..ignoring that when ” all the eggs are in the same
            basket”=centralized systems, and the thing goes down, the whole
            thing goes down!………..but all around the world club failures
            do not take whole leagues down with them. ……………….your
            last point is how single entity works(I see you really familiar). I
            do undersatnd how a single entity franchise system
            works…………………………………………………………
            Just a question. If I buy a McDonnalds, can I sell jamaican
            patties?…………………do you find a Seattle Big Mac tasting
            different than a Portland Big Mac?

          • Heimdall says:

            Everywhere else = places that like soccer more than we do, so
            somewhere where soccer is in the top 5 is everywhere else and where
            clubs have had a long, uninterrupted history. Japan has soccer
            entities that predate WW2 and India has older ones. Do you think
            South Korea want pro/rel? Champions in their 2nd division declined.
            So I don’t think kleaguetalk.com is clamoring for pro/rel.

          • Heimdall says:

            I know that in France, if you get a Royale with Cheese and a Le Big
            Mac then they should taste like what they do here. I have been told
            McDonalds does tailor their menu to their customers and I agree
            that the system whether it is soccer or otherwise should make
            adjustments for the specific environment. Adapt or die and
            McDonalds wasn’t dumb enough to start in India with the US menu. I
            read Fast Food Nation a long time ago…isn’t McDonald’s hamburger
            meat from Brazil?

          • There are levels on the restaurant world . There are junk food
            places, casual places like Red Lobster and Outback, and there are
            five stars restaurants. Single entity makes us the MacDonals of the
            football world, and no amount of tailoring or marketing or make up
            can change that…………………..now, if we follow the
            analogy. McDonalds is a legit business. I eat there every now and
            then, but if I were allowed to ONLY eat there, that would be a
            problem…………….well, that is what we have on US club soccer
            when the USSF gave MLS exclusive division one status. If your city
            does not have a MLS franchise, you are excluded, unlink to the
            international club soccer structure…………………….. That
            makes our lower divisions irrelevant and takes away any incentive
            for growth at the lower levels………….. If you consider the
            small number of “markets” ( using your language ) than MLS can fit,
            compared to the size of our nation, with a great number of cities
            of all sizes; how can they explain that placing the emphasis on a
            fake summit, and neglect the base this is somehow good for the the
            growth of the game on our nation?…………..I don’t think that
            any intellectual acrobatics can justify that

          • Heimdall says:

            Yes, I agree. It is good to have a choice in where to eat, and it
            is good to have an alternate system when the usual way is not the
            best way to go. Like I said before, imagine if McDonalds in India
            offered the American menu. Market exclusion would be worse in the
            US with a pro/rel system. Let’s look at La Liga teams examining
            Spain’s most populous urban areas: 4 teams in Madrid, 2 -
            Barcelona, 3 – Valencia, and 2 in Sevilla. That is more than half
            of the teams in the top tier for just the top four markets. A
            pro/rel system would exclude too many sizable US markets in the
            first division. If we use La Liga as an example, there are 9 spots
            for the remaining US markets. The 30th sized metro area here has
            1.95M and most likely with this system, they would not be in the
            first division. Second or third tier pro soccer cannot compete in
            top 30 cities with NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA FB and BB for
            attendance, tv ratings, media mention or sponsorship dollars. This
            is what would make lower divisions irrelevant in this country.
            Teams stuck at lower tiers would never get going and a team
            accustomed to the top tier but falls down unexpectedly faces an
            entirely dire economic reality.

          • Alan says:

            Wait, is McDonald getting “promoted” to fine dining anytime soon?
            No, they are trying the win the fast food market (d4) and be the
            best at it. D1 is for 5-star dining, and they appeal to the proper
            market. They can also start out as fine dining, and not get
            relegated to fast food. They will fold before that happens. You
            pro/rel trolls really crack me up.

