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What do NASL’s attendance records say about soccer’s future in the US?

Jul 20, 2014, 11:19 PM EST

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The North American Soccer League is staking its claim to big time soccer, as second- and third-tier soccer clubs continue to reap large attendance awards in 2014.

And if they keep it up, MLS will have to put its future plans out there earlier than expected.

The Ottawa Fury saw nearly 15,000 fans debut its new stadium on Sunday night, beating San Antonio’s two-year-old single-game record. The big turnout gave the NASL its best week of attendance in its brief history.

With USL Pro’s Sacramento Republic boasting nearly 15,000 of its own fans on a regular basis, and even fourth-tier Detroit City FC of the NPSL constantly topping 3,000 fans, the issue begs the question of how soccer in the United States will respond once minor league teams are regularly bringing attendance numbers that rival Major League Soccer (on a relative scale).

Don’t laugh.

The NASL’s Indy Eleven averaged 10,000-plus in the Spring season and there are many teams drawing between 4-6000 fans per game despite functioning at the lower levels of United States soccer.

MLS is going to run into scheduling problems when it reaches its goal of 24 teams. As soccer continues to explode in the States, what will the biggest league in the country do when demand goes boom?

Theoretically, if markets like Sacramento and Indianapolis continue to draw crowds, they will have the money to invest in better players (compete even). And if these markets can pull a Rhinos and make a run through the U.S. Open Cup? Where will their glory take them? What will it net them?

Phrased differently, the United States does not currently have promotion and relegation. It’s difficult to imagine Don Garber convincing Arthur Blank and David Beckham that having an ‘off’ season could doom their investments to a second-tier, but imagine the challenges faced by ownership and marketers in Indianapolis and Sacramento if they have to keep promoting their brand with no hope of a higher move?

Hopefully attendance numbers would stick, but that’s utopic at best. Could it be that MLS1 and MLS2 will have to come around, where free-spending teams like Miami, New York City, Red Bulls, Toronto and Los Angeles are constantly in the first tier of 16 and others are busting their humps to get promotion? Would a super league with Liga MX fit the bill?

source:

@NASLOfficial

This is all way oversimplified, but there is going to come a time in the next 10 years where MLS will be at another crossroads. Garber has mentioned many markets in his speeches on expansion and has been careful to hedge every argument with “at the right place and at the right time”.

It’s clear that it’s been discussed in the board rooms, but we have very few answers on what it will mean if Ottawa, Indy, Sacramento and Detroit continue to make good on their promise.

MLS has 22 teams committed to 20 markets. Soccer’s the most popular sport in the world and continues to grow in the U.S. (well beyond traditional markets, as well). It’s a tremendous ‘problem’ for MLS to have, and the league is arguably pretty responsible for the popularity growth of the sport nationwide.

But something will have to give soon enough. What will it be?

 

  1. rdwngfn - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    It’s not MLS’ problem, it’s USSF’s problem! It’s the responsibility of the federation to grow the game in the country and they have failed miserably by abdicating that task to an entity whose primary mission is to make money. Don Garber knows absolutely nothing about the game of soccer, so why put him in charge of growing the game? Why talk about an MLS 1 & 2 when there is supposed to be a functioning soccer pyramid controlled by the USSF?

    • charliej11 - Jul 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Do you think any commissioner knows anything about their sport ? They aren’t coaches and general managers…they are commissioners. And he just happens to be the best there is.

      US Soccer is very lucky to have him.

      • lyleoross - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        I’m going to agree. The mechanics of fan marketing shouldn’t be that different sport to sport, and what was done with the NFL was amazing. What’s more, the primary elements that are going to motivate most fans are well below high level tactical and technical play. Even there, Garber, with a modicum of intelligence, could hire experts to frame those issues for USSF. Even there he doesn’t need to. ESPN and NBC are hiring those experts for him.

  2. greenhagen - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    East and west leagues. No regular season cross-league games (save that for the playoffs, aka MLS Champions League ).

    Huge benefits for limiting travel and enhancing regional rivalries.

