Promotion/Relegation in the US/Can

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by East Coast Bias, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. East Coast Bias

    East Coast Bias Registered User

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    Mods - I started this new because its not limited to MLS - more about pro/rel impact overall. Merge if you want though.

    A lot of talk within the US about how MLS, and to an extent USMNT, will be stuck in neutral unless a promotion/relegation system is implemented.

    Interested to hear what fans of MLS think, but also what Europeans think. Europe has long used pro/rel - but is it crucial to success? Can anyone think of examples of implementing in recent times in other countries?

    I don't think it's financially viable in MLS right now, and in fact, I think it's implementation could destroy the MLS/NASL/USL growing infrastructure.

    Do we really think watching the Fire or Union liquidate their rosters this offseason because of the drastic cut in revenue is the missing link to take sport to the next level in the US and Canada?
     
  2. IHaveNoCreativity

    IHaveNoCreativity Registered User

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    I think NA culture and Euro culture are way different, that doesn't mean that a Pro/Rel system can't work, but I'm not sure our fans would accepts it.
     
  3. ecemleafs

    ecemleafs Registered User

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    id actually argue that relegation is detrimental to national team progression and youth development. the threat of relegation discourages playing young players as managers will go with veteran players who they can trust to stay up.
     
  4. Ceremony

    Ceremony ______________

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    Promotion and relegation exists in European football because many clubs existed and were established before the league systems they eventually play in today. The only country/system I know anything about in any detail is Scotland's where it was initially a first and a second division which required election from the constituent members to allow a club in. This means if you won the second division you weren't guaranteed to be in the first unless everyone else said you could. Aside from anything else systems like this required promotion/relegation in the early days. The relative "Bigness" of a club couldn't be properly judged until they actually played matches, so there had to be a mechanism for clubs to move leagues dependent on their performance. The sheer volume of the clubs in this system too probably had something to do with it.

    In the modern day, relegation happens to a club for one of two reasons, but really just one. Unsustainable levels of spending which come screeching to a halt and result in having to downsize anyway leading to a reduction in the quality of player available. The other is just being crap naturally. With (competently run) football clubs these days relegations are supposed to be a sobering moment of reflection which creates a resolve to create genuine achievement through sustainable methods - see Swansea and Bournemouth recently, for instance. Depending on the league system/country you play in the competition doesn't always make this viable (see Wolves, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn for recent examples and have a laugh when you see what they all have in common) but again, it's down to the historical structure of the league combined with the consistent support of the clubs which exist in their community.

    The history of North American sports, which is again limited in my knowledge to the NHL, is different in terms of both the structure and the cultural role sports and sport teams play in their community and in their community's perception of them. The smaller size of the NHL and its teams for instance wouldn't be able to maintain the same level of interest in local and national terms if there wasn't a guarantee of the status of the teams and a consistency in how they maintained their existence through the playing staff. The draft plays a large part in this when comparing player recruitment between the two continents, though I've no idea how the concept of a draft became so firmly entrenched in North American culture. A random selection of people going to fight in the army. Nonsense. Anyway...

    What bearing this has in trying to establish leagues and success in a time where professional players are a thing, where sports are a billion-dollar/pound global industry, I don't know. But you see why it's hard to compare between two historical systems which have both existed in some form for a century-plus and which are so firmly engrained in the understanding of the sport by the people supporting (in every sense) it. In the modern-day MLS with the amount of money involved and the competition it has for audience interest there has to be guaranteed top-level exposure for fans and investors to be interested in it. I've no idea what sort of surroundings lower levels in North America are like to comment on it with any real authority.