          • @Heimdall. I have to thank you for keeping a clean debate going on,
            and focusing on the issues. My respects for that. However, we
            couldn’t disagree more……………..you said: “Market exclusion
            would be worse in the US with a pro/rel
            system.”…????????????……..I am going to pass on that one. I
            honestly think you were high on something when you wrote
            that………….On your second point you use “La Liga” in order to
            argument that:.”A pro/rel system would exclude too many sizable US
            markets in the first division”……….that is why MLS is in
            Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Detroit, New York, Atlanta, New Orleans,
            Baltimore, San Diego etc?………How could You?……….If you
            compare the composition of clubs in Spain, France and Italy, you
            will find something interesting. In Spain ( like you said ) there
            is a level of concentration of clubs in a few larger areas/cities;
            in France it is a lot more “spread”, first div clubs are from
            different cities; on Italy you will find a great
            contrast,…………..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serie_A#Serie_A_members_for_2011.E2.80.9312…..
            only 5 clubs are south of Rome!………my point. Promotion and
            relegation reflects the social/economical realities of countries.
            By looking at the composition of first division clubs on Spain,
            France and Italy, you can get a very good idea of how the
            geographical distribution of wealth differs from one nation to the
            other. It is a self adjusting system which mimics reality in more
            than one way…………….. Reality is always changing, areas of
            the nation that were on an economical high yesterday, are
            struggling today ( Detroit, auto industry. South Florida, Real
            Estate). People die and are given birth every year. By continuously
            self-adjusting to those changes, Pro/Rel mirrors reality and also
            the pass of time, making every season a new chapter on a developing
            history, it gives our game a philosophical sense of
            purpose……………” The 30th sized metro area here has 1.95M
            and most likely with this system, they would not be in the first
            division”………….. the fundamental problem is that there is no
            way that any one league could fit all of our cities/clubs/markets!
            It is just mathematically impossible!………..single entity
            “solve” the issue of excluding market #30 by………EXCLUDING
            market #30, and #31, and the rest………….pro/rel have a place
            for all markets!…..Of course not all on first division, since
            that would be impossible!……it will take a structure of linked
            levels to fit them all…….pro/rel is not only the right answer,
            if you think about it, it is the only one.

          • Heimdall says:

            Pro/rel does a fine job in Spain (the largest urban area without a
            team in La Liga is #8 Alicante-Elche and in France (the largest
            urban area without a team in Ligue 1 is #8 Nantes) in having teams
            in sizable population areas. Pro/rel would exclude major US markets
            in the first tier as NY, LA, Chicago Dallas-Fort Worth and others
            would have multiple teams in the league. It is not preposterous to
            think that the top 4 most populous urbanized areas in the US could
            take ten spots in the first div and crowd the second division as
            well. It would be a necessity because the lack of these markets
            would be terrible for television revenue. The Galaxy and the Red
            Bulls have been last lately and so multiple teams are needed. How
            much space is left for everyone else? Pro/rel and the multiple
            teams in the same city will certainly crowd out large US markets
            that will only come out for first tier soccer because their other
            sports teams are first tier. Viewing the areas,
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas
            there is a MLB team for just about each one in the top 30 and the
            competition that exists between 2nd or 3rd tier soccer against MLB
            for attendance, tv ratings, media mention and sponsorship dollars
            is so overwhelmingly in baseball’s favor and the result is that the
            soccer club will be ignored. KC just built a $200M stadium in a
            private-public partnership. In a pro/rel system if such a
            partnership were to happen, KC would have to present a minimum of 3
            different projections for profitability for each tier and a city
            would have to be nuts finance anything due to pro/rel’s
            unpredictable nature. I agree with you that populous areas are
            served in FR/SP with pro/rel, but 2nd and 3rd and 4th tier soccer
            would be the destiny for too many large metro areas in the US
            accustomed to a higher sports profile and any savings from the
            expansion fee is negligible as owners will have to build their own
            stadia. No matter what hope being in a lower tier brings no matter
            how it connects this team to other clubs in the pyramid, the stigma
            from anything other than first tier is too strong. Investment will
            be directed toward greater opportunity as investors will prefer to
            own the 5th NY club rather than the 1st Cincinnati club, excluding
            smaller markets yet again. You mentioned 9 US cities and yes, MLS
            are not in them, but this is just year 17 and note that save for
            Orlando, they are all NFL cities. I hope you find this more lucid
            this time, but pro/rel in the US brings greater market exclusion.
            Also, it doesn’t help build to stadiums (it would force more to be
            built as well) and large US cities don’t care about lower division
            anything.

