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You included MMA but not boxing? That's blasphemous around here.
Right. I's be interested to know what percentage of the people who watch are foreign born or first gen Americans.
We call this the "5thandlehigh argument."
Why is "popular" in quotes?
Because technically, this thread is about sports' "polularity"
Yes, especially given the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population (soccer and baseball, the latter otherwise lackluster). I haven't read every post in this thread, but overall don't think enough attention is being paid to demographics which will definitely influence future sports trends.
King Penguins, South Georgia Island
The best hispanic/latino baseball players (in addition to the best players from other ethnicities) all play in America. Will hispanics flock to MLSr if the best players in the world (hispanic or otherwise) still play in other countries down the road like they do today?
Best case scenario for MLS which puts them in a better position as a league, is to concentrate on this hemisphere. Dont worry about catching the big 4 in Europe, make it a destination for young up and coming players from South America and the older returning South Americans from Europe. MLS is never going to be the ultimate destination it is just fighting against too much history but I think down the road it can competitive with Mexico/Brazil/Argentina for the best league in this hemisphere which would attrack more talented players and with that more fans. The salary cap is going to have to improve, teams will have to be more competitive in international competitions, MLS needs to participate in the copa libertadores but its not crazy to say 10-20 years that could happen. If the money and competition gets better this country has a lot to offer and will be attractive. To answer your question more directly though, NO hispanics have not flocked to MLS just because its soccer and they like soccer but give them better teams and better players and they will be definitely more interested and so will a lot of other non hispanic soccer fans.
I don't think anyone has argued that MLS will take over the US in the next 25 years.
No. I am probably the most ardent (or perhaps irrational) MLS advocate on this board and even I have not said that. I've said that I think "soccer" is as popular, or more, than hockey in this country already. And I believe that. I don't think people understand how high the ratings are for Spanish language soccer TV. 16% of the country is latino. I'm guessing 3/4 or more are soccer fans and nearly zero are hockey fans.
As for MLS I do think it can become as popular as the NHL is now. That's not to say it will overtake the NHL because I think the NHL has room to grow also. But if MLS does only that, it will have 30 teams each with a 50-60 million dollar payroll. Imagine what kind of talent pool will be here if/when that happens. It will be the best league in the world. Europe's elite 10-12 teams will still be the best in the world, but 30 of the next 50 best teams in the world would all be here, consolidated in one domestic league. It would be pretty great. And I do think that can happen over time.
One thing which it doesn't seem you consider is what the UEFA members will do to prevent that. They have a century of league play and tradition on their side and will do whatever they need to protect that. Think NFL versus the USFL or the XFL (especially in the way the NFL broadcast partners quickly dismissed them as a sideshow).
This post was edited by Noah Cross 22 months ago
UEFA's dominant position is based on the fact that there is more money in the major European leagues than anywhere else, and the financial success of the UEFA Champions League. It's not like all the best players in The top European clubs are all homegrown - they've come from all over for the money.
Not sure what UEFA can actually do to hold down a US league if the US league can compete financially. Hell, FIFA would probably be happy to help anyone that can take UEFA down a notch.
That said, the argument, "imagine if we become super successful, then we would be one of the best leagues in the world" is a circular one.
In a couple decades, the top clubs probably won't be in La Liga, Serie A, or the Bundesliga. They'll form their own super-league once EPL clubs eventually want to join them.
UEFA will need to adjust or those clubs will operate outside of UEFA.
Also, those clubs will be happy to see a strong US league because they'll find a way to make money off of it.
Not sure the clubs are going to actually break away. There's been plenty of talk, there have been specific proposals, but UEFA has thrown the clubs enough bones that they'll stay with the UEFA Champions League.
UEFA's members are national associations, not clubs, and the root of breakaway talks was that the clubs weren't represented. Slovenia has the same one vote that England has, and Manchester United had no vote. The first time there were serious breakaway discussions, UEFA increased the size of the UEFA Champions League, gave 4 spots to the top 3 countries (vs. 2 previously), and guaranteed the clubs a lot more money. They also threatened to not allow any players playing in unsanctioned leagues to represent their national teams.
More recently, when the groundswell started again, UEFA created the European Club Association to represent the clubs' interests. Basically, they've given the Clubs a voice within UEFA, and the clubs are happy. They disbanded the G14, which was the advocacy group made up of representatives of 18 of the top clubs.
