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Should The MLS follow other American Sport’s Lead?

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Should the MLS be looking into taking games across the globe after other American sports (NFL, NBA, Baseball etc) have already done so? 

Is it a possible way to close the gap on bigger leagues?

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Maybe but I'm not sure it'll be as appealing. Right now America has the world's top baseball league and basketball league, and obviously the best professional American football league (but what other countries play American football, Canada that I know of... but pretty much just them).

The standard of MLS football isn't even the best in North America if you include Mexico in North America (I've seen it included in North and Central... but they're members of NAFTA, and the NA in that stands for North America, so lets just call them North America for now... and even if you didn't count them, they're still in the same conference). And quality wise, the sides are generally somewhere between League One and Championship level imo.

When you've already got better footballing sides in your country, there's a lot less of a pull to spend money on the spectacle of two American sports sides that're generally not going to be as entertaining as what would normally be playing every weekend generally speaking.

So let's say I had the choice between watching Liverpool v. literally anyone in the league, or 2 MLS sides at the same time... I'd go with watching my own club. If I had the choice between say like Leeds v Derby (first names that came to my mind because of that Bielsa-Lampard spy drama that just went down), or 2 MLS sides I'd probably prefer to go with 2 good Championship sides than 2 good MLS sides. And let's say you're a fan of some League One/Two side and you've got the choice to go to the stadium and watch your side or watch 2 MLS sides... I imagine most people would pick their own club over the foreign club coming in.

I just don't know if there's a viable market for MLS football abroad in nations that are already footballing nations. At least in Europe - might be more appealing in Japan or somewhere like that, if the MLS sides had some big names from Europe winding down time on their careers. But with NFL, NBA, MLB (does that go abroad btw? baseball is so fucking painful to watch I can't imagine people from countries that baseball isn't already big in would stomach it) I think there's a market for it because it's the cream of the crop in that sport. With MLS it's just another league, and one that I think most European fans of football would be largely unimpressed with the quality of.

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8 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Maybe but I'm not sure it'll be as appealing. Right now America has the world's top baseball league and basketball league, and obviously the best professional American football league (but what other countries play American football, Canada that I know of... but pretty much just them).

Maybe because they are the only people in the world who play those sports...

(well besides Basketball)

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No. It might work in their other terrible sports but in football a European format must be adopted. Unfortunately MLS football will never be on par with Europe. They have the financial capabilities but not the appeal. Europeans will only go there for money at an old age when none of their clubs are "big" teams compared to the likes of United, Liverpool, the 2 Spanish giants and even Boca, River and Flamengo.

However the big issue for me is a lack of a Champions League. At best they'll over take the Liga MX one day but if Mexican football doesn't catch up, there isn't an appeal. No one else in North America will be able to match European level and it makes for a very unattractive competition.

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9 minutes ago, Blue said:

Maybe because they are the only people in the world who play those sports...

(well besides Basketball)

Baseball is big in Japan and Cuba

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Just now, Dr. Gonzo said:

Baseball is big in Japan and Cuba

It's also big in Venezuela, Panama and the Dominican. My point is (and this could be used in Basketball too) that the Americans are the pioneers of those sports and leagues and it's obvious they have the biggest. With football if you don't adopt a European format it's never going to happen. Those drafts and having 30 team leagues just doesn't work as the way football was nurtured in it's early days.

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2 minutes ago, Blue said:

No. It might work in their other terrible sports but in football a European format must be adopted. Unfortunately MLS football will never be on par with Europe. They have the financial capabilities but not the appeal. Europeans will only go there for money at an old age when none of their clubs are "big" teams compared to the likes of United, Liverpool, the 2 Spanish giants and even Boca, River and Flamengo.

However the big issue for me is a lack of a Champions League. At best they'll over take the Liga MX one day but if Mexican football doesn't catch up, there isn't an appeal. No one else in North America will be able to match European level and it makes for a very unattractive competition.

The MLS doesn't have the same financial capabilities of the other American "big" sports - I don't really think you can throw the MLS in as a big sport though so calling it another big sport is kind of disingenuous. It doesn't generate the same sort of ad revenue as the other sports - football isn't easily broken up into TV advert time when you've got 2 halves of 45 minutes plus. And the bigger football matches on TV that do generate a lot of money are the ones that already have a lot of time and money invested into to.

I think that's the biggest challenge the MLS faces - because while football has gotten more popular in the US in just the short time I've been living here, the biggest issue is getting the general sport watching public to give more of a shit about the sport. And because the ad revenue just isn't as good, networks just aren't as incentivised to keep growing the sport at the expense of shit like basketball.