          • @Heimdall….Not only in Spain but everywhere pro/rel is practiced,
            the result is the same, only the best clubs get the privilege to be
            in the 1st div . If the 5th NY club makes more merits than the 1st
            Cincinnati club, which one deserves to be on 1st div?. ……Any
            market will have on 1st div, as many teams as they deserve to
            have!……….If we want to create a league/structure that
            respects and is in tune with the spirit and values that have made
            this game the most popular on the planet, then, to be on 1st div,
            is a status that all clubs ( INCLUSION ) should have the
            opportunity to earn by their own merits ( MERITOCRACY), just like
            the smallest nations on the planet are not excluded from playing
            World Cup qualifiers…………….Single entity comes with a
            price attached to it! To ignore the true spirit of our game (like
            the anti pro/rel crowd allways do ), is the price that we pay by
            implementing single entity. Such price is not only TOO HIGH, it is
            UNACCEPTABLE!………….. there are also a few major flaws on
            your post……Example: You argue that: ..”the lack of these
            markets ( top 4 ) would be terrible for television revenue”…”so
            multiple teams are needed”…since….”Galaxy and the Red Bulls
            have been last lately”……….Here, you ignore a fundamental
            difference between both systems. On a franchise system, mechanisms
            like salary cap and draft, make sure there is parity, since, other
            than the ocacional expansion, there is no renovation. It is mostly
            the same teams over and over, year after year. They can not afford
            disparity because some “markets” can disengage.( side benefit, they
            Screw the players in the proccess ) ……..Pro/Rel, on the other
            hand is a better reflection of life. The example on how in Spain,
            France and Italy first div clubs are distributed geographically,
            depending on their different population and wealth distribution, is
            a good proof of it. So, using results on a parity system, to make a
            prediction on a pro/rel system is incorrect! There isn’t a pro/rel
            league where the Major cities dont have 1st div precense!…
            ….Add to that, that on pro/rel we dont decide which clubs make it
            to 1st div; results do!….. So the:…” so multiple teams are
            needed” point is totally irrelevant…………..There is more: can
            you explain how “multiple teams in the same city will crowd out
            large US markets”…if fans…”will only come out for first tier
            soccer because their other sports teams are first
            tier”…?????..How will they be promoted to 1st div with no
            support?….wouldn’t it be more likelly that they end up relegated
            rather than promoted?……So you make a connection between TV
            revenue and market size, which is right( though partially. I’ll get
            to that in a sec), then you fail to make a connection between
            support and results, and “overcrowd” first div with unsupported
            clubs!!!???…….By doing so, you fail to see the total circular
            relationship: (bigger market)–>(more potential fans)–>(more
            fans support)–>(higher potential club income)–>(higher
            budget)–>(better players)–>(better on the field
            quality)–>(better results/Higher TV revenue/more potential
            fans) and so on!……………………………..I am sorry to
            tell you that what I see in the first half of your post
            is:………….. the projection of an assumption, based on a non
            valid comparison, using an incomplete relationship…………….i
            do not want to make my answer too long, so I will answer the 2nd
            half on a separate post