    I think part of the reason for trying to establish football as a top level sport in America was owing mainly to the instability of the teams and the interest in them - we all know what the common view of football to Americans is. My understanding of it from previous threads on here is that football is seen as a means for children to run around before picking a "real" sport at ten or eleven to focus on. If that's changing now, if it's going to change more in the coming years to make the sport and the MLS a more legitimate interest for the population, then the system will flourish (although it would be interesting to see what would happen if it was ever big enough to support 30+ clubs, bearing in mind the comparison between the population of America and mainland Europe and the subsequent scope for potential markets), then great. The system will remain in place and the sport will succeed. I think then the stability will clearly be beneficial, and there's no need to try and implement a promotion/relegation system (and at least you prefaced this with something other than the NHL Talk threads that appear in the summer with absolutely no appreciation of the logistical nightmare of replacing one structure with another).

    Regarding "taking the sport to the next level" I think it's quite simple what needs to happen to football in America for it to be successful. Teams won't be able to compete with European clubs for the best players in the world because of the money and the historical draw and surroundings on offer in Europe, the only option is to bring through their own players and focus on American players. America spends ludicrous amounts on sport, there's nothing to stop them training their own coaches and their own players to be successful. If they did this, with the available population... they'd be borderline unstoppable, really. Although I think the draft system inhibits this to an extent. You see the success of Barcelona's recent generation based on their youth system, all these players that have played together for years with the same philosophy, then it works at the highest level. You don't get that with a draft.

    So, er, no. America doesn't need it.
     
  5. Ceremony

    Ceremony ______________

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    This is much more dependent on the managers and league structures than anything else. Bottom of the league Sunderland played away from home last night managed by the exact personification of that stereotype you described with a 21 year old up front. Spurs and Liverpool are two recent English examples of teams with new managers with hilarious delusions of expectation who are happy to play young players, with great success.

    Plus, even if you have teams afraid of relegation there will still be many successful teams throughout the pyramid who bring players through.
     
  6. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge Let's Go Exploring

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    I can see it being an issue with some fans, but it's a far bigger issue with the owners and cities (for those that have helped fund stadiums).

    Eh...valid, but I don't think it's something that comes up too often for players that are good enough to be in the National Team discussion. The Galaxy have simply kept their younger prospects on Los Dos to get playing time, rather than the bench...now that most teams have USL programs I think there is a safeguard to prevent guys like Ariel Lassiter from stagnating.


    Promotion/relegation is something that I would like to see, but it's not something that can be done at present time as the league is still growing...swapping out Chicago for Rochester would be awful for the league right now, though some day I'd like that to be an option to get Chicago to actually spend some damn money. This system would also require a unified system...which isn't really close to happening. The NASL and MLS don't exactly love each other and the USL has become filled with II teams...there'd need to be a MLS 2nd Division for this to realistically be an option, and I think that's an inevitability when the MLS grows large enough that teams from the East no longer play teams from the West because the schedule can only be so long.


    Ceremony nailed it, though - promotion/relegation exists because most of these European teams have existed for nearly a century more than their current leagues have. Owners in the US/Canada are buying into whatever tier they play at. I only see it as an inevitability because there's too many cities deserving of teams and no way to get them all into a single league and I hate the idea of splitting the league on geographical terms any more than it already is.
     
  7. HajdukSplit

    HajdukSplit Registered User

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    I fully support it but it will never happen with the current MLS ownership who pay way too much money to enter the league. My guess is way down the line there will be something like MLS1/MLS2 with 40 or so clubs with MLS2 being the bottom rung and no team can exit that. However this will take another generation and it would require MLS to actually make inroads in NA sports (higher TV viewership, more sponsors, high cap) to at least NHL levels

    However I would like to see competition, don't see how its fair for places like Sacramento, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Chattanooga who do relatively well in attendance but yet have little to no chance to ever be a MLS "franchise" because they don't have the money to enter the league. It would also wake up some people doing a poor job in the current MLS (Chicago, Colorado being the best examples)

    I know the country is way too big, but I don't see how some soccer fan in say Tennessee can actively support an MLS side. He/she should be able to late onto a local team and have the opportunity for that club to make its way to the top flight.
     
