Will the MLS become one of the biggest leagues in the world in our lifetime?

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by End on a Hinote, May 20, 2016.

  1. End on a Hinote

    End on a Hinote Registered Abuser

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    According to this, the MLS is #15 as far as pro league with the most revenue.

    This is taking into account that the league is only about 20 years old, with only 20 teams, and is still making it's mark in North America.

    If things keep progressing for the MLS like it is, where can you see them in the next 20-30 years?
     
  2. BattleBorn

    BattleBorn Tuched In.

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    I think the MLS is a victim of being late to the party. There's already much larger/more prestigious soccer leagues in the world, three of the European ones I can think of off the top of my head and I'm not a soccer fan. Plus, the fact that EPL and Bundesliga now have US TV deals has got to hurt a little.

    North America has the largest/most prestigious leagues because we've got the money and those sports were born here. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, all North American creations. Soccer is global and there have been leagues in existence forever, those leagues have the money, the prestige, and exist in comfortable places to live.

    20-30 years is a long time, but I don't see MLS climbing above the major Euro leagues, just like I don't see the KHL climbing above the NHL or the Nippon League beating out MLB in the same period.
     
  3. wings5

    wings5 Registered User

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    Not until player salaries significantly improve.
     
  4. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch ***** Pigeons

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    Maybe the biggest soccer league in North America, but that's about it.
     
  5. hatterson

    hatterson Registered User

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    It's even a harder climb for the MLS above those leagues because they're not just competing against the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, etc. individually. They're also competing against the juggernaut that is UEFA.

    The draw of the champions league means that, in large part, all the best players will gravitate towards the European leagues so the MLS is almost guaranteed to have lesser quality teams.
     
  6. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    Wait.... Aren't they already the biggest soccer league in North America by about 500 miles?

    Back on more relevant questions... I can see it overtake a few of the leagues ahead without significant expansion. And I can probably see knocking at the Top-10 with significant expansion.

    But that's for a very long period, and as far as I understand the chart, monetary fluctuations could have non-negligible impact, and it's a bit harder to speculate on that.
     
  7. Acesolid

    Acesolid The Illusive Bettman

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    I dont know, but we'll know MLS has potential if the league can "catch up" to the other North Amercian sports leagues by sucessfully climbing to 30-32 teams.
     
  8. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge Let's Go Exploring

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    Liga MX.

    As for the question at hand...it all depends on what timeline you're looking at. Ultimately I think the answer is yes, but it's not going to happen overnight and I'll probably be approaching retirement by the time it's realistic.

    I doubt it'll ever be the biggest, but it can fit inside the top 4 eventually.

    I don't think beating La Liga or Ligue 1 will be that difficult once the system opens up and teams can spend money freely (which also won't be going away any time soon, so I'm talking 10-20+ years down the line)...it'll be a while until an MLS team is as good as a PSG is today, and I don't know if an MLS team will ever hit the heights that a FC Barcelona or Real Madrid can...but those leagues are so top-heavy that I can see the league being better as a whole...i.e. a mid-table MLS team being better than a mid-table La Liga team.
     
  9. superdeluxe

    superdeluxe Seattle Sin Bin

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    This article from Sounders at heart compares the salaries between the NHL, MLB, NBA and MLS as well as world leagues. Not good for MLS.

    http://www.sounderatheart.com/2016/5/20/11718734/2016-mls-salaries-comparison-nhl-mlb-nba

    Compared to to the rest of the world:

    Greece's league is paying better than MLS.

    When 3/4 of your players make less than the league minimum in both the MLB/NHL, you have a long way to go.
     
  10. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge Let's Go Exploring

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    The salaries have made huge strides in the past few years, but even then you still have plenty of players that really don't even make enough money to live in the cities they play in. $51.5k a year is a horrible salary if you're living in a place like LA, NY, or San Jose. The difference between the haves and have nots in this league is gigantic, and that won't change until revenues at least double.
     
  11. hatterson

    hatterson Registered User

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    Salaries are odd in the MLS right now because of the designated player rules.

    Those are in place to try and lure world class players to the MLS while still keeping the overall salary cap in place and theoretically preventing the MLS from extending itself or becoming a league with a couple of big teams and a bunch of nobodies.

    Right now the salary cap for the MLS is ~3.5M with a max player salary of 436k. However a designated player can essentially be paid whatever the team wants and only the first 436k counts against the cap with a max of three designated players per team.

    Take a team like Toronto FC for example. They have three current designated players, Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore who make a combined total of ~18.5M. All other players on the team combined make a total of about 3.5M (with some other cap exception shenanigans to get them under the overall cap).

    Overall the MLS could afford to significantly increase base player salaries, however they'd lose the major star power in the league. There's no chance you're signing a players like Kaka, Giovinco, Bradley, Gerrard, etc. for salaries of 500k/year.
     
  12. Inkling

    Inkling Same Old Hockey

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    I think it will continue to grow and eventually rival the NHL and maybe the NBA in our lifetimes. Individual clubs won't rival the biggest ones in Europe but they will close the gap.
     
  13. Confucius

    Confucius We Can and We Will

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    It will be tough to catch the big leagues in Europe, the ownership there has a lot of wealth. And the fans in Europe support their leagues big time. That being said, I can see the MLS passing hockey and the NBA, maybe even baseball. Football, not in my lifetime.
     
  14. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    No. You can't bring in immigrants fast enough to overtake North America's established big 3. Maybe one day but, not in our lifetimes.
     
  15. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    As has been touched upon, the future of soccer in America is just really hard to figure out. Not because it won't become bigger, but because it's hard to see where fan loyalties, and the big money, will end up.