      • @TUA……your post is a good example of what people against
        Pro/Rel usually do…………….First, an insult that does not
        bring anything to the dabate……………….then, the allways
        present “old dirty trick”, ” If we do what almost 100% of soccer
        leagues on the planet do, here the league would
        fold!??”………………..my question about how, by ignoring
        INCLUSION and MERITHOCRACY, we are in complete oposition to the
        spirit of the game, does not deserve any answers? Right? It is not
        important! completly ignore it!?.NO
        COMMENTS!………………………but we have to explain how a
        system that is practiced on soccer leagues world wide; will put us
        in tune with the international game; include thousands of fans that
        are excluded now; and give our club soccer a legitimacy that it
        lacks now, will work? ………………………….clubs owners
        make wrong decisions, and over-spend all around the world
        (Portsmouth, Rangers etc), those clubs are either relegated, sold,
        merge with other clubs,and in some cases they fold. It happens all
        the time. The whole league does not goes down! .Do you guys
        remember Necaxa? They play the first fifa Clubs World Cup and did
        very good. Necaxa is on second division now. Did the mexican league
        folded? River Plate was mismanaged for years, and is on the
        argentinian second division now, a club with great history. Did the
        argentinian league
        folded?………………………but…..something tell me that no
        logic exist that would make you guys get away from your beloved
        “but…remember the old NASL” trick. The old dirty
        trick!………………………….there is a saying in spanish
        that goes:………………no hay peor ciego, que el que no quiere
        ver……………..translates to something like:……….the
        worse blind, is the one that does not want to see.

        • Robert says:

          Roger, keep up the good work.

        • TUA says:

          Youre still not explaining anything. All youre doing is showing
          other leagues in the world that have been around a hell of a lot
          longer than MLS. You cant just up and have pro/rel…please explain
          to me how the league does that and if you can ill buy into what you
          are saying. Yet again ill say there is a reason that every single
          owner voted for Garber and then gave him an extension. If the
          people who are investing Billions into this league didnt feel it
          was going in the right direction a change would be made. BUT they
          all feel this is the best way to run the league and keep it viable.
          Thats why a bunch of message board posters are not running the MLS.
          Believe me most of you on this pro/rel and no salary cap are the
          minority and if you knew so much you would be running the league
          but your not. So my advice is stop trying to change things on a MLS
          centric website and just dont be a consumer of the product.

        • theakinet says:

          “Do you guys remember Necaxa? They play the first fifa Clubs World
          Cup and did very good. Necaxa is on second division now. Did the
          mexican league folded? River Plate was mismanaged for years, and is
          on the argentinian second division now, a club with great history.
          Did the argentinian league folded?” PREACH IT BROTHER! Btw, what’s
          up with the page breaks? @theakinet

      • theakinet says:

        How does Wal-Mart do it? How does ESPN exist w/o salary-caps? What
        about Kraft’s non-sports businesses? When Drew Carey (part of
        Sounders group) signed to do “The Price is Right” did CBS have to
        “fit him under the cap?” Did they have to trade-away Craig
        Ferguson? Cancel CSI? Oh, and did you know India has had pro-rel
        since 1996 with a bunch of semi-pro teams competing nationally?
        Hmm, what year did MLS start?

        • TUA says:

          They do already do it. They are called budgets. Most businesses
          have them. Same concept You are smart

          • So in your opinion………….if they allrady “do it” and it is
            just called differently…………….then what is exactly your
            point? ………………that we dont need a salary cap!……in
            which case I agree!………………..sorry TUA but I am having a
            tough time understandind the logic on , very much all of your posts

        • MLSman says:

          @theakinet Wow that made no sense at all! TUA is exactly
          right…They are called “budgets” in the business would and they
          are smart to have in place. I wonder how some of you can sit on
          your parents computer for so long and come up with this garbage?
          Get over it, MLS is not going to have pro/rel and the majority of
          fans are happy. HAHAHAHAHA

          • theakinet says:

            exactly! teams have bugets, don’t need salary-caps

          • theakinet says:

            damn, my battery died while writing the previous comment. i was
            going to re-write that last comment: every *business* has what it
            believes is an appropriate budget. what’s good for wal-mart isn’t
            necessarily good for target. espn’s budget would bankrupt TruTV.
            the rules governing one-entity, like, i don’t know, mufc, may not
            be good for, well, rangers. so it’s dumb management to apply the
            same rules to everyone. besides, player contracts have relegation
            clauses (if management is smart, see portsmith).

