Re: 2013 MLS Thread
I've always found the whole promotion/relegation debate intriguing, but it's just not a financially viable model for a US league, either for the top-tier teams or the bottom tier teams. While it may sound cool that a team like, say the Dayton Dutch Lions, could work their way up through the pyramid to play in the MLS, it would probably be catastrophic financially to do so. Even jumping up one level can be a heavy burden for a team.
I'd say the only way any kind of promotion-relegation comes about is if it's done within a limited scope, with some sort of financial security for owners to ensure their investment doesn't go in the toilet when they get relegated. First, it would probably just be pro/rel between say an MLS Premier League and an MLS first division. No pro/rel to lower levels (NASL, USL Pro, etc.) All teams within the top two tiers have to be part of the MLS with regard to salary structure and cap rules. I don't think anyone wants to see some outrageously wealthy guy buy some team like the Rochester Rhinos, fill the roster with stars for a few years to get promoted up to try and win the MLS, then let the team go bankrupt and at risk of folding.
There would also have to be revenue sharing between the two levels so that owners of teams that get relegated still get a cut of the the league's financial pie. I would guess they would also have to consider making the MLS an open cup, season long tournament giving all teams in the league a shot at it rather than only having the top teams compete.
In order to do that, you'd have to first have at least 30 viable teams to spread across the divisions, having maybe a 16-18 team premier league and a 12-14 team second league. Second, you'd have to have enough cities proven to support soccer to a degree that even the second league-tier teams can put 15,000-20,000 in the seats for a game. While I love the growth the game has shown since the founding of the MLS, I don't see the league having 30 teams with that kind of support for another 20 years. It's also going to require Eurosnob soccer fans to spend less time following Man U or Real Madrid and start supporting existing MLS, NASL, and USL teams in spite of the summer schedule and lack of pro/rel they complain about.
Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.