    • lyleoross - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      The reason that owners won’t like relegation is that the top clubs invest a lot in players, if they lose that MLS label, it will put the relegated team under water in a hurry. There isn’t “enough” money yet to make it still pay if you get relegated. What’s more, why do we necessarily have to do what Europe does? The relegation system there is a bust; as pointed out, you have five or so top teams that never relegated and the rest of the clubs fighting over the scraps. I’d like MLS to think bigger.

      What I’d like to see is four major leagues in the US, with each league being completely independent. Then I’d like a Championship league where the top four clubs in each league play games throughout the season in an elimination type format. The final Championship game would come after each league wrapped it’s championship. All the leagues would share equally in the revenues from the Championship to help promote growth.

    • cleesmith2 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      Sacramento is making a strong case for an MLS club. How does North Carolina not have a team yet?!? The Crew need a rival to spice things up. Columbus’s nearest opponent is six others away by car.

  3. drewvt6 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Why do we have to imagine promotion/relegation (about as likely as Santa delivering gifts from a sleigh with flying reindeer) in order for lower level soccer to be successful? Why can’t we just imagine local support for our local clubs? Put a good product on the field and people will come. With people coming, we can pay players at the lower levels more money. More money = more players trying to be professional players. More professional players = more competition for spots and more competition = higher quality. We need the base of the pyramid to grow in strength in order for the top to reach a higher point.

    • charliej11 - Jul 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Agreed.

      But I am going to take a step further (and maybe even disagree).
      Why would you call it LOWER level soccer ? No reason why it has to be lower level. Having a different league, first division, is fine, great even.

      • drewvt6 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        I call it lower level because by definition (USSF, FIFA) it is a lower level of soccer. MLS is the only designated first division within the United States. I highly doubt NASL can get USSF to sanction them as such.

      • drewvt6 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        By the way, I’ve also closely watched and supported the lower levels of soccer in the US for a long time. I have seen the ups and downs of the leagues and I’ve seen the discrepancy in talent grow from MLS to the lower leagues.

      • charliej11 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I am not one of the crazy NASL wins, MLS must die guys, but NASL shouldn’t take some artificial back seat to MLS…why ?

        Because FIFA only wants one division in a country of 310 million people. So what ?
        They will get over it.

    • granadafan - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      The real money is in TV contracts, not gate receipts. The MLS can barely get a decent TV deal with ESPN. Lower levels have zero chance.

  4. mianfr - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Well, what happened when the AFL got too big and showed it could compete with the higher division?

    • drewvt6 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      gridiron doesn’t have any structure similar to the USSF or FIFA that govern what the leagues standing is (i.e. First division, second division, third, etc)

  5. markwh1963 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Relegation is a great way to go… You are right though the owners wouldn’t support it… it would be great for the game.

    I am not sure why the author chose to put Miami and Toronto as top tier teams.

  6. mvktr2 - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    You can drop that pro-rel stuff right now, NEVER gonna happen in MLS, never ever. It’s not how the league’s set up and the league and owners whom are collectively investing billions, yes BILLIONS with a B, have ZERO financial incentive to pursue or rather allow relegation to danger their investments. What MLS owner in their right mind would allow a threat to their financial stability?

    That said I’m cheering for NASL to rise and challenge MLS. It’s a long shot, less than 5% chance of success in my opinion, but if they get the right owners(billionaires) whom are willing to deficit spend for 10-15 years to bring in stars and create quality of play to rival and exceed MLS they can accomplish one or all of 3 possibilities:
    1 – force a merger through sheer market power ah la AFL/NFL in the 60s.
    2 – create a product that can literally muscle MLS out of it’s perch, supplant MLS, and become the BMOC of US Soccer.
    3 – once achieving a high overall level, bury MLS, call the shots, achieve whatever they want.

    It’s a somewhat free-market and the right owner with the right vision could purchase and invest enough into NASL to make a run at it but it’d take some extreme luck along the way and a whole lot of patience!