And yeah I agree with you, to get the rest of the world to care about the MLS, they've got to ditch their stupid format and get on board with something more normal. But that comes at the expense of getting the greater American public more interested in the league. And ultimately, Americans caring more about the sport is more important.  The league is also disadvantaged by it's American style of recruitment, rather than things like European style academies where young kids go through with a higher level of training and coaching. It's also fairly expensive for young kids to get into football, I've heard from friends with kids.

I think they've still got a long ways to go if they want to overtake Liga MX too tbh. 

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31 minutes ago, Blue said:

Maybe because they are the only people in the world who play those sports...

(well besides Basketball)

Baseball is huge in Japan, Central America and, Latin Caribbean. Basketball is played is Eastern Europe, China, and the Philippines. American Football is popular in Canada and Mexico. Hockey is also popular in Scandinavia, Russia, Czech and Slovakia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and so on.

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2 minutes ago, Spike said:

Baseball is huge in Japan, Central America and, Latin Caribbean. Basketball is played is Eastern Europe, China, and the Philippines. American Football is popular in Canada and Mexico. Hockey is also popular in Scandinavia, Russia, Czech and Slovakia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and so on.

Already adressed this mate, keep scrolling :) 

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22 minutes ago, Blue said:

It's also big in Venezuela, Panama and the Dominican. My point is (and this could be used in Basketball too) that the Americans are the pioneers of those sports and leagues and it's obvious they have the biggest. With football if you don't adopt a European format it's never going to happen. Those drafts and having 30 team leagues just doesn't work as the way football was nurtured in it's early days.

It's naive to think that American soccer can survive in a system outside of divisional playoffs. It's a huge country and sports fight for survival against eachother. In a relegation and league system, teams would die the moment they are relegated, as there isn't much interest to begin with, and people would stop going to go games when their second-rate team is playing second-rate competition. Why would a Chicago sports fan go to a second division Chicago Fire game when they go see the Cubs or White Sox on the same night? 

Who cares if the rest of the world watches MLS if Americans don't? I think some users on here severely underestimate the general interest in soccer in this country. People, just don't care, and they probably never will. 

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2 minutes ago, Blue said:

Already adressed this mate, keep scrolling :) 

No you didn't, you just said that baseball was popular in a few other countries. You didn't adress the others.

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Just now, Spike said:

No you didn't, you just said that baseball was popular in a few other countries. You didn't adress the others.

I said that American's pioneered the sport, similar to how Europeans pioneered their leagues. I also mentioned that Baseball is popular in those countries.

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1 minute ago, Blue said:

I said that American's pioneered the sport, similar to how Europeans pioneered their leagues. I also mentioned that Baseball is popular in those countries.

...I just said you said that! What you didn't adress was the other sports! Talking to a wall here

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Just now, Spike said:

...I just said you said that! What you didn't adress was the other sports! Talking to a wall here

I just read it to be honest, and I agree with it.

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5 minutes ago, Blue said:

I just read it to be honest, and I agree with it.

I have an anecdote for you. So, Christian Pulisic just joined Chelsea for an American record, right? I haven't met a single person, that knows this. They don't even know who Pulisic is, or why they should care that two teams they've never heard of are buying/selling. He is probably the most famous American soccer player right now, and he the social presence of a nobody; despite being hyped and breaking transfer records. No papers reported it, no news really spoke of it. That is how little this sport is cared for. People don't even really know what Manchester United is, only that Beckham maybe played for them, they don't even know what position Beckham played, but they think he might be the best of all time. 

I once had an older American tell me about Pele, as if he the world's best kept secret.

The sport is culturally irrelevant, and that is okay.

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3 minutes ago, Spike said:

I have an anecdote for you. So, Christian Pulisic just joined Chelsea for an American record, right? I haven't met a single person, that knows this. They don't even know who Pulisic is, or why they should care that two teams they've never heard of are buying/selling. He is probably the most famous American soccer player right now, and he the social presence of a nobody; despite being hyped and breaking transfer records. No papers reported it, no news really spoke of it. That is how little this sport is cared for. People don't even really know what Manchester United is, only that Beckham maybe played for them, they don't even know what position Beckham played, but they think he might be the best of all time. 

I once had an older American tell me about Pele, as if he the world's best kept secret.

The sport is culturally irrelevant, and that is okay.

That is what I tried to tell Lucas and Stan a while back and told me that my opinion was laughable...