  8. Panteras

    Panteras perennial loser

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    the owners will not allow this, it's just not in the culture of NA sportas as some have already mentioned
     
  9. Bakayoko Ono

    Bakayoko Ono Registered User

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    Look what's happened to Shahid Khan, he bought an EPL club, team got relegated right after and have been firmly stuck in the Championship ever since.
     
  10. Virtanen18

    Virtanen18 SAMCRO

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    I dunno. It seems interesting/intriguing, but seems like interest in MLS would just dwindle with the casuals who the league needs to stick around.
     
  11. IU Hawks fan

    IU Hawks fan They call me IU

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    The Fire had a higher payroll this year than NYRB, Crew, DC, and Dallas. They were only $700,000 behind #6 in payroll at the end of the season and were 7th midway through the year.

    Spending isn't the problem. Spending wisely is.



    http://www.thegoatparade.com/2015/7...ding-expansion-teams-spending-big-compete-now - midyear
    http://blogs.denverpost.com/rapids/...by-major-league-soccer-players-union/27231/2/ - final
     
  12. Fulham

    Fulham Registered User

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    NA fans are not loyal enough for Promotion/relegation,

    The Impact ownership was publicly stating "they might of mistaken Montreal as a soccer market" after their losing 2014 season where attendances plummeted 20% +, now they sign Drogba and they sell out.

    Still too many fair-weather soccer fans who'd never support a 2nd division side.

    Also the NA supporting Culture values "Parity" whereas European Supporters still value the entertainment that occurs during relegation battles,

    My champions league Final equivalent was Drawing Rotherham at Home on a rainy day to stay in the Championship
     
  13. Peen

    Peen Rejoicing in a Gudbranson-free world

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    market isn't big enough, quality isn't deep enough
     
  14. Ceremony

    Ceremony ______________

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    What about the time you were actually in a European final?
     
  15. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    Not enough quality teams to make it viable unless they limit it to two divisions, and even then that is a massive stretch.

    I would prefer them do something towards the end of the season to give losing teams something to fight for instead of just giving up.
     
  16. 1994and2011

    1994and2011 Registered User

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    I'm guessing this was a parody Eurosnob post?
     
  17. Ugmo

    Ugmo Registered User

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    Don't know if we even need it in MLS at this point. The playoff system seems to be getting more and more exciting. Yes it's a different kind of excitement than pro/rel (and I guess they're not mutually exclusive - you could theoretically have both), but what MLS lacks in excitement about the bottom of the table is made up for at the top of the table (very little excitement at the top of most European league tables nowadays).

    I kind of, sort of get what he means. An MLS team's attendance would plummet if it got dropped down to the NASL or whatever. But then again, so does attendance for most other teams in the world when they drop from the first to the second division. On the whole, soccer is still far more popular comparitively in Europe than the U.S., so clubs are probably better able to weather relegation.

    The "excitement" argument is kind of dumb though. How exciting is it that Bayern wins the Bundesliga every year, or that only two teams in Spain ever have a shot at the title? There are different ways of defining excitement, and while Europe is definitely more exciting at the bottom of the table, it's not very exciting at the top in most cases.
     
  18. Fulham

    Fulham Registered User

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    Im a ST Holder for the Whitecaps but the Impact and Whitecaps played at the USL level not that long ago, and nobody cared in the slightest about them other than the diehards. Look at their USL attendance numbers it was in the mid thousands.... you don't see a 50%-75% drop in attendence when clubs get demoted in Europe.
     
  19. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    They've also been competing for a lot longer than any MLS team
     
  20. njdevsfn95

    njdevsfn95 Help JJJ, Sprite.

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    Meanwhile Stan Collymore has argued (not too fiercely) about having two premier leagues in England to 1) spread the wealth and 2) bring the likes of Leeds/Forest and others back to the big time.

    Didn't have the heart to call in and say that would have to have playoffs.

    But then again England loves to boast having the "most expensive football game in the world" (Championship Playoff Final) and I can only imagine what a Premier League Playoff Final would generate.
     
