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Thread: 2013 MLS Thread

  1. #151
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    By expanding the popularity of the league and the revenue involved you can expand the domestic talent pool. You want more and more kids growing up watching MLS, supporting their local side, and dreaming of playing high school soccer instead of basketball, football or other sports. That can't happen in a league that lacks a true national footprint and leaves multiple metro areas of 2+ million people without a "home" club.
    If MLS tries to expand to every major market, it's going to have a terrible product. A 30+ team league is going to be a joke. Good American players will want no part of it. What you'll get is a league starting way too many guys who should be playing a tier down. Take a few low quality players and start them on Barcelona and you'll get an unholy mess. Bad players are pernicious in this sport. Deportivo Saprissa is going to bully MLS sides at will. Mexican teams will go back to annihilating them with B sides. This sport does not exist in a national bubble.

    My local MLS team has chased away fans for years. Bad teams, bad stadium, bad marketing. They could win MLS Cup and it would barely register in Boston (which is a city filled with soccer fans). The Premier League is on NBC. Kids will be watching World Cup games and Champions League in ever increasing numbers. MLS may never even be the primary soccer outlet for most U.S. fans. If it really wants to draw a national audience and woo the next generation, it had better put on dynamite games played at an extremely high skill level. We get Cristiano Ronaldo highlights on Sports Center. MLS needs to worry about measuring up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    FWIW, I agree with Y's points here -- the way to grow the league isn't by just dropping franchises in big markets and waiting for people to show up. They should follow the Portland / Orlando model of putting in 2nd division squads and seeing if supporters groups organize and begin to rally. You can then add sides slowly until you get to whatever your carrying-capacity is.
    I agree that's the way to grow it, but if the end goal is to have a team (or two in some cases) in every major market then they need to think about creating a real pyramid.
    Last edited by M2; 11-21-2013 at 10:27 PM.
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  3. #152
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    I noticed the owners of the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL Pro (3rd tier) are starting up the Cincinnati Dutch Lions in the USL PDL (4th tier) for 2014. So will Cinninati be a feeder team for Dayton? Hah! But take heart Cincinnatians. The owners of the Dayton Dutch Lions seem to have the hook up with FC Twente in the Netherlands and the Dayton team did well in the US Open Cup. USL Pro is probably the limit for a team in Dayton, so maybe the Cincinnati team is a kind of seed team to gauge interest if they decide they want to make a go of it in the NASL.
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  4. #153
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    My local MLS team has chased away fans for years. Bad teams, bad stadium, bad marketing. They could win MLS Cup and it would barely register in Boston (which is a city filled with soccer fans). The Premier League is on NBC. Kids will be watching World Cup games and Champions League in ever increasing numbers. MLS may never even be the primary soccer outlet for most U.S. fans. If it really wants to draw a national audience and woo the next generation, it had better put on dynamite games played at an extremely high skill level. We get Cristiano Ronaldo highlights on Sports Center. MLS needs to worry about measuring up.
    I don't disagree with most of this. But, the simple fact is that no matter how good the quality of play is in the overseas leagues (compared to MLS), they'll never be local. Most of the kids watching a Chelsea match -- even if they're wearing a Lampard kit while they're watching -- will never set foot in London. They'll likely never attend a match. The connection formed to the league and the teams playing there will never be as great as the connection that can be formed to a team in their city.

    MLS doesn't have to be the best or even great, it just has to be good enough. Combine that with the ongoing push to improve match day environments w/ soccer specific venues and connections between clubs and supporters groups, and that's what will grow the sport long-term in this country. It should certainly STRIVE to be great, but it isn't a necessary part of a winning formula for the league.

    But, in order for that connection to work, it has to be in places.

    I agree that's the way to grow it, but if the end goal is to have a team (or two in some cases) in every major market then they need to think about creating a real pyramid.
    Think there's absolutely zero shot of that happening. No way owners of current MLS squads would ever willingly sign on to a system that would devalue their franchises the way a pro/rel setup would have the potential to do.
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  5. #154
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    I don't disagree with most of this. But, the simple fact is that no matter how good the quality of play is in the overseas leagues (compared to MLS), they'll never be local. Most of the kids watching a Chelsea match -- even if they're wearing a Lampard kit while they're watching -- will never set foot in London. They'll likely never attend a match. The connection formed to the league and the teams playing there will never be as great as the connection that can be formed to a team in their city.
    I disagree. First, I've got my own experience to draw from. I grew up a Reds fan in Philly. Television is a great equalizer. We've got fans from all around country, and some outside it, on this site. Tangentially I've run into a number of Venezuelans who are Reds fans because of Davey Concepcion. Big time fans, never set foot in Cincinnati.