    • pecorasc - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      You make the assertion that pro-rel will never happen (which I agree is very unlikely, but not impossible), then follow it up by cheering for something with a less than 5% chance of happening (I’d put it at about .0001% chance). So MLS owners won’t let relegation threaten their financial stability, but might screw up this league bad enough to let NASL take over/merge? More doubtful than you let on.

  7. dfstell - Jul 21, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    The thing is that MLS is not really the “top” division. They’re just the best league right now. I’m a pro/rel fan, but the thing that some of the braying idiots of MLS fandom is that pro/rel also protects the position of the top league by ensuring that the lesser league will never have better teams. Every year the top league bleeds off the best of the lower league and status quo lives for another year.

    What MLS is doing is kinda dangerous for them. They can’t keep doing promotion via expansion…..unless the model is for MLS to eventually become the FA and run MLS1/MLS2/MLS3 with all professional clubs in the US under MLS direction. MLS has some weaker teams that only have a payroll of a few million. It isn’t hard at all for a rich owner in NASL to outspend. Remember, a NASL club doesn’t need to actually prove it is better than the worst MLS clubs to cause a problem. They just need to create an impression that they might be better and the MLS has damaged credibility.

    Soccer is a different beast than any of the other pro sports in the US. Football and Basketball have college sports as the local outlet for people who want minor league sports close to home. Baseball has their extensive minor league system satisfying that need.

    Soccer doesn’t really have that. People want teams close by, so it will never be a situation where MLS has it’s major league teams and everyone else just watches college soccer. These competing leagues will pop up and it will be MLS’s challenge to response proactively.

    • charliej11 - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      Hey braying idiot of MLS hatedom…..why can’t MLS continue to expand? I think I missed that part of your straw arguement….because you failed to state it.

      Soccer is different because it doesn’t have college ? Man, could have sworn I went to three college games last year. Incredible quality for minor league amateur soccer too.

      Quit hoping MLS will fail. You and your people are really annoying. If I weren’t stronger I would find myself rooting against your interests. Luckily I have watched more non-MLS US soccer than people like you and I still root for all of US soccer….inspite of your annoyingness.

      • dfstell - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:35 PM

        Nope, nope, nope…..I love my local 4th division team and my NASL team from a couple hours down the road. That’s part of my problem with MLS…..they’ll never embrace my local markets, so they’ll never be my local team. And then they’re just another league that I can only watch on TV and without the fun of live soccer, MLS isn’t a great product. It isn’t terrible, but if you’re watching soccer on TV based on quality, you could probably find 10-12 matches per weekend that feature better players.

        I understand why MLS had to start the way it did, but they also have to eventually move to a model that isn’t based on the NFL.

      • charliej11 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        You still failed to apologize to people that love MLS for calling them idiots.
        You still failed to tell me why MLS can’t expand.
        You still failed to tell us how I and up to 10k others at one game, went to three great college games, when soccer doesn’t have college.

        And you are most likely still rooting for MLS to fail.

    • mahezam - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Except it really is the top division though. It’s recognized by the USSF as such. And that’s not going to change. The USSF doesn’t make that decision because of attendance numbers. There are a lot of other factors in play – including the MLS academy structure, which is far more developed than in the lower tiers.

      The argument you end with doesn’t make sense either. Football is another story entirely, but unless I missed something, minor league baseball attendance numbers satisfy the desire for local baseball without competing with MLB. I see no reason why minor league soccer can’t also draw fans and fill local niches, and I also see no reason why that leads to the inescapable conclusion that MLS will be challenged.

      • dfstell - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        I wasn’t clear with what I meant. You are right MLS is recognized as the top division. I merely meant that that wasn’t a guarantee of always having the best quality. The payrolls are so low for a few MLS teams that wouldn’t be that difficult for clubs outside of MLS to pay more…..especially if they are drawing those nice crowds. Then MLS would be the Top league but wouldn’t have all the top clubs. That’s all I meant.