  21. Fulham

    Fulham Registered User

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    Im not at all trying to pin this only on NA fans, The Biggest reason is that Competition For media Coverage, and corporate sponsorship is so high that a club being relegated will crush it. Whereas in Europe and much of the world Soccer is the Most popular sport by an insane margin.

    If you Live in Leeds all you have is Leeds United, for weekend entertainment, Corporate sponsorship, and Media Coverage. That does not change from League 1 to the Premier League

    If you Live in Dallas you Have all 4 Major sports leagues, and half a Dozen College Programs that will be ahead of you in the Pecking order, for Sponsorship and Media Coverage, if you get relegated your left with the few thousand die hards. And are Behind HS sports as far as TV coverage and awareness.
     
  22. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    No, you are pinning this on NA fans by saying "Hey, I can't blame them for wanting to watch something else because they have options". Look at Mid-Major NCAA football programs. They have no hope of getting a national championship, let alone ranked, and most of them don't even have a shot at winning their own conference yet they can sell tens of thousands of tickets every weekend they play because people will support them regardless of what else is in the town because those teams are part of their ways of life.

    In 15-20 years the same will be for MLS clubs. Once they get ingrained in a community and stick around, especially when it comes to soccer since it promotes a community atmosphere, then you will have tens of thousands of people who will show up to watch a D2 side.
     
  23. Ugmo

    Ugmo Registered User

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    That's a massive difference. You can't compare a team in a closed North American second division that can't get promoted to a team in Europe that will get promoted if it meets certain performance criteria on the field. If you implemented pro/rel in MLS and the Whitecaps got relegated, would their attendance drop by 50 by 75 percent if there was the prospect that they could get promoted again with another good season in the second division? There's no way of knowing that.
     
  24. Ugmo

    Ugmo Registered User

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    By the way, while we're at it, someone over at BS did a bunch of comparisons and the North American "second division" (NASL) actually stacks up decently compared with most countries:

    Attendances US/Canada 2015 - Italy 2015/16
    MLS 21,550 - Serie A 22,065
    NASL 5,912 - Serie B 6,940
    USL - 3,369 - Serie C 2,106

    Attendances US and Canada 2015 - France 2015/2016
    MLS 21,550 - Ligue 1 20,502
    NASL 5,912 - Ligue 2 6,721
    USL 3,369 - National ? (probably less than 3,000)

    Attendances US/Canada 2015 - Japan 2015
    MLS 21,550 - J1 League 17,803
    NASL 5,912 - J2 League 6,845
    USL - 3,369 - J3 League 2,432

    Attendances US/Canada 2015 - Brazil 2015
    MLS 21,550 - Série A 17,468
    NASL 5,912 - Série B 6,126
    USL - 3,369 - Série C 4,051

    Those are actually pretty good numbers for second division in which teams can't even get promoted by on-field performance. Obviously the numbers are bad compared to England and Germany. The Segunda in Spain only averages 7,611. And obviously it's difficult to compare different countries because there are all kinds of divergent factors (individual market size, amount of competition from other sports leagues, overall popularity of the sport), but I think people somewhat underestimate how popular the North American lower divisions in soccer are compared with most other countries, especially considering that they are closed leagues in which the teams cannot even aspire to promotion.

    Also, check out the drop between the first and second divisions in all those examples: it's like a 66 percent drop in most cases!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  25. njdevsfn95

    njdevsfn95 Help JJJ, Sprite.

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    Ive always wondered if a "closed promotion/relegation" would work with the NASL and obviously as a test of its potential.

    If the MLS had an odd number of teams (though since MLS uses an unbalanced schedule it really doesnt matter), the NASL champion gets promoted to the MLS for 1 season. If the NASL team finishes last, they get relegated w/the NASL champion taking their place. If they finish anything other than last, they have a 2-leg playoff with the NASL champion to retain their spot or get relegated.

    Just a thought.
     

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