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#1401 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 11 April 2022 - 04:27 PM

Here's my take on the early season.

 

https://baltimorespo...n-observations/


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#1402 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 11:01 PM

Deadspin: So what will MLS do about its TV ratings?

 

Goes to what I’ve said previously; that under its existing business model MLS has hit its ceiling, in terms of popularity, revenues, and quality of play. No simple solutions, but barring a change of almost drastic proportions there’s no real growth potential, especially since they’ve milked about all they can out of expansion and the buy-in fees that come with it.



#1403 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 09:11 AM

Pretty good analysis by the Deadspin writer there. No other league in the world has the competition facing it from other sports. Its just an unfortunate part of the landscape in the US.

 

And there is no simple solution.

1. The fans of a team are very avid and support the team as shown by attendance. As pointed out that just doesn't translate to TV viewing. 

2. The league IS a stepping stone for players to go after bigger clubs in Europe. The media needs to stop talking about that like its a bad thing. Its a good thing. A very good thing. EVERY league in the world outside of the big 5 in Europe are stepping stone leagues. The more players in MLS are sold to Europe the more money those clubs have to invest in their academies. The more they invest in their academies the better quality players are coming up through their systems. And this also gets overlooked by most media. The bigger the academies the more players they are training and the more opportunities their are for youth players to go after those spots. This trickle down affect is real and its happening now its just not something that jumps up and screams at you now much better this is for the game long term. But it is.

3. I have been a fan of relegation and continue to be. It take a huge adjustment in our sports systems and philosophy but its doable if we really wanted to make it happen.

4. There is no realistic way to shift to a winter schedule like Europe. Our winter weather is just unplayable too often for about a dozen teams. Perhaps with some odd scheduling you could make it work. Have to avoid NY, NE, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake, Minneapolis, and Philly for basically December, January, and February. Can you schedule say NYCFC with all away games for 3 months?

5. Not sure there is anything to do with the playoffs. American sports fans are just driven by '"making the playoffs." Fans mostly clamor for more teams to get in the playoffs not fewer. Andybody who has read stuff I write or posts I make on this site know I am not a fan of so many teams making the playoffs. Especially in baseball, hockey, and basketball. They play a ton of games that just mean so little since so many teams make the playoffs. Shoot in the NBA two teams made the "play in tournament" that were WAY under .500. Silly you can play under .500 for 82 games then still be given a shot to win the title. Joke!


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#1404 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 10:19 AM

My thoughts, Steve:

 

I think MLS needs more star power. Americans are accustomed to seeing the best players in the world when they tune into US-based pro sports. That’s too far from the case with MLS. As the article states, local support is strong for many teams, but there really aren’t any league wide household names, and that won’t draw viewers. I don’t think the media pointing that out matters, it’s just the obvious truth.

 

I’d like to see them either try to raise the cap, or expand the number of Designated Players a team can have. But maybe find a way for them to utilize that to keep homegrown stars home instead of sinking into signing guys like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney when they’re at the tail end of their careers.

 

That will of course create an imbalance. I’m guessing it’s like any sports league where teams in big markets make the most revenues, and so teams like the Red Bulls and Galaxy will have the ability to acquire the most star power. So what? It’s like that now in MLB and NBA, and those leagues are doing fine. More importantly, if fans of teams like Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew are tuning in to watch NY vs LA, and those games are consistently drawing viewers in the millions, that will have a trickle down effect when the new TV contracts make the money the league is hoping for and currently not getting.



#1405 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 11:44 AM

My thoughts, Steve:

 

I think MLS needs more star power. Americans are accustomed to seeing the best players in the world when they tune into US-based pro sports. That’s too far from the case with MLS. As the article states, local support is strong for many teams, but there really aren’t any league wide household names, and that won’t draw viewers. I don’t think the media pointing that out matters, it’s just the obvious truth.

 

I’d like to see them either try to raise the cap, or expand the number of Designated Players a team can have. But maybe find a way for them to utilize that to keep homegrown stars home instead of sinking into signing guys like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney when they’re at the tail end of their careers.

