How will the MLS rank among soccer leagues around the world in its peak?

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Sports' started by MMC, Mar 2, 2021.

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How will the MLS rank among soccer leagues around the world competition wise in its peak?

  1. Best league in the world

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Top 3

    4.0%
  3. Top 5

    44.0%
  4. Top 10

    24.0%
  5. Outside the top 10

    28.0%
  1. MMC Global Moderator

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    I'm very curious about the potential of the MLS and where you think it will rank among soccer leagues around the world when it's in its peak. Do you think it will become a top 5 soccer league in the world? Top 3? Could it even become the world's best soccer league some day? What do you think?
     
  2. sh724 Registered User

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    I doubt it will ever be the best as there is far more money available for stars in some European leagues. But its entirely possible it rises to one of the best in the world.

    Once MLS finishes its expansion phase and stabilizes with a set number of teams the quality of play should improve exponentially. Then its only a matter of time before the amount of "home grown" talent starts increasing throughout the country.

    MLS has a long way to go to be considered one of the best but in a hypothetical scenario it absolutely could become top 10 or even top 5.
     
  3. MMC Global Moderator

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    Where would you currently rank it? To me it's on the low end of the top 10, but I know next to nothing about soccer.
     
  4. HisIceness This is Hurricanes Hockey

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    If a Christian Pusilic-type were to sign with an MLS team, that would help, wouldn't automatically cause them to jump but it would help. #5 would probably be the absolute peak of the peak, but I'm thinking the best we'll see would be like 7 or 8 (most rankings I see has them at #10).
     
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  5. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    THIS REALLY ISN'T about MLS... it's how popular are Bundesliga and the EPL in North America as to what NBC Sports and Fox Sports covers/shows those 2 leagues in relationship to MLS and its presentation in North America....

    how/what will USA Network handle the EPL once NBCSN goes away at the end of 2021?
     
  6. Albatros Registered User

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    They would have to pay rather well to be able to convince international top stars of the value of winning the MLS Cup vs. the Champions League.
     
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  7. IU Hawks fan They call me IU

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    It's closer to 20
    Football League Rankings (globalfootballrankings.com)

    I say the peak is top 10. It should be able to past a lot of these smaller nations, however, the cap will prevent it from every truly touching the 'big leagues'.

    Fox Sports doesn't have Bundesliga anymore. Try to keep up.
     
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  8. MMC Global Moderator

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    I don't really mean from a popularity standpoint. I mean competition-wise (on field competition, not financial/viewership competition)
     
  9. MMC Global Moderator

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    Interesting thank you, the top 6 are all about what I thought, but I'm surprised to see that the MLS is considered to be behind leagues such as the Danish, Greek, and Chinese leagues. Though as I said, I know nothing about soccer so it was nothing more than a guess for me, rather than me basing it on any actual knowledge.
     
  10. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    well that's a part of it, tbth..... because that's what you're trying here to emulate there
     
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  11. Mightygoose Registered User

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    Competition wise, it's not even the top league in North America. An MLS club has never won the Concacaf Champions League.

    It's been done twice in it's predecessor - the Champions Cup. Most recent LA Galaxy winning in 2000.

    Until then it's nowhere close to top 10 worldwide.
     
  12. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    CONCACAF doesn't resonate in North America, the way MLS Does
     
  13. Mightygoose Registered User

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    Agreed. Which is why it's not the best in the North America or the Western Hemisphere.

    Nevermind holding a candle to middle top European leagues
     
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  14. Albatros Registered User

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    One thing to note is that the MLS has fairly equal teams, and while especially the Greek behemoth Olympiakos is vastly superior to any of them, on the other hand the lower end Greek teams might be inferior to any in the MLS.

    In China there are some really good foreign imports yet overall I'd argue the quality of the league is worse than the MLS. They just have better top players, but the domestic ones are third-rate.
     
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  15. garbageteam Registered User

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    MLS is trying to be profitable and watchable for every fan in North America, so it can't really have super teams dominate the field year in and out unlike Euro leagues. According to Wikipedia data they already command top 10 revenues by soccer leagues in the world, placing 7th (List of professional sports leagues by revenue - Wikipedia).

    According to Football transfers, rumours, market values and news, they also have around the 10th highest market value in terms of player transfer value of leagues around the world, behind only 8 European leagues and the Brazilian Serie A.

    Top vs Top team I think it ranks pretty low as most leagues will have their #1-2 giants, in an elimination style tournament with them they will always severely underperform. However league wide if they somehow merged with one of the bottom half of the top 10 Euro leagues their teams would probably fare fairly decently and not be total relegation fodder.

    MLS gets wrecked in CCL mainly because they always play the top few Mexican giants - Monterrey, America, Tigres & Cruz Azul, all of whom would be relegation fodder in the EPL but would be fine mid table teams outside of the top 5 Euro leagues.

    At its very best in the medium-far term, I think MLS could conceivably be among the low end of the top 5 Euro teams. But that is still far distance away from now and still plenty of work to do to get there.
     
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  16. No Fun Shogun 34-38-61-10-13-15

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    MLS has grown basically tenfold in revenues over the past ten or fifteen years, and yet there're still just mostly a blip on international soccer's radar aside from older players looking for one last payday.

