Will MLS eventually surpass the NHL in revenue?

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by blueandgoldguy, Jan 20, 2011.

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  1. blueandgoldguy

    blueandgoldguy Registered User

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    With large numbers of immigrants moving from soccer-mad countries to both Canada and the U.S., the sport has never been more popular in North America. Soccer-specific stadiums, low salary caps (2.1 million), merchandising, tv rights deals with ESPN, ABC and overseas broadcasters, and advertising rights for stadiums and jerseys have finally enabled several teams in the league to break even or become profitable.

    With an aggressive expansion campaign similar to the NHL in the late 60s/early 70s and late 90s, Major League Soccer will have 19 teams by 2012...with no plans on stopping (ie. Detroit is being discussed as possible expansion site). Once MLS establishes a larger footprint in the United States with expansion into key cities like Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis, Phoenix, 2nd New York team, and Minneapolis with the possibility of a few others, the likelihood of a large national TV contract increases substantially.

    Expansion fees have reached in excess of $40 million so the owners in MLS obviously believe in the future and profitability of the league.

    Given the NHL's inability to increase revenues substantially in the many of the leagues newer markets do you see a day where the MLS as a collective will surpass the NHL in terms of overall revenue and become the fourth most popular sport in the U.S.
     
  2. guyincognito

    guyincognito Registered User

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    what's the average salary for a non-designated player? there's your answer
     
  3. The Slovak Sniper

    The Slovak Sniper Registered User

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    As someone who follows MLS almost as closely as the NHL...

    ... if it happens it'll be a while. A few decades at the earliest. MLS has seen some tremendous growth, but it's going to be a while before MLS changes the term "big 4" to "big 5".
     
  4. blueandgoldguy

    blueandgoldguy Registered User

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    The average salary rose to $138 000 in 2010 for MLS. I realize that is peanuts compared to the NHL average which is $2.4 million. However, you are comparing salaries today. I am asking about growth and potential revenues for the 2 leagues in the coming decades. How do you see things turning out in 20-25 years.
     
  5. jkrdevil

    jkrdevil UnRegistered User

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    MLS' major problem for the future isn't competing against the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL. It is that is is also competing against the Premier League and the other big European leagues that are already at similar level as the NHL. It is a global market and domestic viewership for soccer isn't limited to MLS. So far it seems audiences here have chosen the abroad leagues over MLS. I believe the early morning Premier League games ratings on ESPN2 about double up what ESPN2 gets for primetime MLS games. Obviously tv viewers have chosen to watch the top level abroad leagues over MLS. That puts MLS in a chicken and egg syndrome. They need to pay to attract top players and more importantly keep their top domestic players, but they don't have the revenue because people won't pay for the current product.

    So yes the demographics for soccer in NA are improving, but those people are probably more likely to support and spend money on the abroad leagues than MLS. Unless a bunch of people just hate money are come in and are willing to poor in about 40-50 million per team in salaries per year that they won't get back it is going to be hard for MLS to make strides to the NHL level.

    Think of it this way MLS is to the European soccer leagues like the European hockey leagues is to the NHL. The only difference is MLS has basically no history and no roots that make it harder for them to make gains.
     
  6. KingLB

    KingLB Registered User

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    Most people have pretty much hit the nail on the head.....I'll expand somewhat, MLS can't catch anyone in revenue till they get a "real" TV contract. As it stands MLS deals are in the low single digits per year (in millions). That has to change, the problem is alot of soccer fans in this country would rather follow other leagues (European or SA). So in the near future MLS will be a league with decent players that feed the European league, but until it gets past the point where it averages ~20k in the stands and 200k in viewers it will stay a distance away from other leagues as far as revenue.
     
  7. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    As far as revenue is concerned, it will take A WHILE.

    Assistance COULD be higher in the MLS, but is offset by the fact that each team plays 15 home games, as opposed to 41.

    In Montreal, I could see l'Impact having a revenue 10 times lower than the Habs.
     
  8. KingLB

    KingLB Registered User

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    Ehh teams play more home games then that. Currently there are 18 teams so 36 games (18 home & away). On top of that MLS has other competitions, such as US Open Cup (or the Canadian Cup), Superliga, and Champions league, though most these games won't bring in the same revenue as league games the shouldn't be forgot.
     
  9. Dado

    Dado Guest

    Soccer has a global footprint, hockey is decidedly regional. It will take a long time, but yes, it's quite likely, and likely probable.
     
  10. Kitsune

    Kitsune Registered User

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    Just because expansion teams are going for 40m right now doesnt mean much. It could very well be these expansion teams are going for that much to help the MLS cover past loses, and help build a fund for any future loses. Also, the overall talent is not that great - and the quick expansion of the league is going to further water the talent down, which may not bode well for some teams. Atleast there exceeding in areas where the old NASL where not - mainly higher expansion fees and dedicated stadiums. Remove those two factors, and theres an erie similarity between the MSL and the NASL right now.
     
  11. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Not sure if you remember the NASL of the 70s and 80s but, there were 24 teams all across the continent, they had Pele and other big stars, they played in CFL and NFL stadiums and...it all died in 1984.

