Aug 13, 2012, 9:35 AM EDT
Everyone hates a buzz kill, so let me apologize straight away.
Since women’s soccer and women’s professional leagues are topical, there’s something that needs to elbow its way into this conversation straight away, something that always gets left behind as the debate motors right into more provocative and polarizing stuff:
That starting a league in this country is damn near impossible.
When we start talking about soccer leagues, the prospects of success or failure almost always becomes a referendum on whether Americans like soccer. But that’s not where the conversation needs to start. It needs to start here:
Most professional sports leagues that didn’t start more than 50 years ago are doomed the day they open a front office. In this way, it has nothing to do with a sport’s popularity.
Even pro sports with well-established domestic roots struggle mightily to find their way in a league upstart. As I’ve written before, the graveyard of busted and bankrupt leagues are littered with corpses from American football – and I think we can all agree that football is a popular sport here.
XFL, r.i.p. Same for you, U.S.F.L. (Ask your father. Or his father.)
We keep hearing about some rich guys starting another pro football league to compete with N.F.L. – but presumably those guys went back on their meds and ditched such a cockamamie notion.
Properties with no recognition, with zero history from which to draw, without any brand equity are massive money pits. They are mostly failures waiting to happen. (All of this is why Major League Soccer, even though it continues to lose money, is a pretty amazing success story. This is MLS season No. 17.)
Think of it like this: so many of expenses of an upstart league are the same as with a recognized one, although on a much smaller scale. (Player salaries, front office salaries, stadium costs, event expenses, marketing budgets, travel, etc.) But the income disparity in receivables is outrageous, mostly because there’s so much less TV money (or none at all) coming into a freshly dug league.
So, any conversation about whether a U.S. women’s professional soccer league needs to begin there, with the no-BS recognition that it’s a long, brutal, uphill slog, no matter which sport we’re talking about.
Sep 2, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Scorpions reveal stunning stadium plans, as the latest lower-league side plans for MLS expansion.
Sep 2, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT
Cleverley arrives at Villa Park after late, late loan move on Deadline Day.
Sep 2, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
Speaking ahead of the USA’s clash in Prague, here’s what Klinsmann had to say.
Sep 2, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT
Bayern Munich midfielder to lead Germany after Lahm’s retirement.
Sep 2, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT
Where did the cash go? Who spent the most? Which records tumbled?
Sep 2, 2014, 8:26 AM EDT
Ronaldo’s not happy that Alonso, Di Maria were allowed to leave in the window.
Sep 2, 2014, 7:33 AM EDT
Is he a Red Devil or a Villan? Confusion over Cleverley.
Sep 1, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT
“Today two powers were brought together, the hand of God and that of the Pope,” Maradona joked. No, really. That’s what he said.
Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
How do you think United will line up?
Sep 1, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT
From a 18-year-old Jamaican-English midfielder to a 34-year-old veteran goalkeeper, this team takes a ride through all types of players.
Sep 1, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT
In the end, the player had to come from the nine-goal thriller at Goodison Park.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT
Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe bring you plenty of analysis on the summer transfer window’s Deadline Day.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
Passing or failing? Take a gander at how each Premier League team fared.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT
Falcao signs for United, arrives on loan from Monaco with view to a permanent transfer.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:09 PM EDT
Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck went away to London for international break, and won’t return to the club after sealing a move to Arsenal.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT
Nantes, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa are all surprising early-season teams, and Americans are playing big roles in each club’s success.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
The biggest confirmed transfers on Deadline Day including Premier League teams.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
If Andre Villas-Boas thought Emmanuel Adebayor was hard to handle, wait til he gets a load of this American character.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT
Alderweireld arrives on loan, as Mane deal agreed.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:23 PM EDT
Negredo leaves City, heads back to Spain to play for Valencia.
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- Record summer: Breaking the transfer window down, by the numbers 0
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- Done Deal: Better late than never, Arsenal seals deal with Welbeck 2
- Americans Abroad wrap: Guzan stays unbeaten, Lichaj & Bedoya thrive 1