    The Premier League's $1b 6-year deal with NBC is bigger than MLS' $800m 8-year deal. And neither of which are as popular as Liga MX, which retains the highest ratings of all three.

    It's a real mish mash, and in many ways works against the sport. If MLS was capable of pooling its powers to take advantage of all three, I think it's safe to say that they would already have 'big time' broadcast contracts.

    To answer your question, yes I think it will become a top 10 sports league within the next 30 years.

    In no particular order, you'll have Premier League, La Liga, UEFA Champions League, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, IPL (Indian cricket league) as the eight that will certainly occupy the top 10 spots by 2050. That leaves two spots open, and it's hard to see MLS not taking one of those spots.
     
  16. Bruins1233

    Bruins1233 Registered User

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    I think you are underestimating how fast Basketball is globalizing, it is becoming the biggest sport in China. It is huge in Mainland Europe, and the talent pool is exploding.
    The talent going to be too much for the NBA is a few years in the level of play in European leagues is going to shoot upwards.
    The NHL, we will see, but I have a feeling that there is a cap on soccer that is lower than Hockey, although I may be living in a bubble of New England where Hockey is as big as anywhere and soccer is probably the least popular it is anywhere.
     
  17. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    Well MLS has climbed to 23 technically, already. Atlanta, LAFC, Minnesota are all coming in over the next few years. Miami was slated as the 24th team, but there are some kinks to iron out there.

    After that, the league just recently announced plans to go to 28. Sacramento is virtually guaranteed the 25th spot, and could even make it in as early as 24th spot.

    Then there are a slew of markets lining up for expansion, including Detroit, St Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, Charlotte and now, crazily enough, Cincinnati after the incredible crowds they're getting in the third division.
     
  18. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    That 'cap' you're talking about, is that US or global? Cos if it's the latter, I'd hate to burst your bubble...

    As for China, basketball is already the biggest sport in China. But just look at how quickly China's soccer league shot up. It's gone from a corruption laden league that no one took interest in, to one that's average 27,000 a game with a $1.3 billion TV contract. Small by global standards, but easily the biggest domestic spectator sport in China.
     
  19. Bruins1233

    Bruins1233 Registered User

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    The US, just because there are so many other sports leagues, I can not see the MLS dominating them.
    I don't know anyone who likes just soccer. I know people who just watch football, or just Hockey or just Basketball.
    Almost everyone who watches soccer I see is a sports fan. They like Football, Baseball, Hockey and Soccer, or Basketball, Football and Soccer.
    I see Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, bumper stickers, Decals, jerseys, hats, flags, book covers, welcome mats etc. all over the place. I have seen a few premier league jerseys but I don't recall ever seeing any MLS gear.
    and in regards to Basketball its not just China, the European leagues are getting much better. The US is losing ground to rising powers in Europe, Spain, Germany, Greece, and some of the former Eastern Bloc have great national teams now.
     
  20. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    Oh, US, then yeah, it's going to be tough. In saying that, as you say, you're living in the wrong city. Boston doesn't even have an MLS team, strictly speaking. In other parts of the country, Seattle, Kansas, Orlando etc, where local MLS teams are a much bigger deal, people may have a different view of what the league's potential is.

    On the European basketball thing, I have to disagree. Nothing will ever be in the same discussion as the NBA.

    Having good national teams isn't really a major thing. England soccer team doesn't do well, but the Premier League is untouchable. Only, in the case of basketball, the US national team is the best.
     
  21. Bruins1233

    Bruins1233 Registered User

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    That Patriots and Revolution play at the Same Stadium. I am not even sure if the Revolution have a local Broadcasting deal.
    The MLS thrives where there isn't many of the major sports
    New England (Boston), Colorado (Denver), New York Red Bull, Philly, DC, Chicago, San Jose and Dallas are all in the bottom 10 for attendance.
    Seattle, Orlando, Portland, LA, Vancouver, Houston, Toronto, Salt Lake, and KC are in the Top 10. (of course this is before LA got a NFL Team)
    So if 7/10 of the least attended MLS markets are in big 4 sport markets and 9/10 of the top 10 markets are not big 4 markets what does that say about the MLS?
    It is a backup, people root for them if they have no one else to root for.
     
  22. wildthing202

    wildthing202 Registered User

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    They're on CSNNE. Been there for nearly every year of their existence aside from 1996 and 2009.
     
  23. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    It is harder in larger markets, but you're overlooking an important point about stadium locations. Saying 'but the Patriots play there too' isn't a great argument either...cos NFL.

    New York is a great example. NYCFC is in the top 5 in MLS attendance, while NYRB is, as you say, in the bottom 10. Why is that? Stadium location.

    Same thing with Boston, Dallas and Chicago. Comparing the stadium location of Seattle to Chicago/Boston/Dallas is like day and night. One in smack bang in the middle of the city, the others are 15-30 miles outside the city core. Could add Colorado to that list, as they don't play in Denver, but Commerce City. As for DC United, they play at RFK, which should tell you everything you need know. A planned new stadium will fix their issue overnight.

    Also, Philadelphia and San Jose doesn't fit either, as they're playing out at close to capacity of their stadiums, which are in the 18,000 range.
     
  24. offkilter

    offkilter Registered User

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    I hope for your sake you are referring to import players, and not immigrants themselves.
     
  25. Mathers

    Mathers Registered User

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    He meant immigrants, yes, ie importing fans. Unfortunately, immigrants would be the worst thing for mls, as they tend to stick with their own leagues.
     

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