          • http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/you-be-the-commissioner-what-would-you-change-10911……not
            according to this pool made right on this site. ……………I
            have asked several times Rober Hay, why no follow up to this
            article, no comments AT ALL. ……………SILENCE ( not even with
            a mile long pole they would touch it )……………finally one
            time he answer me to explain why he had not made any coments, and
            still managed to MADE NO COMMENTS!…………………..his
            explanation was that there are allways new things to talk about,
            and he should not get stuck on one topic. Like fans giving us and
            indication that they would like to go on the oposit direction the
            league is heading is just another equally important
            issue!….notice the less than 1% than 10 teams play-offs
            got!……….guess what we have?…………………..So MLSman,
            as you can see from the link, you may want to be a little more
            carefull when you throw out the word majority.

          • Robert says:

            kinda funny to see this written back in 2010 and one of the lowest
            rated items was 10 team playoff structure with 0.75% of the vote.
            AHHAHAHAHAHAHAH

        • Heimdall says:

          No salary cap because those businesses can find acceptable return
          on investment for its talent. If all MLS teams doubled their salary
          budgets (does the league run on a strict cap, no as the salary
          range runs from 3M to 15M) will they see double the revenues? No,
          not at this time. So is the answer to let the teams who can afford
          it to spend? No, because eventually the lack of parity will turn
          competition into a farce, which is not the best way to grow the
          professional game in the U.S. We like superteams, just not those
          that play on different economic playing fields. Also, toss business
          principles out the window. For those businesses you mention, they
          can tolerate short term losses if profits come long term. What CEO
          would keep a subsidiary open, one that has been operating for
          decades and well past its growth stage (at its current level of
          investment) when all it does is drain the main company for its
          expenditures. But this is pro soccer which allows losses at a small
          scale and at a larger scale at the Chelsea or Manchester City end.

          • Robert says:

            Parity doesn’t even exist right now. Galaxy in the past 10 years
            made the MLS Cup final 5 times.

          • Heimdall says:

            I’m not looking for parity in the sense that it’s a certain team’s
            turn for a title, but I would like the teams in the league to play
            in a similar economic playground so that their choices in player
            acquisition is more of a determinant of winning the title than
            spending to keep it as interesting a competition as possible for a
            growing soccer nation. Would I like them to open up the purse
            strings a little more, yes. If my team could spend its profit, then
            in my best Worfian voice, I would say that team would be
            formidable. But I remember when the max salary was 250k and a
            decade ago when the league almost folded to the building of
            stadiums to paying DP salaries to Kansas City and Ongoal showing
            those older MLS teams a way to run their teams and also how it is
            now with attendance at a healthy median and that there is no
            question today about the league’s survival. I don’t know where you
            live but I could see someone having a gripe with the league if
            there wasn’t a team around them and if they thought the expansion
            fee was too much of a barrier to entry or be excited by the new
            attendance figures and wonder how good the league could be if they
            spent their own (and their owner’s) money. All I know for certain
            is that if the top league in the US is one where there’s a big 5
            that is always in the top 6 while the invader in the top 6 will
            never win a title, then that league won’t grow the game here. Thank
            goodness we’re in CONCACAF and not in Uefa where CL money really
            messes things up for domestic leagues.

          • Robert says:

            easy reply: CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

          • Heimdall says:

            Not really…Toronto advancing farther than LA or Seattle doesn’t
            really change the competitive balance for MLS cup just as Salt Lake
            getting to the final didn’t enhance their chances.

  6. Charles says:

    It is funny in American soccer circles how the “casual fan” is
    hated by guys who only watch the top teams in the world. The same
    guys who are dumb enough to think they are NOT a ” casual fan”.
    Those same guys of course hate college soccer
    too………………..Enjoy your soccer and dont ever apologize
    for rooting for the home team……………….bullsear, who says
    anyone who watches and is looked down at by a Euridiot wants to
    “become friends” with them?

