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Promotion/Relegation in America

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I've always said that it would be great to have the pyramid here in the States, but never have I really had to think about as when Atlanta United came into existence, they were a contender from day 1. 

But here we are, post COVID break, Josef having torn his ACL since the second matchday, Pity having moved to KSA, and Barco now suffering from injury. Add to this a coaching change and it's not real surprise that Atlanta United might be the worst team in the MLS. 

So what's Atlanta United's punishment for finishing last? The first draft pick in the MLS Draft and that's it...so essentially if you care about the future of Atlanta United, you find yourself hoping that Atlanta United continues to lose to improve their draft position. This is a common tread in American sports as we have teams tank in the NFL and NBA yearly for a pretty draft position. 

So what is the point in watching Atlanta United this year? The team doesn't appear to care all that much, we have a interim coach in Glass that won't be there next year, and we likely aren't making any big moves until the full-time coach is determine and brought it. This is absolutely awful and I find myself not caring much...you know why? Because Atlanta United can't be relegated to the USL. If relegation was present in the States, you better believe that the team, staff, and front office would care more about these results, and do whatever they could to make sure that they remain in the MLS, but alas, here we are, having scored 2 or 3 goals in the past 2 months, and our punishment is the chance to draft a better prospect for the upcoming draft. 

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I've never really thought about it either but it would make a hell of a lot of sense. It must be a really strange feeling actually wanting to be relegated though! 

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The idea of a league with no promotion/relegation just doesn't make sense to me. What's the real incentive then, especially if you're a mid-table club? It rewards failure, it's anti-competitive, and surely can only bring stagnation long-term? Just a bunch of franchice owners protecting their investments.

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I can't remember where it was I commented but I think it should be more regionalised. Never understood the need to have 2 separate 'conferences' for East and West, yet they cross over to play each other randomly during the season anyway, rendering the use of East/West fairly useless?

If it was possible to have East/West/North/South but they only play each other in their respective divisions, then it would make more sense, especially when it comes to travelling and fixture schedules. But then I understand for marketing purposes/sponsorships it doesn't benefit. 

As for no relegation in general, I don't understand it either. It means there's less of an incentive to compete especially when things are going shit for a club (like Atlanta in this case) and there's no chance of a high finish to progress to further rounds later on. 

Agree with @nudge that it's purely for financial gain and the owner's probably have their own investment in to the club at the heart of any decision over anything else for the benefit of the competition with no relegation from a league like MLS. 

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7 minutes ago, Pyfish said:

I've never really thought about it either but it would make a hell of a lot of sense. It must be a really strange feeling actually wanting to be relegated though! 

But we don't have relegation, so there is NO relegation. You can finish in last 10 years in a row and still be an MLS club. 

1 minute ago, nudge said:

The idea of a league with no promotion/relegation just doesn't make sense to me. What's the real incentive then, especially if you're a mid-table club? It rewards failure, it's anti-competitive, and surely can only bring stagnation long-term? Just a bunch of franchice owners protecting their investments.

No incentive really, which I think is why they make the playoffs so large, so that their is some kind of incentive, but it's all a farce. 

The number reported once for starting an MLS club was around $200m startup fee, and is increasing to $350m startup fee for the 30th team. Surely if you have a bunch of rich owners having to pay $350m to start in the MLS, they don't want their investment at risk of moving to the USL in year 1. To start a USL team probably takes a stadium and a very small fee, so their is this massive gap which has always led me to believe that their will never be a pyramid structure here in the States. 

I never really followed the MLS before Atlanta United, and like I said, since we started we have been fantastic so I never really felt this way about my team until this year. Very strange as their is absolutely nothing to play for...

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3 minutes ago, Stan said:

I can't remember where it was I commented but I think it should be more regionalised. Never understood the need to have 2 separate 'conferences' for East and West, yet they cross over to play each other randomly during the season anyway, rendering the use of East/West fairly useless?

If it was possible to have East/West/North/South but they only play each other in their respective divisions, then it would make more sense, especially when it comes to travelling and fixture schedules. But then I understand for marketing purposes/sponsorships it doesn't benefit. 

As for no relegation in general, I don't understand it either. It means there's less of an incentive to compete especially when things are going shit for a club (like Atlanta in this case) and there's no chance of a high finish to progress to further rounds later on. 

Agree with @nudge that it's purely for financial gain and the owner's probably have their own investment in to the club at the heart of any decision over anything else for the benefit of the competition with no relegation from a league like MLS. 

The MLS was built on the same foundations as other American sports, and this is how we do it. 

In baseball we have two conferences ( American and National League), where the teams rarely play one another, but even within each conference, their are divisions which are regional (American League East vs National League East), so you have cities with multiple teams in the city, but a team in the American League and the other in the National League. 

It works in Baseball, and in Football, but soccer isn't meant to be played this way. 

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