    The potential is there given how much money Americans (and Canadians) spend on sports entertainment, but we already have four major leagues soaking in billions, collegiate sports taking in billions more, and junior, minor, and lower-level pro leagues collectively making hundreds of millions of dollars annually as well. The sports dollar is already split pretty heavily over here to a degree that really isn't the case in Europe and South America (there are other sports popular in some locales, and of course basketball almost everywhere, but North America is really the outlier for having so many mega sports), so that'll be an inherent limitation on soccer's growth.

    I could imagine maybe MLS becoming a top ten soccer league in terms of talent, but I see that as a way's off and unlikely. American and Canadian soccer phenoms still dream about playing over there and not domestically, and that's not changing any time soon.
     
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  17. Voight #winning

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    No way they ever surpass the Big 5 of EPL, La Liga, Seria A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1. They may peak at 6th ahead of the smaller European domestic leagues.


    He and Davies for example could be a huge draw for the league and a whole new generation of fans. If the US Soccer Team were to ever reach the World Cup Final that could also be a huge boost for them.

    If the MLS stays affordable (meaning admission prices and what not), that'll go a long way for growth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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  18. eddygee Registered User

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    Yup this that's the reason you can't give credence to just one ranking list like the one IU posted. Some of those list are extremely subjective especially for those second third tier Euro leagues they get more rankings points for simply participating in Euro tourneys. That's whether its Champions /Europa League qualifications or the proper Champions League and Europa leagues itself. So just just from the Jump the rankings are skewed. You really just have to be a student of the game and watch a shit ton of leagues. Streaming services like ESPN+ that have tens of leagues from all over the world help. MLS is generally recognized by most respectable journalist in the soccer industry to be a rising top 10-15 league about 12th to 13th, some rate it much higher around 7 or 8th but I think that's non sense 12th to 13th is about right. It's above all Asian leagues in overall quality, only behind Mexico, Argentina, Brazil in quality in this hemisphere. It's outside of the Top 5 in Europe "the best" it trails only Turkish, Portuguese and Russian leagues and it falls in a pickem battle with the Dutch, Belgian, English Championship. Most say MLS resembles the English Championship the league before the Premier League before solid teams before they get the influx of all the premier League money.

    Also unlike US sports culture, while 12th or 13th may seem far off its not really far off in the global soccer community where the top leagues are ranked in tiers. No league can really stake a true claim to be the best though many and there fans do. That's the fun part of soccer. That said the best leagues are ranked in the the top 5 leagues "the best" MLS is a rising league, a tier or two below that depending on who you ask. Considering the fact when the 2000s started MLS was probably 45th or 50th, the start of the 2010s around 30th shows you the growth trajectory. Tier 2 and Tier 3 leagues are respected around the world. We can't use US league guidance the same way with soccer its just different.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
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  19. eddygee Registered User

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    I agree I'm 36 I'll be in my mid 50s by then. It'll happen but will be a bit.
     
  20. Albatros Registered User

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    There are some pretty solid Asian leagues as well, like Japan and Korea for example. Fairly good domestic players and the few imports are generally high quality. Good balance between the clubs too. A tournament against MLS sides could go either way. The lesser Dutch and Belgian clubs are definitely quite comparable to the MLS level, but there are also a number of giants that are massively better.
     
  21. eddygee Registered User

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    While the J-League was better than MLS in earlier years the mid to late 2000s its since been SOUNDLY passed by MLS as the league fell on some tough economic times that caused the league to restructure and because of that they cut down on the number of foreigners in the league and that hurt as J-League teams used to have a high Pedigree of up and coming Brazilian players before they hit Europe, players like Hulk. The K-League never really rivalved J-League and its recently faced the same issues as J-League. They used to have a tourney around the mid to late 2000s called the PPC Pan Pacific Championship. I remember then Gamba Osaka soundly defeating long ago MLS Champion Houston Dynamo with some Brazilian player named Bare torching them. There aren't many games to go by every now and then a J League team will make some splash and grab 3 or 4 past Euro Super Stars and go on tour. It was either in 2018 or 2019 they brought over one of their stacked squads on tour with Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Lukas Poldolski, etc and played 3 MLS Teams LAFC, LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew they were winless and got a scoreless draw vs Columbus. see video below. As far as the Belgian and Dutch I feel you're falling in the trap many make of judging the overall talent of those leagues by the 1 or 2 giants in them. Outside of the giants in those leagues the mid and bottom table teams are below mid and bottom table MLS. In MLS there isn't that drop off in Quality outside the top 2 or 3 teams. There maybe isn't that 1 or 2 giants at the top but the depth of quality doesn't drop off a cliff once you get past the top like in those leagues.

     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  22. Albatros Registered User

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    I don't think pre-season friendly tours in America are a good way to measure the quality of a league. Also I wouldn't agree that it's only about one or two giants in the Netherlands and Belgium, both have a set of teams that are competitive in Europe. Even clubs like Heerenveen and Genk have USMNT players.
     