  7. S04th says:

    Wait. Hold on. Let me get this strait;

    The American soccer FANS need to learn a lesson from a 345-team,
    nation-spanning, healthy and vibrant “lower division” and its
    nationally televised 64-team championship that offers satisfying
    rewards for success to both players and supporters?

    • Charles says:

      lower division ? what are you talking about ?……….Like US
      Soccer, the NCAA have completely seperate divisions with different
      tourneys……and never mix the teams ever…….And they have
      conference to seperate the whole NCAA first division into geo
      regions………and a playoff to determine the champion……sounds
      to me like MLS has already learned the lesson, the fans ?

  8. Ben says:

    NCAA tourney BBall is the most overratted boring event and way
    overhyped, it is so boring and I am a Baskatball fan! Nothing beat
    the home atmosphere at a College Batketball regular season game
    like in East Lansing at the Breslin Center for example, I don’t
    understand the buzz about watching two teams on a neutral site with
    7000 in the stands… Thank God for the start of the MLS season and
    the record crowd in Montreal this weekend!

    • Charles says:

      Aren’t you the new guy to this site of trolls ? Did you go to the
      Impact game ? That much have been awesome when Arnaux
      scored…………….Gaffer, you should do an article on how there
      have been pockets of enourmous in MLS…………….TSN ratings
      have been great. The Toronto CCL game sell-out, Montreal getting
      60k, Sounders and Timber will break last years attendance marks, LA
      with very good TV contract. I promise not have a heart
      attack…..but I won’t be holding my breath either.

      • jorge posada says:

        yet all those teams are limited to the same tiny salary cap even
        when they have HUGE numbers of support and have multi billionaire
        owners.

        • Alex says:

          MLS is in business not for the love of the sport (the founding
          execs were NFL gurus) or the competition of the sport, but for the
          entertainment aspect of it to make profits. If MLS sees its numbers
          growing in fan audience while providing the same, I hate this word,
          “product” then MLS will be reluctant to change. Remember MLS key
          demographic is not hardcore soccer fans but the casual fan so that
          they can be a fan and consumer of MLS, not soccer, but MLS the
          brand, philosophy and product. Players can push for their equal
          fifa rights ever cba but since MLS is one huge single entity its
          either MLS way or they pack up, close up shop and leave hundreds of
          players without a job in all of north America. So long as they can
          squeeze as much as they can from the meger $2.8 million they are
          not going to change, no matter how big a support they generate

          • Heimdall says:

            The league lost $250M by 2000, $350M by 2004. I’m sure the owners
            had other opportunities with their investment. Lamar Hunt owned
            teams in every decade since the 60s, which was when he started
            watching the game and went to World Cup matches as much as he
            could. He built the stadium in Columbus when the city didn’t want
            any part of its financing. You say that the MLS was created solely
            for profits, but for the owners who stayed in it for the long haul,
            their actions say otherwise. Remember, the MLS key demographic is
            not the hardcore soccer fan because with the exception of the
            Mexican primera soccer fan, all other measureable television
            ratings for professional soccer is quite small. Although the league
            has hardcore soccer fans, the casual fan is necessary for growth.
            Fortunately, soccer is attractive to key demographics.

        • A. Ruiz says:

          All this hate about salary caps, yet the NFL maks more money than
          anyone single soccer league in the world. Add together the revenue
          generated by the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL and you’ll dwarf any soccer
          league. If a salary cap is such a hindrance why does the highest
          the grossing league in the world have one and succeed so well?

        • Gazza says:

          jorge said: “yet all those teams are limited to the same tiny
          salary cap” Please tell me what that tiny salary cap is? 2 MLS
          teams have payroll >$10m. Four have payrolls over $5m. So again
          what is the salary cap? MLS has a salary budget and there is no
          limit to how you can spend.