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42 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

And yeah I agree with you, to get the rest of the world to care about the MLS, they've got to ditch their stupid format and get on board with something more normal. But that comes at the expense of getting the greater American public more interested in the league. And ultimately, Americans caring more about the sport is more important.  The league is also disadvantaged by it's American style of recruitment, rather than things like European style academies where young kids go through with a higher level of training and coaching. It's also fairly expensive for young kids to get into football, I've heard from friends with kids.

Mentioned this in another thread recently, but I don't agree with this at all. The MLS doesn't have the talent, the passion, or anything else to match other major (or indeed minor) world leagues. The only thing it has to set it apart is its format, and if they want the league to grow around the world, they'd be stupid to ditch that. I think they've got little chance regardless, but there it is.

I can't see Americans getting on board with the slow burn of a league format either when their standard format has more excitement for more teams. Especially not in a sport they already consider short on action.

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20 minutes ago, Burning Gold said:

Mentioned this in another thread recently, but I don't agree with this at all. The MLS doesn't have the talent, the passion, or anything else to match other major (or indeed minor) world leagues. The only thing it has to set it apart is its format, and if they want the league to grow around the world, they'd be stupid to ditch that. I think they've got little chance regardless, but there it is.

I can't see Americans getting on board with the slow burn of a league format either when their standard format has more excitement for more teams. Especially not in a sport they already consider short on action.

Yeah that's a good counterpoint and pretty well thought out. My view just comes from growing up watching football my whole life and seeing their format and thinking "...Americans." But your point makes sense as well.

I think you've convinced me tbh, the stupid format should stay.

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When I first encountered the league systems of Europe, I thought it was stupid, overly complex and ham fisted. Mainly because it is stupid, equally as stupid as any other sporting system, but people prefer what they know.

A league, domestic cup competitions, international competitions, qualifying, so on and so forth. It's needless. 'Cup Winner's Cup' xD The American system is also complex, divisions, conferences, leagues, etc. Australian Rugby league was clear. Top of the ladder wins the premiership, and the top eight into a knockout cup for the grand final.

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Firstly, I don’t think the format has any bearing on the popularity of the MLS. I think it’s popularity, or lack of it, is down to football still being a relatively new game there and there’s less history and tradition there. 

I think they should consider a game abroad, in all honesty. I probably wouldn’t bother with taking a game to Europe, I don’t think. I’d probably look at Asia, in all honesty. I have no idea if the MLS is shown in Asia but I think a game with a couple of big names in it, maybe DC United with Wayne Rooney and LA Galaxy with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, could pull a decent crowd. 

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On 17/01/2019 at 16:00, Blue said:

Maybe because they are the only people in the world who play those sports...

(well besides Basketball)

Clueless mate. Japan is massive into Baseball, as are most of the Latin American countries. 

Basketball is all over Europe. 

We are the best at those sports because we offer better facilities and a lot more money. A LOT MORE money. 

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1 minute ago, Eco said:

Clueless mate. Japan is massive into Baseball, as are most of the Latin American countries. 

 Basketball is all over Europe. 

We are the best at those sports because we offer better facilities and a lot more money. A LOT MORE money. 

I hate it when people like to call me clueless before they read the thread.

I've adressed this like 3 times :dam:

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On 17/01/2019 at 16:52, Blue said:

That is what I tried to tell Lucas and Stan a while back and told me that my opinion was laughable...

I have never said that. Never. I am totally aware that the majority of US don't know a damn thing about US Soccer, or world football for that matter. The only thing I've said is that there is a small part of the population that is massive into it, therefore it's unfair to say, 'everyone' is clueless about soccer in America. 

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2 minutes ago, Blue said:

I hate it when people like to call me clueless before they read the thread.

I've adressed this like 3 times :dam:

I reply as I read them - but go ahead, play victim...again. xD

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2 minutes ago, Eco said:

I have never said that. Never. I am totally aware that the majority of US don't know a damn thing about US Soccer, or world football for that matter. The only thing I've said is that there is a small part of the population that is massive into it, therefore it's unfair to say, 'everyone' is clueless about soccer in America. 

By Lucas I meant the Leeds United fan - not you, if Lucas is your name xD

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Just now, Blue said:

By Lucas I meant the Leeds United fan - not you, if Lucas is your name xD

Oh - yeah my name is Lucas xD

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3 hours ago, Eco said:

Clueless mate. Japan is massive into Baseball, as are most of the Latin American countries. 

Basketball is all over Europe. 

We are the best at those sports because we offer better facilities and a lot more money. A LOT MORE money. 

Its growing here also, infact we are the fifth best Asian team for years now only behing the well established nations like Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan etc 

Which is understandable if we can like Test Cricket than Baseball isn't bad either :ph34r:

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