USMNT Abroad

Crusaders

Moderator

Chop Stix

Well-known member
Thanks for starting this. I somehow missed Hoppe's move. Excited for him to get another shot at top flight football.

Another recent move of significance is:

CB Erik Palmer loaned from Manchester City in the EPL to Troyes in Ligue 1
 

Marcus Aurelius

New member
Slonina to Chelsea the hot rumor now. I might prefer that over Wolves tbh. Chelsea has strong history of developing elite keepers
 

Marcus Aurelius

New member
MLS' growth is unquestionable. It is on solid ground where 20 years ago it was bordering on folding. The guys in charge have done a fantastic job turning that situation around, starting with controlling their own stadiums.

The league recently signed a multi-billion dollar broadcasting rights contract with Apple. That is possibly the biggest sports business story of the year that no one is talking about. The league has now dramatically increased its TV monies - and could signal a coming shift by professional sports into the digital streaming arena.

The focus going forward for the league will be improving its reputation on the field outside of North America. It is still seen as a small time league with, on average, subpar players. The new broadcasting deal will go a long way in addressing that.

Within its region, MLS is incrementally becoming the main league, shifting power away from Mexico's Liga MX, something the Mexicans are not unaware of. In fact, there are rumors that the two leagues will eventually form some kind of merger, united leagues sort of situation - something sort of under way with the Leagues Cup expanding in 2023 to include every team from both leagues. Could be a decade or more out before something official but I do believe it is coming. Gone are the days of LMX turning their noses up at MLS.

My hot take is MLS will overtake the NHL within 20 years. MLB is struggling to capture younger demographics. Football is under assault for head injuries. The NBA is stagnating domestically and is taking a reputational beating over the increasing influence of the Chinese within the league. How these leagues order in popularity in 30-40 years is anyone's guess, but I would put money on MLS being in the Top 3.
 
Last edited:

nwwarrior09

Well-known member
I think it's conveniently taken out of context a bit to make a better clickbait headline. He didn't specifically say the United States, but "this part of the world" while talking about an event that also includes Mexico and Canada as hosts.

Soccer has come a long way in the US, but at this point it is nowhere close to where I recall it being pumped up as heading towards as a kid. It's probably at least another 20-30 years away from potentially passing the NHL and I'd probably argue MLB (poor younger demographic audience share), but even then I'd say it will be popularity as a whole and not specifically the domestic MLS league, which in the scheme of global soccer is probably still like an equivalent to high class A minor league baseball. The lesser quality of the domestic league comparative to the best European leagues, even if the product continues to improve, is always going to be a severe impediment for the growth and success of soccer in this country.
 

Chop Stix

Well-known member
Living in NYC for the past decade, I've seen first hand what a soccer-crazy city looks like. I have no doubt that as a "sport" soccer will surpass baseball and hockey nationwide within a very short amount of time.

MLS is a whole different story however. I struggle to see exponential growth with its popularity unless major changes occur within its roster/competition structure. I've learned over the years that an overwhelming majority of soccer fans who live outside of MLS markets cannot be bothered with the league.

Even in NYC, I've observed that most soccer fans would rather watch European or Latin American soccer matches at the bar than see their local MLS team in person. The two NY based teams are only averaging 15-18k/match - nowhere near full capacity for either.

I get that the new and improved MLS is built on sustainability but global soccer clubs are only going to market harder in the US and aim to steal the time and money of these fans from the MLS.

I like the combined MLS-LigaMX idea. It could lend itself to some type of promotion-relegation model that would be revolutionary for American sports.
 

Auggie

Well-known member
As some may know I am in the sports licensing business and while the MLS has not over taken the NHL yet we have seen in the past 3-4 years a nice increase in this business. It is coming from primarily two demographics: 1) Mexican/Central Americans that are starting to identify with their new cities by showing allegiance to their MLS team. What is interesting is they still identify primarily with the home country when it comes to international soccer but they are leaving their home country clubs for a MLS club. 2) Millennial hipsters and young families. This is the money demo too and in 5-10-15 years MLB and the NHL will miss these folks. They are primarily into the culture of the sport, (chants, drums, meeting at a bar before, etc...) and not as much Ws and Ls. They also like the fact that they know when games will end and there is no open ended time limit like baseball, some drawn out OT, or most importantly long TV time outs.

With that being said the TV numbers still really stink and while improving have a long way to go. Also outside of LA the other big metro markets have really not gotten into the MLS. IN particular NYC and Chicago are disappointing with the Pacific NW and mid sized markets with either no or lousy MLB teams being the best supporters with regards to merch.
 

Marcus Aurelius

New member
Homegrown development is truly the key for the league taking the next step toward gaining international recognition and respect. It's a double-plus of improved product quality on the field + greater money made from international transfers. A young keeper like Slonina creating a bit of a bidding war had next to no chance of happening 10 years ago.

Pro/rel is a tough sell. The league would have to be popular enough that the second division makes sufficient money.
 

Marcus Aurelius

New member
With that being said the TV numbers still really stink and while improving have a long way to go. Also outside of LA the other big metro markets have really not gotten into the MLS. IN particular NYC and Chicago are disappointing with the Pacific NW and mid sized markets with either no or lousy MLB teams being the best supporters with regards to merch.

I expect MLS will be a gate driven league for a long time.

NYC has been a tough sell for two reasons. First, NYRB play in Harrison, NJ in an area that's not that easy to get to. I saw the Crew play at Red Bull Arena a number of years ago and it was easily an hour by train out there from Manhattan. And NYCFC plays in a baseball stadium. Second, it's a city full of "Eurosnobs" - soccer fans who scoff at MLS. It's a problem that hasn't worked itself out the way it has with Mexican fans in California.

Chicago has been an even bigger clusterbuck. They are the first and only club to abandon their stadium to return to their former NFL digs. If I were a billionaire looking to get into MLS, a second club in Chicago might be my move with the Fire apparently being run by a bunch of guys going hard into the melort.

Still, the biggest market failure has to be FC Dallas. They were part of a short-lived wave of teams to do an exurb stadium build, and virtually all of those have proven to be a failure. MLS has since, officially unofficially, pushed for stadiums to be close to the urban center near public transit (they definitely "know their audience"). But there is really no excuse for a team in the Metroplex not selling out 30,000 seats a night, easy. Other than they built the stadium in Frisco.

A new stadium can do wonders if done correctly. Columbus is proof of that. They struggled to get 15,000 into Crew Stadium on a beautiful summer evening. Now they're bringing in 19,000 per. One should expect the other second generation soccer stadiums to be another huge boon for the league.
 
Last edited:
.
Top