    • Heimdall says:

      Hey Ben…it’s true that the number of neutrals lessens the
      atmosphere, but for the first round that is played on Thursday and
      Friday, there are 16 games each day and with it comes a ton of fun
      action with teams unfamiliar with each other. Yes, Thursday lack
      the normal amount of buzzer beaters and upsets but I was happy to
      see the two #2 seeds smoked on Friday. People are watching these
      games that are running on four different channels at a time and
      it’s such a enjoyable television experience to the extent that it
      has slightly lessened attendance at games. And the NCAA is fine
      with this because any loss in attendance revenue will be easily
      made up for during the next television contract. I think the way to
      go is to travel to the conference tourney and then watch the first
      and second round (thu-fri-sat-sun) on the couch at home, even if my
      team’s in it and then travel to the sweet 16 games and beyond.

  9. Alex says:

    I watch MLS (or at least try to). I am active in discussions about
    MLS, its teams and players (and no its not to berate them, its
    actual discussion) and i actually watch and pay attention more to
    mls than europe and I know about MLS. So I’m not a soccer ignorant,
    euro snob or soccer phobic. With that being said boo hoo hoo to you
    that whines how “euro snobs” don’t support MLS and instead watch
    epl or la liga. But this discussion is like trying to fit a square
    peg in a round hole. First off MLS, most of nasl and usl pro are
    reletively new. Therefore you can’t manufacture fans over night.
    True authentic support takes years to develop and only recently has
    the second generation of MLS fans are emerging, most of them being
    in their late teens. Second I agree with Jorge and roger, there’s a
    certain cheesyness to MLS that leaves a sour fast in the mouth. One
    with the nicknames, faux club structure, kumbaya atmosphere, single
    entity structure that limits competition and promotes mediocrity
    and the wanna be hardcore euro ultras that are restricted by MLS
    and stadium security yet at the same time turn around and market
    off their backs. And don’t get me started on the announcers that
    hollers at fans to get loud and put your scarves up and I quote
    “for the NBC sports network”. Yes they did say that. Its that kind
    of commercialization and faux simulation soccer that turns people
    off. I’m sure that MLS will mature both competitively (getting rid
    of single entity if they don’t want another anti trust lawsuit) and
    culturally as people and execs start to understand soccer culture.
    Need I remind you that our all power full don garber admitted to
    not understanding the culture. Finally the biggest thing is that
    all over the world big and small there exist clubs, we have
    franchises. One could argue that today’s clubs operate much like
    franchises but still. Bundesliga requires all clubs to be majority
    owned by fans. All in all MLS still has alot of change to and time
    to pass before it can start demanding the attention of those who
    watch superior authentic soccer. I hope that one day MLS will get
    there but with a sub par quality, inability to compete
    internationally, inability to actually compete in the transfer
    market for actual players, and overall cheesyness to it all, MLS
    has alot of work before it can start demanding attention. You can
    say oh if you want change then support so MLS can have the money to
    improve. You do realise that if MLS sees its fans content with the
    current state of the league they will be reluctant to change. You
    don’t see coke changing its formula every year just cuz its daily
    consumers increase every day.

    • Hemdall says:

      Who’s content? Not the Don:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/freddreier/2012/03/16/mls-cheif-we-need-a-broader-audience/
      Forbes needs a new url checker person. Yeah, I agree with some of
      the nicknames. Real Salt Lake makes no sense and then for the teams
      with the FC in them like Dallas and Toronto, I wish that since they
      chose the generic city + FC (or its reversal) formula that they’d
      pick a spicier nickname than Reds or Hoops.

      • Robert says:

        Wow, Garber/MLS is taking Credit for Timbers fans standing in the
        rain. Are you sure it wasn’t the faux promotion you granted them
        Mr. Garber?

    • Alan says:

      At least you are a fan, or you watch. I will give you credit for
      that. All of these other boneheads don’t watch, troll MLS blogs
      talking nonsense, and expect someone to listen to them. Why should
      they? They are not fans, won’t support practically anything about
      US Soccer, and expect anyone to take them seriously. Maybe if MLS
      viewership jumped, NASL and USL attendance went up, and they
      started a real movement AS FANS of US soccer play (not the owners)
      something will change for them. It should be pretty obvious by now
      that Don Garber is not listening to these nutjobs. I am sure he is
      at least smart enough to see that they are not and will never be
      soccer fans and therefore has no reason to listen to them.
      POTENTIAL US soccer supporter does not cut it. Protesting the way
      that they will never change anything.