 

That will of course create an imbalance. I’m guessing it’s like any sports league where teams in big markets make the most revenues, and so teams like the Red Bulls and Galaxy will have the ability to acquire the most star power. So what? It’s like that now in MLB and NBA, and those leagues are doing fine. More importantly, if fans of teams like Sporting Kansas City and Columbus Crew are tuning in to watch NY vs LA, and those games are consistently drawing viewers in the millions, that will have a trickle down effect when the new TV contracts make the money the league is hoping for and currently not getting.

You make some interesting points. And you aren't wrong. The problem is just how does MLS keep the top US players and attract current international stars?

 

Well the short answer is they don't. They don't have the funding to support across the board big jumps in payroll. And I would HATE them for not keeping a competitive balance approach. Its the #1 reason I am soured on baseball. Doesn't mean a team can't be successful now and again but over the long haul money wins. So do they disband the approach that has helped them grow a ton over the last 20 years?

 

You correctly point out that US sports fans are used to watching the best players in the world in our sports. But what fans are missing in that equation is that they are not watching THE sport that almost every country on the planet watches. I will probably rail on this till the day I die but US fans are spoiled (in a good way). No other country has anything even close to the spectrum of high level professional sports that we have. Well perhaps Canada could be included as well.



#1406 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 01:36 PM

You make some interesting points. And you aren't wrong. The problem is just how does MLS keep the top US players and attract current international stars?

 

Well the short answer is they don't. They don't have the funding to support across the board big jumps in payroll. And I would HATE them for not keeping a competitive balance approach. Its the #1 reason I am soured on baseball. Doesn't mean a team can't be successful now and again but over the long haul money wins. So do they disband the approach that has helped them grow a ton over the last 20 years?

 

You correctly point out that US sports fans are used to watching the best players in the world in our sports. But what fans are missing in that equation is that they are not watching THE sport that almost every country on the planet watches. I will probably rail on this till the day I die but US fans are spoiled (in a good way). No other country has anything even close to the spectrum of high level professional sports that we have. Well perhaps Canada could be included as well.

 

The approach served them well when they were growing from nothing, no doubt there. But that approach has its limits, and I think they've hit the wall. They've relied so heavily on expansion fees to keep growing, and that's just not sustainable. Maybe as they develop even more talent the transfer fees can make up for it, but again, all they end up having to sell is being a minor league that is great at player development (ask the Orioles how many tickets that sells and TV viewers it draws).

 

You would know better than me, so I'll ask: if they loosened up the salary limits could NY, LA and other huge market teams spend the sort of money it would take to keep the talent they grow playing at in the league? I know people like a more balanced playing field, but on the other side a rising tide raises all boats. The area where they have the most potential for growth at this point seems to be TV, and you need the star power to do that. Today it might be the big market teams only that can afford those players, but down the road when the higher TV money is distributed across the league, other teams can spend more too.

 

While money talks, even if the dollars are equal I know MLS will still have to do a lot of selling to keep players home. So maybe if they take the approach that they can build a legacy for themselves and the league in the US that they'll never be able to do playing overseas....fans over there are likely to forget all about you once you're gone. Some players still might go there for the allure of playing in the top leagues, but for some, maybe they stay. I just think MLS is at a point where they need to think outside the box they've been in for their nearly 3 decade existence of they want to really thrive.



#1407 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 05:49 PM

Mike, my concern is simply this. There isn't enough sports dollars available for every market in every sport to remain competitive if you fundamentally change the payroll landscape. And unfortunately at least right now, soccer, is at the bottom of the ladder in American sports as far as money goes.

 

Probably the big market clubs like the two in NY and the two in LA could sustain a big jump in payroll. And perhaps the well attended clubs like Seattle and Atlanta). But the majority of the league would just not be able to keep pace. 

 

As to the building a legacy approach I just don't see how that works. How many pro athletes in any sport stay with their team their whole career? Its all about the money and when it comes to soccer how can a guy take way less money to stay here vs going to Europe. Zach Steffen is a great example. He could be in the MLS and be a star and likely an All Star. Instead he is sitting on the bench at Man City. And making $3.5M/year. More money than all but 5 MLS players this season and he sits on the bench Guys just can't turn that kind of money around.