        I see what you’re saying about baseball. I saw an interesting article a few years about how baseball figured out a few years ago that the game itself wasn’t the attraction because the minor league affiliates didn’t control the on-field product. So, they started adding amenities like bounce-houses to the stadia that would be popular with fans regardless of whether the on-field product was any good. But…..baseball might be different too given that games take forever and there are lots of starts-stops to go visit the bounce house with your kids. I’m not sure that would work with soccer where you pretty much just watch the game.

  8. Vnice - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Actually, MLS is the FIFA recognized top flight league in the United States. So, while changes can definitely occur, NASL can never overtake MLS as the top flight unless USSF and FIFA recognize it as such.

    Personally, I don’t see MLS ever being integrated into a promotion/relegation system. I do think that there is a strong possibility that MLS could absorb the lower leagues and we could see an MLS 2 or even MLS 3. And I think the soccer pyramid will end up resembling pro baseball, where teams don’t move up or down, but there are affiliates and players move up and down. MLS and USL are beginning to experiment with just that kind of thing.

    A previous comment brought up a great point: why can’t we simply have well-run lower leagues with awesome fan support? There has to be lower league teams. If they are well-run organizations and the fan experience is fantastic, why can’t that be a long term plan for growth and generating revenue?

    • charliej11 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      Who cares what FIFA recognizes ? Let’s say the MLS hating, NASL loving guys get there way and MLS starts drawing 5k/game, and NASL starts drawing 50k/game…FIFA still says NASL is second division….who cares ? No kid would think, wow really want to be a MLS player when I grow up.

      So if NASL is successful and we can all hope they are. Then there will be two top divisions no matter what FIFA says ( bribes or no bribes )

      • Vnice - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Uh…you do realize how Soccer works right? NASL can do great, but it will never have more than a back door to the CONCACAF CL if it isn’t the top flight.

  9. jkbadger10 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how well NASL or USL does in the lower divisions. It doesn’t matter how many fans go to games. For our top division to be successful, it will be the TV deals that will determine which league (MLS vs NASL vs USL) is most successful. Right now, MLS has a huge lead in the major markets compared to the other divisions. ESPN, FOX, NBC Sports will pay for games in the leagues that have teams in NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and the like. Unfortunately, that is just the nature of the beast in the United States.

    My best guess is that MLS will eventually reach 32 teams and be setup similar to the NFL (from a league structure) with 4 divisions of 4 teams in two conferences. If you played everyone in your division home and home, that would equal 6 games. Then you play everyone else once a season (alternating each season for hosting) and that would give a team another 28 games (7 divisions x 4 teams a division). This would have a regular season of 34 games before the playoffs. That structure would work and fits a more American landscape when comparing MLS to the other professional leagues.

    After the top division, you’ll probably see an expanded minor league system similar to MLB to help fill in the various locations across the land. Plus, this will help with player development as there are some big gaps in that realm.

  10. mikeevergreen - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    We don’t need promo/rel. That’s for lesser Euro-Peon societites. We can do 27 in MLS. 3 9-team divisions. You play your own division home-and-home, and the teams from the other divisions once each. 34 games.

  11. babatundew - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Why does everyone keep saying that owners will be completely against promotion/relegation system? The promotion/relegation system does not stop European league club owners. There is a lot of money to be made if a promotion/relegation system is added to the MLS, NASL and USL because fan interest will certainly go up when every league match is crucial. Without a promotion/relegation system all the profits of the European leagues would be much lower.

    Also, scrap the playoffs and promote the US Open Cup. People love to see upsets and if the US Open Cup is given more coverage commercial support, and and hype, then it can be very popular if all teams take it seriously.

    • mdac1012 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      MLS is a single entity structure, which technically means, the league owns all the franchises. That’s completely different from what happens in other leagues. As of now, the only way promotion/relegation could occur was if the league was set up like some have written, MLS 1, MLS 2 and all the teams stayed in the league, but we’re relegated to a different division.

      And as far as the U.S. Open Cup goes, that is controlled by USSF not MLS. MLS doesn’t promote it because they have no control over it.

    • charliej11 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Pro/Rel doesn’t stop European team owners. LOL.

      Doesn’t stop them from what ? DC just went from 19th to 1st in a season. Pretty sure no team in Europe has ever done that, nor will they.