      • TUA says:

        I agree! Does anyone really think that DG really is like “well all
        the message board posters who dont watch MLS say they would if we
        have pro/rel and no salary cap…maybe I will implelent that to win
        them over”? No, because at the end of the day they are still going
        to feel US soccer is not England or whatever, and they will still
        troll MLS sites.

  10. Heimdall says:

    No, he’s not sad….I’m sure he’s just a little tired of people
    bashing his league.

    • Robert says:

      What about people living in the 38 states that don’t have a MLS
      team?

      • Heimdall says:

        The league is still a teenager but think about a possible future
        with MLS roughly being in the same cities where the NFL is plus LA
        and 4 Canadian cities. It doesn’t totally solve the problem but
        pro/rel doesn’t either since the largest US cities will have
        multiple teams in the first tier. Large US cities won’t care about
        lower division soccer no matter how connected it is. The Pirates
        have been losing since Bonds-Drabek-Van Slyke-Bonilla team broke up
        and if you present the option of going to the Pirates or second or
        third tier soccer, the answer is obvious. Other stuff too like
        stadiums but…please read my recent reply to Roger today if you
        care. But solve the problem of lower division ickiness, the lack of
        competitive balance, financing stadiums under pro/rel’s
        unpredictablility, economic shocks from going down and going up and
        the other gripes I have in my message above if you ctrl-f 1:52,
        then I’m all for pro/rel. Then there’s the reality that the current
        mode of entrance to this country’s top tier is paying an expansion
        fee and suddenly you want to stop that. We both know that the only
        way that stops is if the league dies and it is stable now. While
        the league hasn’t been declaring widespread profits, they’ve been
        rapidly expanding with the spectre of completed contraction and
        great recessions and and I suspect that the new teams (except
        ChivLA and SJ) are doing decently financially and that could spur
        future investment if their approach is sustainable. Once the league
        gets better tv contracts nationwide and locally, everyone will want
        in. Look at expansion this century and all of those teams except
        for ChivLA, SJ, and SL (because Salt Lake is small and will lose a
        competitive advantage if money increases as an issue) want to spend
        more along with older teams like NY, LA and KC. If enough teams
        want to spend more, then the cap and DP numbers will increase.

        • Robert says:

          This is purely supply side economics and central planning at best.
          MLS Motto: BUILD AND PRAY THEY WILL COME. You speak with such
          authority but please name one league on this planet that has failed
          because of Pro/Rel.

          • Heimdall says:

            Answer a more relevant question, please…name one relevant
            professional league that currently runs a pro/rel system in the US.
            Forgive me if you detect pomposity, but as an outsider judging from
            the past decade, the league will reach 30 teams before it contracts
            to 0. But who really knows, maybe in ten years the league will die
            like the NFL in India or maybe the MLS teams with the better
            financial profiles break away from the rest like when the
            premiership was formed. And what do you mean, build and pray they
            will come…if anything ownership groups reacted to demand. All of
            those former USL teams (SEA/VAN/POR/MTL) saw a rosier future
            elsewhere. Remember when Saputo initially balked at paying the
            expansion fee and then caved. AEG was forced to move the
            Earthquakes to an area where they anticipated demand, but the
            league returned to SJ and now both cities will have quality
            stadiums. The Sons of Ben were established and predated the Philly
            group’s expansion fee. What’s wrong with central planning? Remember
            when the Football League merged with the Football Alliance and then
            another merger occurred with the cream of the Southern League. They
            had to form some sort of system now that they had an abundance of
            teams…more teams than what they knew to do with, but this was
            during a time when semi-professional teams could stand toe to toe
            with professional teams in talent and infrastructure in a sporting
            culture that is not as sophisticated as current day American
            sports.

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