Category: Leagues: Major League Soccer

Top 30 most-attended soccer friendlies in USA during summer 2018

Another round of the annual summer friendlies has come and gone. These are usually a smashing success, both in terms of attendance at the games and the TV viewing audience. However, 2018 was down slightly for these types of friendlies (International Champions Cup attendances were down approximately 10%) while TV ratings dipped somewhat too. There are several possible explanations why this happened. First, it’s possible that there is something of a soccer burnout at the moment with the World Cup just finishing. Second, a number of clubs were stateside without their biggest stars who are on a much needed vacation ... Read more

A sterile aesthetic in American soccer fandom

Editor’s Note: Spencer Abel examines the aesthetic of soccer support in today’s stadiums and reflects on the broader interest for soccer in America.  The aesthetic of soccer has a persuasive power that’s able to knock the reason out of a spectator. In American soccer, that aesthetic is blunt. Catching a full 90 minutes of soccer in the United States often leads to confusion and a possible existential crisis. Despite MLS having been in operation for 24 years, many stadiums function as part-time homes for soccer teams. NYCFC plays at Yankee Stadium, the New England Revolution plays in the shadow of ... Read more

MLS will hit point of diminishing returns if league doesn’t embrace change

MLS continues to pat itself on the back. And why shouldn’t it, many would ask? The 2018 season has seen MLS reach new heights in visibility and quality of play relative to a past when the league existed in a complete vacuum and the level of soccer on display was average by any truly objective standard. But permanent growth is difficult in a closed-league, single-entity (MLS) or franchise-based (USL) structure. The American club game will hit a point of diminishing returns in the next few years unless serious reforms are undertaken. Capturing the masses of American-based soccer fans who watch ... Read more

‘What’s Wrong with US?’ book should be retitled ‘What’s Wrong with Bruce Arena’

As we know, the United States men’s soccer team failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup. This simple fact sent shockwaves throughout US soccer. Everyone, it seemed, has an opinion on what went wrong and what the nation has to do to improve. Few, however, are actually in any sort of position to affect change. In fact, many and most not only lack the necessary acumen to offer up meaningful critique but also only possess a range of influence extending over their like-minded social media bubble. Thus, when a major presence in US soccer speaks up, we need to ... Read more

LAFC and Borussia Dortmund working together to share best practices

MLS team LAFC and Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund are unlikely bedfellows, but both trendy clubs have been working together behind the scenes. Speaking exclusively to World Soccer Talk during a recent visit to Miami, Borussia Dortmund Head of Business Development Benedikt Scholz said, “We’re very close to the LAFC franchise. We’ve learned from them how they handle marketing and how they handle the brand, which is completely different [to us]. “We came to know LAFC about a year and a half ago when they came to Dortmund. There was contact made through people at each club. They got to know ... Read more

MLS TV ratings a concern given they account for just 6% of soccer TV viewing

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Last year, I analyzed the soccer TV ratings data World Soccer Talk collected for 2016. This year, World Soccer Talk writer and researcher Collin Werner has more data for the 2017 season. The 2016 data did not include the Liga MX Clausura, amounting to just over one hundred games, but that is included in 2017’s numbers. This makes it possible to compare the performance of MLS on TV to its two main broadcast rivals, Liga MX and the Premier League across the entire season. The year 2017 was also a bigger year for international ... Read more

Creating the ultimate soccer league with best attributes from leagues around world

What if you could combine the best parts of soccer leagues from around the world, and turn them into one league that, on paper, would be the ultimate soccer league? Writer Greg McKay lets us inside to see what it would look like. Super clubs dominate European leagues. Fans of smaller teams in those leagues will feel more strongly about borrowing the concept of a salary cap. Though you will not find agreement on what is the best league in the world, most soccer fans hold strong opinions about what their favorite league lacks as compared with other leagues around ... Read more

Average attendances down for 15 MLS clubs so far this 2018 season

Photo credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports After six gameweeks played in the 2018 season, attendances are down for 66% of the MLS clubs who have played home games this season. The only MLS clubs who haven’t seen a drop in attendance compared to last season are Atlanta United (up 10%), LA Galaxy (up 23%), Vancouver (up 26%), NYCFC (up 4%), Sporting KC (up 1%) and San Jose (who have seen no increase or decrease). The MLS franchises who have seen the biggest drop in attendances compared to last season are: 1) DC United — down 71% (due to playing in a ... Read more