Add to that that no club wants to pull out of its domestic League, the strong European belief in the concept of promotion / relegation, and the EU legal hurdles involved in setting up a closed league, much less one with something like a salary cap, and it's extremely unlikely to happen.
The European Club Association is just a stop-gap. The fight between clubs and the national associations is not finished.
EPL clubs are relatively happy with their domestic league. I don't don't think the big Italian clubs are. Bayern Munich, I'm not so sure about but their a leading voice in the battle. Real Madrid and Barca would ditch La Liga in a heartbeat.
OK, if you believe that, how will that league work? Who goes in? Is it a closed league limited to X clubs that never change, or is there some sort of relegation / promotion?
I don't know and I don't need to... the plan would come from the Presidents/Owners of the top clubs and this is years in the future.
But the OP is talking about 25 years and the future and I responded to a post relating to UEFA trying to prevent powerful MLS clubs... these are things happening a couple of decades in the future.
The trend is for increasingly small number of powerful clubs and for increased importance on club versus international competition. That will continue because the big clubs generate the money.
A lot changes in 25 years; 25 years ago there wasn't even an EPL and the Champions League/European Cup was quite different.
Even if the top clubs still play in domestic leagues and in UEFA club competitions, the landscape will be much different... fewer league fixtures/smaller leagues, maybe weaker leagues joining together, more international club fixtures and no national team international friendlies or qualifiers during league seasons.
But, either way, I don't think UEFA would care if there was a strong US league with strong clubs. But UEFA doesn't matter anyway... the big clubs do and they would welcome it and find a way to profit.
I agree with this. The prospect of moving to the US (with family and kids) to play in a decent league would be extremely attractive to Latin Americans
"Anyone who talks about Jordan Williams leaving knows nothing about basketball. Absolutely nothing" - Hogie 02/27/2011
And my point is that how it could work is the heart of the issue. UEFA has a strong advantage over any potential breakaway league in two ways:
1) It already exists and delivers massive amounts of revenue
2) It has massive structural advantages
Any breakaway league would have to offer enough incremental revenue and/or other advantages to get over those two hurdles. The main reasons would be more money and more control. Twelve years ago, more money was a potential lure, but not anymore. Control could still be the driver, but the big clubs have looked at the creation of the ECA very positively and UEFA has shown a willingness to throw them enough bones that control won't be a big enough driver to get past 1) and 2) above.
FWIW, my opinion is heavily shaped by by first working on marketing the UEFA Champions League, and then working with the former head of the G14 after they disbanded. His job was to represent the big clubs' interest vs. UEFA and he's still tight with the clubs. It's one thing to read journalist speculations and say, "a lot will change in 25 years" and another to look at the specific issues and figure out what is and isn't feasible.
Another key issue is that it's not just the big clubs that generate the money - it's the collective marketing of the big clubs that generates the big money. 21 years ago, the European Cup still existed and featured the champions of the various domestic leagues in Europe, but didn't generate anywhere close to the revenue they do now. Creating a new competition structure, creating a new TV platform, and creating a new Champions League brand have turned it into the most successful new property in the world over the last 20 years.
As to your last point, if somehow the MLS became financially successful enough to start drawing talent away from Europe, UEFA would definitely care, and wouldn't be in a position to do much about it. The chances of that happening are slim enough and remote enough that UEFA doesn't care about it at all, and football politicians never really look 25 years in the future anyway.
Also, if MLS were going to grow enough to rival the NHL, the model would be as follows:
1) Promotion of top quality soccer (from elsewhere) on TV drives interest in soccer
2) Increased interest in soccer drives local MLS attendance, spending on MLS
3) Increased MLS revenue allows acquisition of better players, improving the MLS product
4) Improved MLS product drives better MLS audiences and more revenue
5) Increased revenue takes the virtuous circle back to 3)
The real question is how much the promotion of top quality soccer from elsewhere will help the MLS get their virtuous circle moving. Most places where soccer is really popular don't have the economy to support their own big league rather than just watch the big leagues from Europe. The big leagues in Europe also structure things to allow prime-time consumption in places like Asia. The US has a big enough economy to theoretically create it's own league, and the time zone direction means Europe will never be able to offer live prime-time content in the US like a theoretically powerful MLS would.
Personally, I'm not sure how it will play out. I think the MLS has a long way to go and 25 years is a relatively short time.
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