  23. eddygee Registered User

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    Well I was only countering your point about a tournament with MLS and a Asian League like Japan going either way by posting when a strong Asian team from a league like you mentioned do play MLS teams. I mean you made the point about tournaments and all there are no actual true FIFA approved tournaments that would ever match the two leagues. Even those "Summer Tourneys" that take place in the US the ICC International Champions Cup are nothing more than glorified friendlies. So since there is no official way to measure actual competitive play you have to put some weight into those friendly matches especially when one of a league like the J-Leagues strongest sides go winless in a summer tour against 3 MLS sides. Imagine if they would've soundly beaten all 3 MLS sides the narrative would be how much stronger the J-League is vs MLS.

    I agree about the powerhouse teams in those IMO weaker leagues, but because MLS top to bottom is overall stronger than those Leagues is why MLS is stronger than those leagues. Before that Ajax cinderella run that fell short about 3 Champions Leagues ago most knowledgeable soccer media journalist put MLS right at the level of the Dutch league they still do. BUT.... the thing with soccer fans is recency bias on top of going by what they last remember memory bias. They see Ajax surprising in Champions League as teams sometime do every couple years and they ignorantly correlate the WHOLE Erevidisie as being a better league like don't even question them "like what did you not see Ajax knock off xyz big Euro Giant" They mistakenly slap the label of Ajax on every Dutch team the poor to middle table sides few have ever heard of like PEC Zwolle, RKC Waalwijk, FC Emmen, Fortuna Sittard, ADO Den Haag, Groningen, Sparta, Willem II, VV- Venlo, Utrecht, and Heracles. People will who are die hard USMNT/Euro league fans will remember Michael Bradley going to Heerenveen in the Dutch league from NY Metro Stars 15 yrs ago as the step up it was then at the time for a MLS player and still be stuck in that mind set about MLS and how they still view that league in comparison to MLS.

    That's the problem the outdated perceptions of folks always populate the conversations of leagues status whenever comparisons come up. That same move today by a player from MLS to a team like Heerenveen, except the die hard Euro Snobs would be viewed as a uh meh lateral move. "Like he could've stayed here for all that". You saw the meh ok lukewarm reaction about Reggie Cannon to Boavista(Portugal) many where like he could've went to a bigger profile Portuguese club one of the giants there, but Cannon wanted to make sure he saw guaranteed playing time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  24. Albatros Registered User

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    That's only because no MLS side has ever made the FIFA Club World Cup. From Japan Kashima Antlers made the final in 2016, losing to Real Madrid after extra time.

    Dutch and Belgian relegation candidates might not find their success in the MLS either, but that doesn't offset the massive advantage created by top clubs. MLS 2018 Rookie of the Year, 2020 All-Star Mark McKenzie recently signed long-term with KRC Genk.

    Ajax is a "euro giant". PSV and Feyenoord are very big clubs too. More Dutch clubs have won the European Cup or the Champions League than Spanish have. Also the ones you listed have had plenty of world class players. For example Groningen is currently captained by local boy Arjen Robben. The Koeman brothers began their careers there as did Virgil van Dijk. It was also the first European club of Luis Suárez.

    Heerenveen's Ulysses Llanez is a USMNT player right now, it's a great address for a young player with aspirations. Many forwards like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made their name with the club. More recently Real Madrid sent their wonderkid Martin Ødegaard there to gain experience. Like Groningen they don't have the biggest resources, but always quality players on their way up. Not just 15 years ago but today too.
     
  25. eddygee Registered User

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    I'm well aware of the Dutch Leagues prowess for producing attacking talent. The league is setup up to have system from within the Dutch FA to have synergy with the Dutch National team. Its more a system feature. Not that Im totally discounted any small Dutch Club like Groningeen or Heerenveen for producing the system. Just stating the system is set up to produce attacking talent. If you have a hot young attacking prospect not quite ready for the Top 5 you send them to a top half Dutch side in the past.

    That Kashima Antlers side was 5 yrs ago. The Club World Cup has a history of smaller clubs making the Finals lots of Bigger Euro clubs don't take that competition um how do I say this? Well its not that they don't take it not 100% seriously but they don't take it as serious as Champions League they show up go through the motions which is still normally good enough to beat sides that aren't purely as talented. IIRC that CWW was hosted in Japan that year. Lol who am I kidding its almost always in the past in Japan, or China. Even some obscure AFCON teams have made it the finals. I speak on the J-League vs MLS as someone who was deeply attracted to that league. Even caught a Hiroshima Sanfrecce game when I was stationed in Japan and was a big fan of the Gambare J-League Highlights show that used to come on the old FSC(Fox Soccer Channel) up until about 2011 that league had alot of skilled Brazilians in it. The Japanese playing style and flair was very much influenced by the Brazilians especially during the time Zico played in the J-League in the 90's . The mid to late 2000s 2005-2010 was the peak of the J-League the league is not the same league and isn't better than MLS . That's been the case for about a decade now and its only growing as MLS literally gets better talent wise every year. The correlation now becomes more noticeable as MLS academies that were started 5-10 years ago are now seeing fruits of the youngs kids that entered being sold and bought by big top 5 clubs and bigger smaller league teams.
     

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