#1408 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 07:07 PM

I understand what you mean that not every team, and likely most of them, will be able to spend enough to sign the big stars. I’m just suggesting to let the few teams that can afford it to do so. That way you at least have some marketable talent to sell to TV viewers nationwide.

 

The legacy part hypothetically assumes the money offered to a player is equal between MLS and Europe, and that establishing a legacy is what might tip the scale in MLS’s favor vs the more well-travelled route American players take overseas.

 

End of the day, I know MLS won’t go that route. They’ll stick to being a minor league whose most reliable source of revenue is being a European feeder system. They just need to understand the consequences of that, starting with getting about half of what they hope for in a national TV deal.


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#1409 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 15 April 2022 - 04:00 PM

Sounders are in the CONCACAF Champions League Final against Pumas. April 27th and May 4th.


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#1410 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 21 April 2022 - 10:39 AM

Keep an eye on MLS transfers this summer. Looks like some big things could be coming!

 

1. Gareth Bale in talks to join DC United.

2. Atlanta trying to bring in US forward Matthew Hoppe (which would be a great move for the team and player. Hoppe needs to get out of Mallorca).

3. LAFC is looking at former German star Mesut Ozil.



#1411 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 27 April 2022 - 08:35 AM

ESPN :Why Seattle winning CCL would help MLS on road to relevance



#1412 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 27 April 2022 - 09:49 AM

Go Sounders!!!!!!!!!



#1413 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 03:11 PM

PSA

 

Don't forget leg two of the CONFACAF Champions league final is tomorrow night. Sounders at home to get it done!!!!



#1414 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 05 May 2022 - 09:20 AM

Over 68K fans got to see history last night as the first MLS team won a CONCACAF Champions League Final!  Sounders just were terrific all night and now get to play in the FIFA Club World Cup!

 

Great day to be an American soccer fan.


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#1415 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 13 May 2022 - 07:40 AM

ESPN: MLS Power Rankings: Nashville reaps home comforts



#1416 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 13 May 2022 - 07:42 AM

Over 68K fans got to see history last night as the first MLS team won a CONCACAF Champions League Final!  Sounders just were terrific all night and now get to play in the FIFA Club World Cup!

 

Great day to be an American soccer fan.


I think DC United won in '98 and the LA Galaxy won in '00?

 

https://en.wikipedia...hampions_League



#1417 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 13 May 2022 - 08:06 AM


I think DC United won in '98 and the LA Galaxy won in '00?

 

https://en.wikipedia...hampions_League

That is correct Chris. But the format back then was quite different. Should have stated that in my original post.


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#1418 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 17 May 2022 - 04:14 PM

ESPN: MLS Power Rankings: Dallas looks like a challenger to LA's duopoly



#1419 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 03:16 PM

Major League Soccer and Apple strike 10-year, $2.5 billion broadcast deal

 

Maybe in the long run this will end up being a great move, but I don't see it right now. The $250m AAV isn't bad, though when you factor in that local TV deals are eliminated it does diminish that some. But having zero presence on a major linear sports network like ESPN and FS1 who will actively promote your games, plus most of the games only being available via special paid subscription, would seem more likely to stunt growth in viewership. That's the complete opposite of what the league needs right now.

 

EDIT: I just read on The Athletic that they apparently have left open the option of having ESPN and/or FOX carry games, if they can come to an agreement. If that happens, that changes my perception of this deal a good bit.


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#1420 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 04:58 PM

Do think your point about growing the audience is a valid question... but in addition to your edit, Apple will have NFL soon.  Which means everyone will have Apple. 

ESPN and FOX don't really promote MLS (sure 'promos', but they won't have any of their talking heads talking MLS), so take the money. 

And if that allows them to keep a few more players, or get a few more recognized names, or just deeper rosters in-general... those are wins. 

I think overall MLS is really remarkable for what they have achieved. 






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