    Soccer, although quite popular among some living here, won't touch hockey revenues for decades if at all. For a league to have that kind of revenue generation, you need to have the best players in the world. MLS will never have that, why would the world's best players leave Europe? Even the Beckham experiment fizzled and died after the first season.
     
  12. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    Ain't gonna happen until MLS can match NHL gate revenues.

    MLS - 30 Games
    NHL - 82 Games

    MLS avg attendance - 16,120 (2009)
    NHL avg attendance - 17,072 (2010)

    MLS has similar attendance - with some upside to grow(*) - but less than 40% of the number of home games.

    MLS would have to support an avg ticket price of ~2.5x the NHL average in order to match gate revenues.

    (*) Seattle has the highest attendace @ ~30K. The trend in MLS is towards new soccer-only stadiums with 20-30K capacities. Seattle, New England, and DC are the only teams in larger multi-purpose stadiums (Qwest Field, Gillette Stadium, and RFK Stadium).
     
  13. guyincognito

    guyincognito Registered User

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    is that for non-designated players or is that counting the Beckhams and Henry's of the world and their side deals? alot of MLS players make peanuts for professional athletes playing a relatively long season.

    I think the growth potential is WAY limited because there's far better products out there in that particular sport. and they'll end up overextending themselves.
     
  14. MayDay

    MayDay Registered User

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    I think I've heard this story before. I can't recall how it ends...

    Oh yeah, like that.

    Soccer has been "the next big thing in North America" for many, many decades now. I'll believe it when I see it.

    As for the immigrant argument, yes they come from soccer-loving countries and yes they love soccer. But what sports do their kids, who are born and raised in North America, play and watch?
     
  15. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    Soccer.

    Hockey is expensive. That money is better used for education
     
  16. Buck Aki Berg

    Buck Aki Berg Done with this place

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    Not only that, but they'll wait four years and save for a plane ticket to Brazil just to be in the parking lot outside the stadium where their home country's team is playing in the World Cup, over hopping in the car to see their local MLS team in action that afternoon. Every time.
     
  17. babyshamble

    babyshamble Registered User

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    I thinks the biggest problem MLS will have is that the level of soccer is not even close to the soccer being played in the rest of the world. MLS will never be able to atract real world class players only old stars looking for a fun place to retire. This will make the league hard to market towards the regular sportsfan especially when you are competing against the other pro sports-leagues in the US wich all feature world class talent. The regular soccerfan will always prefer European soccer simply because its that much better.

    The other thing is that the MLS is taking an "American approach" to a gloal sport. With the salary cap and draft and all of that, they will never be able to compete with other countries.
     
  18. Fidel Astro

    Fidel Astro Registered User

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    Hockey. I'm one of those kids.

    I didn't have cable TV growing up, and this was pre-Internet, so there weren't a lot of options to follow soccer. We did have CBC, though, and Hockey Night in Canada became the thing to watch. I played both sports, and although it's easier to follow soccer online, etc. (I still don't bother with cable), I'm far more interested in hockey, aside from particular soccer events (i.e. World Cup, certain specific games, etc.)
     
  19. Turboflex*

    Turboflex* Guest

    Dang MLS is expanding to the up and coming City of Detroit, lookout NHL.
     
  20. Evil Doctor

    Evil Doctor Cryin' Hank crying

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    :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

    :skeptic: Oh, wait a minute, you're being serious....

    Let's see if the MLS is still around in another 10 years first...

    :loony:
     
  21. Bittco

    Bittco Registered User

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    I'm a big fan of MLS and it has potential but it has a lot of roadblocks.

    In its favor
    *most kids have now played soccer as a kid
    *most kids now are more receptive to different sports (growing up on espn and the occasional random things that appear)
    *strong business model (branding- creating international competitions)
    *great in game experience (most teams really embrace the soccer experience- it can be a lot better then many nhl games with the constant ads)

    against it
    *the league is barely profitable if at all (im sure someone has the numbers)
    *season is poorly timed- while i like the idea of having it predominately in the summer where it competes only with mlb the championship isnt until november- good luck finding anybody to watch
    *horrible playoff system- people complain about the nhl/nba! ha!
    *sooo many better leagues without cap restrictions and the like
     
  22. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    You of all people should know if the MLS does pass the NHL it will be because of Bettman....


    Anything can happen.
     
  23. MayDay

    MayDay Registered User

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    Under Bettman's tenure, NHL revenues have grown from around $400 million in 1993 to more than $2.7 billion this year, yet another record year. That's a seven-fold increase in less than two decades.

    How exactly is that enabling the MLS to pass the NHL in revenues? Please explain it to me.
     
  24. Bittco

    Bittco Registered User

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    all sports revenues have exploded since 1993
    to make the assumption that is due to buttman is a logical falacy
     
  25. MayDay

    MayDay Registered User

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    While Bettman is far from perfect and has made his share of mistakes, I find it hilarious how vilified he is around here.

    "Buttman"? What are you, 12? :rolleyes:

    Fact is, Bettmas has done a pretty good job managing the financial affairs of the league. If he weren't, there's no way the Board of Governors would have kept him around this long.
     
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