    Second, MLS is not driving the soccer train in this nation. It's firmly in the passenger car. Kids are not going to need a local MLS team to get involved in following the sport. I coach youth soccer. All the kids wear team shirts to practice. Almost none of those shirts are from MLS teams.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    MLS doesn't have to be the best or even great, it just has to be good enough. Combine that with the ongoing push to improve match day environments w/ soccer specific venues and connections between clubs and supporters groups, and that's what will grow the sport long-term in this country. It should certainly STRIVE to be great, but it isn't a necessary part of a winning formula for the league.
    It's got to be a lot better than good enough. If all you want is passable local soccer, there's a college near you. That match day experience (and I'm with you that the league has made huge strides on that front) depends on there being a good game. It is part of the winning formula. An MLS game costs enough that you deserve to see some real skill and ability on the field. One of the better kept secrets of MLS is that the standard of play has gotten significantly better the past five years. Yet it's still got a way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Think there's absolutely zero shot of that happening. No way owners of current MLS squads would ever willingly sign on to a system that would devalue their franchises the way a pro/rel setup would have the potential to do.
    You might be right, but my fear for the league is a bunch of folks with more money than sense are going to expand to where it becomes an exhibition league. Hey look, it's soccer.

    If they try to churn out new teams like hubcaps, they're going to undermine themselves. I've really enjoyed MLS 2.0 (Timber Joey is the coolest thing ever), but growth for its own sake is going to beget a league where very few teams are actually playing major league soccer.
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  6. #155
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Interesting sidebar to this discussion (which I'm enjoying tremendously -- even it is just the three of us):

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/u...history-112113

    There are two elephants in the room. Two obstacles that the recently resuscitated North American Soccer League has to maneuver around without ignoring, angering or otherwise irking them. The first is Major League Soccer, comfortably the most successful professional soccer league in the history of the United States and Canada. The other is the NASL itself. The previous incarnation of it, that is, which folded amid financial ruin in 1984, only to be re-launched in 2011.

    Three years in, things are going pretty well for the upstart league. It claims attendance was up some 30 percent this year, to somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 per game. The New York Cosmos made their long-anticipated return in the fall season, which they won comfortably before lifting the Soccer Bowl, adding gravitas and attention.

    And so the NASL has expansion on its mind, after two seasons in which it lost and gained a team. Next year, it will grow from eight to 11, one of whom, Indy Eleven, has already sold out the 7,000 season tickets on offer. But here’s where the ghost of the old NASL haunts the new. Some three decades ago, it had expanded far too quickly, bringing in shaky ownerships and uninterested markets. When attendance fell off, the bubble burst.
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  7. #156
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Interesting sidebar to this discussion (which I'm enjoying tremendously -- even it is just the three of us):

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/u...history-112113
    IMO, if the NASL doesn't expand too quickly, it stands a good chance of sustained solvency for the following reason:

    Even though this incarnation of the NASL serves as a de facto minor league, it very much has a "Major League" feel to it, due to the fact that it is comprised of "Major League" markets.

    In what may actually be a good thing for MLS, due to the high MLS expansion fees, is that the NASL's presence in under-served non-MLS major markets may well deter MLS from over-expansion.
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  8. #157
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Revering4Blue View Post
    IMO, if the NASL doesn't expand too quickly, it stands a good chance of sustained solvency for the following reason:

    Even though this incarnation of the NASL serves as a de facto minor league, it very much has a "Major League" feel to it, due to the fact that it is comprised of "Major League" markets.

    In what may actually be a good thing for MLS, due to the high MLS expansion fees, is that the NASL's presence in under-served non-MLS major markets may well deter MLS from over-expansion.
    The other league that springs instantly to mind with that, though, is the defunct IHL.

    They tried to go big by doubling up on some major NHL markets (Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles) and other cities that were larger but lacked hockey (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Houston, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Indianapolis). The league collapsed under it's own weight with costs skyrocketing and revenue never increasing to match.

    Being a second-tier league is a tough balancing act -- keeping play quality strong while keeping costs down isn't easy.
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  9. #158
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The other league that springs instantly to mind with that, though, is the defunct IHL.

    They tried to go big by doubling up on some major NHL markets (Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles) and other cities that were larger but lacked hockey (Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Houston, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Indianapolis). The league collapsed under it's own weight with costs skyrocketing and revenue never increasing to match.

    Being a second-tier league is a tough balancing act -- keeping play quality strong while keeping costs down isn't easy.
    True.