  12. renhoekk2 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Why are fans against promotion/relegation? Would MLS be worse off with say Indy or Ottawa in the league instead of Chivas USA? That team has been awful for years. With revenue sharing and teams being essentially run by the league, there needs to be incentive for owners to try and put a decent product on the field. What incentive does Chivas have to improve their team and draw fans? There doesn’t have to be a three team drop like Europe. Maybe just one team. Worst team get replaced by NASL champion every year.

    • charliej11 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      Wont work there is a salary cap in MLS, not in NASL.

    • tamparaindancer - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      MLS is trying to find a buyer/owner for Chivas–at a reduced price, too…….I’d read. #GoodLuckWithThat

  13. skipvanmeter - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    The thing is, the US is a much bigger country than any country in Europe. (Kinda obvious I know.) So the obvious thing is, well a couple of choices that don’t need to include pro/reg:

    1) Spin off Canada into it’s own league. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal can be joined by Ottawa, Calgary, Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, etc. This to me is less likely but if the demand in Canada is there they should have their own league which will thus open up more slots for US cities in a 24 team MLS. Again I doubt this will happen as the demand in Canada for a real Division 1 league is not there.

    2) As said above, petition FIFA to expand beyond 24 teams to 32. East and West divisions with less traveling for the teams. That way 10 more teams can be added eventually which would make the league the same size as the other big sports leagues in the US. Add in Sacramento, Ottawa, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, etc. Everybody’s happy. This is what I expect to happen.

    • PZ - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      The challenge with a 32 team league is that you wouldn’t play every team, every season. How do you tell Columbus they won’t get a big payday cuz LA or one of the NY teams won’t be visiting?

      • skipvanmeter - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        Well once you explain to us where that payday C-bus would come from by playing LA as opposed to DC then we can talk. But attendance for both games would be about the same and TV won’t be different either. So I don’t see a difference in paydays. Here’s a hypothetical 32 team league, split into two halves. There could still be some interleague play like baseball does:

        EAST WEST
        New England—–Vancouver
        Montreal———–Seattle
        Toronto———— Portland
        NY Red Bulls—–San Jose
        NYFC—————Sacramento
        Philadelphia——LA Galaxy
        DC United———Chivas (to be renamed when they are sold-soon)
        Columbus ———San Antonio
        Chicago————Salt Lake City
        Miami—————Colorado
        Orlando ———–Dallas
        Atlanta————–Houston
        Indianapolis——-Kansas City
        Ottawa————–St Louis
        Minneapolis——Calgary
        Tampa————-Edmonton

        There’s 32 teams. New teams are all in the NASL at present: Atlanta, Edmonton, Calgary, Tampa, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Ottawa. Probably not all of those team would move up to MLS and instead a couple other cities would get a franchise: San Diego, Baltimore, Carolina, Detroit, Nashville, etc.

        Like the NBA or NFL there will be a couple of cities that will be on the outside looking in-which drives up the value of the existing franchises and provide an outlet to possibly move.

  14. mahezam - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Attendance isn’t everything, folks. If it were, MLS would already be the third biggest sports league in the US. The AFL forced a merger because it had a fat TV contract. Good luck to minor league soccer in achieving that.

  15. talgrath - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Look, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, the attendance numbers are good but most MLS, NASL and USL Pro teams are still bleeding cash. Only a handful of the most popular teams in the country with big names and big endorsement deals, like the Sounders and Galaxy, are actually making a profit; MLS on the whole is still in the red every year, kept afloat by owners that can afford to toss a few million into the pile to keep things going with the idea being that this will all pay off in the long run. The NASL is expanding rapidly…but they may be expanding too rapidly just like their old days before the crash. Butts in seats give you solid revenue, but that’s enough to be successful.

  16. PZ - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    MLS will keep expanding and then introduce an even more unbalanced schedule which everyone will hate as much as they hated when more than half the teams made the playoffs.

  17. dkalev - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    They should separate cup and league like the European championships do… I mean, what is this playoff nonsense? That’s for football… I get trying to market to Americans, but you’re still trying to sell soccer/futbol, not some hybrid… I completely agree, have 20 teams, lowest three relegated to nasl, lowest three in nasl and so forth, have top three teams promoted… And have a system where most points wins the league, and keep that playoff garbage for mls cup or presidential cup or something, and definitely commercial the us open cup much more… Imagine having nycfc ny red bulls and ny cosmos in one league? Insane

  18. Kevin Boyd - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:54 AM

    American pro soccer will need to move towards promotion and relegation and an open pyramid for a couple of reasons:

    1) You can only have so many teams in the top flight. I don’t see FIFA going along with anything larger than 24 teams and that’s probably pushing it. I would prefer closer to 20 teams in the top flight.

    2) Pro/rel ensures a better quality of soccer in the long run as good teams move up and terrible teams move down.

    Now we can and should look at some things like for example basing relegation over performance over multiple seasons like Mexico does. There should also be mandatory standards each team has to meet at each level such as before we begin pro/rel every NASL or whatever the 2nd division will be called team needs to have a fully functioning and funded academy from U-23s on down. Also, the 3rd division should be a geographically based division with conferences and all that good stuff.

    There also needs to be timeline set in stone so any owner who doesn’t want to participate can either sell or fold their team.

  19. rybo7g - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Here’s what I see as a few problems with the MLS and or any other Soccer league that is not in Europe…

    One, they aren’t capable yet of paying top-dollar for top players. I like the fact that they are bringing in former great players, Kaka, David Villa, etc, because they are big names, and it gives soccer fans, like the real soccer fans, in the US a chance to see these players play live. So, it naturally should draw more of a crowd. This is good, it should generate more money. Although, my understanding of the MLS’s salary cap, is kind unique to the sport. In Europe, it’s kind of a free for all, or so it seems, players will go to the highest bidder. So, they may have to change their rules on this.

    Second, they need to try to mimic the european format as closely as possible, but still accommodate the ignorance of the average american sports fan. I’m not sure if that is possible, because we are so used to a playoff system like all other sports in the US. I personally love the idea of different tournaments throughout the season, and the idea of relegation and promotion, and with NASL gaining attention, this could very well be possible. In fact, I think they should do this in all sports.

    Thirdly, the US needs to establish and identity in terms of style of play. If we compare the EPL to La Liga, we see a significant difference in style of play. What is the MLS? Boom ball? I know this will adapt as players get better, but then it begs the question, how well is the youth development? Hopefully it’s getting better, but it’s been a while since our youth programs have done anything. For example, did not qualify for the olympics. Have not fared well in U-17 and U-20 world cup since like 1999.

    The final issue I will discuss, the MLS is not prestigious. However, over the years it has gained some more respect. And, although I think money is one the driving forces behind player movement and happiness, they also seem to have a lot of pride in winning. And, I am sorry the MLS or any other league not in Europe, will never be able to reach the level of prestige of the Champions League. So, unless they can some how link into that, which is currently strictly European teams, we will only have great young talent that will soon leave for europe, or older guys. We will never see a Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Bale, Van Persie, etc. play in the MLS during their prime. They actually do seem to care about winning. Yes, I am aware of the Club World Cup, but is anyone else? And let’s face it, that’s about as prestigious as the MLS. A lot teams to put their first teams in the competition, I think, because it lacks the prestige. I mean, just look at who has won the competition of the years.

    I am glad to see that the attendance levels are increasing, because it could be a start to something great for the MLS.

  20. ftnotecomm - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    One reason I don’t believe pro/rel will work in the US/Canada is the sheer size of the land. In England (or most European countries), a team that drops down still has manageable travel costs because there are so many clubs in a small geographic area. Can you imagine if Real Salt Lake has a bad season and drops down? Even if the second tier was much larger, RSL probably wouldn’t have a single road game they could bus to.

    There are other reasons why I don’t think pro/rel can work here any time in the near future, but this is one I don’t often see mentioned (if I missed it in this thread, apologies).

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