    IIRC, the IHL ticked off the NHL -- costing many IHL franchises their NHL affiliations/subsidization -- by moving into NHL cities. Even though, as far as I know, no such arrangement between MLS and NASL exists, the NASL, with the obvious exception of the Cosmos, would be wise to avoid existing MLS markets.

    However, as another example to help prove my original point, following the NBA's expansion boom, CBA teams continuously failed miserably in Major markets, where opponents such as Yakima and Sioux Falls were tough sells there.
    "I have just been more than a little suspect of all the trades since the Willy (Scott Williamson) cash grab. That one left such a bad taste in my mouth that even a 1985 Dom Pérignon couldn't cleanse it." -- Creek14

  10. #159
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Revering4Blue View Post
    True.

    IIRC, the IHL ticked off the NHL -- costing many IHL franchises their NHL affiliations/subsidization -- by moving into NHL cities. Even though, as far as I know, no such arrangement between MLS and NASL exists, the NASL, with the obvious exception of the Cosmos, would be wise to avoid existing MLS markets.

    However, as another example to help prove my original point, following the NBA's expansion boom, CBA teams continuously failed miserably in Major markets, where opponents such as Yakima and Sioux Falls were tough sells there.
    I think if the NASL sticks to expanding into major markets not served by MLS and keeps it's expansion fees down and player costs down, the league should be okay. The biggest problem with the NASL 1.0 wasn't so much rapid expansion. The NBA and NHL had big expansion booms in the same era, and the NFL had a huge jump in the number of teams as a result of the birth of and merger with the AFL. There was some turbulence in these leagues as well, as some teams had to move and, in the NBA and NHL, teams absorbed from rival leagues were merged or folded. The difference is that in each of those leagues, the main source of talent was cheap - new players came from the college and minor league ranks.

    Overexpansion didn't doom the NASL as much as greed and an arms race for top foreign players did. When the Cosmos went out and signed Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia, et.al., and started selling out Giants Stadium, it created this expectation among existing and prospective owners that signing some superstar players could lead to sold out football stadiums and hopefully a big tv contract. Existing owners started jacking up expansion fees to subsidize their signings of expensive foreign stars in hopes that things would sort themselves out when the NASL could score a big tv contract from a major network. Of course the tv contract that could save the league never came and Pele's retirement showed that a sizeable portion of the Cosmos attendance came from fascination with Pele rather than soccer fans in general. When the Cosmos could no longer sell out Giants Stadium, the tv money dried up entirely and the league folded.

    I think if the NASL expands wisely, keeps expansion fees reasonable, and teams base their business model on modest attendance figures in the 5000-10,000 range, they'll do okay. There will be some turbulence, with some teams moving or folding, but as long as they can maintain a solid number of teams that can be on solid financial ground, things will be fine.
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  12. #160
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Overexpansion didn't doom the NASL as much as greed and an arms race for top foreign players did.
    Also there was a minimal fan base. I always say if you want a good laugh watch a soccer game with a Baby Boomer who doesn't really follow the sport. And they were the young, hip crowd back in the 1970s. To a degree the NASL was like starting an all southern hockey league. It was Life on Mars.
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    SKC vs. RSL for MLS Cup. As a neutral I find those to be the two most watchable teams in the league. This could be a game that showcases just how far the league has come.

    It's also very cool that those two teams will be playing in the CCL next season. I'm going out on a limb right now and predicting one of those two teams wins the CCL in 2015.
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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    SKC vs. RSL for MLS Cup. As a neutral I find those to be the two most watchable teams in the league. This could be a game that showcases just how far the league has come.

    It's also very cool that those two teams will be playing in the CCL next season. I'm going out on a limb right now and predicting one of those two teams wins the CCL in 2015.
    Love the match up and glad SKC is hosting. Should be a great environment and showcase for the league. Obviously it is two of the smallest, if not the smallest markets in the league, but certainly two of the most consistent teams over the past 5 seasons or so. SKC lacks a reliable finisher, but I still think they take it.

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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Got lost in a busy sports weekend, but that was a pretty great MLS Cup. Never a fan of shoot outs, but there is always great drama.

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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRed27 View Post
    Got lost in a busy sports weekend, but that was a pretty great MLS Cup. Never a fan of shoot outs, but there is always great drama.
    Good thing it wasn't the FA Cup Final. We'd still be watching if Englishmen had to take those penalties.

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    Re: 2013 MLS Thread

    So the Crew announced the new TV deal....with Time Warner Cable Sports Network

    Needless to say, the backlash has been swift and decisive.

    What a disaster


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