Garber: MLS has a Harvard Business School plan for MLS to be 1 of the top soccer leagues by 2022

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by patricksp, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Yep.


  2. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member

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    The Don singled out YSA chants. It is a lame and insipid chant.

    Goal is lofty, a little too lofty.
  3. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

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    That's exactly my point--Wondo's goals come cheap for MLS, which means MLS is in a better position when comparing overall wage bills. You helped make my point there.

    And as for the Championship--a team like Burnley is just going to PAY more for a bunch of Dane Richards-level players because of their own market that they're bidding against, they aren't going to GET more.

    That's the additional fallacy of believing that because the wage bill is "spread around" to more players that that makes the team better than an MLS team--sure it is spread around, to players who are being way overpaid by MLS standards.
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  4. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

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    It does seem hard to imagine, but we've seen some phenomenal progress in the last 10 years. I guess they're looking at exponential growth in interest, especially for the TV product. With the huge interest in soccer in the 18-35's (wasn't there just a study that said it was the #2 spectator sport for that age group in the US or something?), it just might be possible.


  5. MLSFan123

    MLSFan123 Member+

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    Page views is much different than giving up increasingly limited space in a magazine which is what you stated would happen. Make your mind about what point you are trying to make.


    "But you can bet that if he said that there was nothing he could do about the swearing, that would make the magazine."
  6. CoconutMonkey

    CoconutMonkey Member

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    Totally agree. A name change seems a too drastic. I'm guessing more of a change in tone and presentation than anything else. Maybe a new league logo (less gradients, more modern), cleaner webpage redesign, and a preseason ad campaign to go along with it.

    I think we're already seeing some of themes this year with their playoff ads: simple flat fonts over gritty looking pics. Sure beats the over produced, lightning flashing, super shiny, italicized acronym heavy stuff from the Big 4.
  7. Grumpy in LA

    Grumpy in LA Bringing It Since 1807™

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    To be honest, I don't see the down side of making it a goal to be "one of the world's top leagues" a decade from now in the way that Garber's describing. (Note the strategic vagueness.)

    For the sake of argument, let's say he means a top 5 or 6 league. If the whole point of the plan is to get there by sustainable means that keep the league healthy, and they put in a real push and ten years from now they look at the benchmarks and say, "Nope. Only 62% there," well, so what? If the league's still financially healthy and, to provide some ROMA data, "only" the number 9 league in the world with an average payroll of $8M/year per team and $60M in total TV revenue, the owners won't be crying into their milk.
  8. jamison

    jamison Moderator Staff Member

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    I always had this fantasy that Garber met with the heads of 5-6 top leagues and they all went around the table and said what their biggest problems are, what threatens their league and future profits, what keeps them up at night. (they are hypothetical examples)

    Head of English FA/EPL- "Racist incidents on the pitch."
    La Liga- "Racism in the stands."
    Italy- "Match fixing."
    Germany- "Referee corruption."
    Scotland- "Massive financial fraud."
    Argentia- "Violence."
    Brazil- "Corruption."
    Don Garber, with a straight face- "Sometimes....1/20th of our stadium says the word "ass hole" out loud.

    In my dream, this is then followed by stunned silence, and 1 person actually dying of shock. YSA is a lame chant and should die. But, on Sunday, I read Yossi Benayoun's tweet, asking West Ham's fans to stopping singing "You're getting Gassed in the morning" at Tottenham supporters.

    You tell me, Don, whether we really have a problem here in this country with supporter's songs.

    And, on leauge quality, I think we're like 6th in average attendance as it is, above France, though we're probably still a "top 10-15" league in terms of true quality. I think getting to be the # 1 league in the western hemisphere is a reasonable goal, long term, due to our money as a country and financial stability as a league (no 6 months without a paycheck kind of stuff, etc).

    Brazil/Argie/Mexico will always have more of a following in their country, but I can see us one day- 15/20 years from now-becoming better leagues than those 3 (more revenue, higher salaried players, more stability).

    Better than the big 4 in Europe? Meh, doubt it.
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  9. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    You won't get far on arbitraging the market. More often, you'll end up with what you have paid for and MLS teams have been blown out in home@away series by the mediocre Mexican squads, who pay 2-3 times more and win (in a home@away series) over MLS clubs always.

    Well, if Richards get to the level of a mid-tier Championship player, he will keep his job and his pay. If he doesn't, he won't.

    Robbie Rogers (Leeds) and Robbie Findley (Nottingham Forest) signed Championship level contracts but have not done anything to earn that money (Rogers isn't even getting PT at Stevenage in League One, where he is on loan from NF). Needless to add, their following contracts will reflect their performances much better.

    The latter assertion has nothing to do with the former.

    All clubs outside of MLS have a different pay structure, from the Albanian Third Division to Real Madrid. What brings in the talent are the wages paid to it. If you want to have Messi and 10 Albanian minor-leaguers on your team, you won't beat Real Madrid with their far more evenly distributed pay scale.
  10. LouisianaViking07/09

    LouisianaViking07/09 BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    In 10years i forsee MLS being one of the top leagues outside of Europe alongside the likes of the Mexican league. MLS needs to see. 20-25% salary increase instead. Get some better PR. Make a minimum of $100 K a year for players. Loads of talented African/SA talent we could snag fo way cheap. Now maybe in 30years we could compete with a Bundesliga or Serie A
  11. LouisianaViking07/09

    LouisianaViking07/09 BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    In 10years i forsee MLS being one of the top leagues outside of Europe alongside the likes of the Mexican league. MLS needs to see. 20-25% salary increase instead. Get some better PR. Make a minimum of $100 K a year for players. Loads of talented African/SA talent we could snag fo way cheap. Now maybe in 30years we could compete with a Bundesliga or Serie A
  12. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

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    It made (some) sense as a date, initially, in context of the bid process for WC2022.

    If it gives the league something to work toward across the next decade, even with the US finishing second in that bid process, then I really only do see positives in the target (as unrealistic as many here might honestly believe it is).
  13. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I think there is.

    But first, I think one of the interesting things about this interview is that Garber is now much more definitive about defining what success looks like -- they want to be judged on three factors, chief among them quality of play, and they want all of the teams to be able to achieve them.

    So, if MLS was going to simply re-define success in such a way that they were sure to attain it, they have not done so yet. (Maybe this idea that they can match Championship payrolls will have some appeal, but first they will have to convince people it's one of the top leagues in the world).

    Now, back to your question. If Garber looked at some of the other sections of the Harvard Business Review, he'd read some good analysis on how stretch goals that are not realistic can be destructive. For starters, they tend to be demoralizing. Unable to achieve the impossible, people tend to give up and organizations achieve less than they would have otherwise, not more. Second, in trying to chase the impossible, corporate governance guru's have argued that it fosters a climate of excessive risk and, in some cases, even unethical behavior.

    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/04/the_folly_of_stretch_goals.html

    I think a good case can be made that MLS would be more likely to progress had the goal been more realistic -- really achieving parity with the Mexican League in international competitions, for example -- than talking about standing toe to toe with the big leagues of Europe. That kind of realistic goal can rally an organization. By contrast, a goal that is viewed as unachievable will eventually be explained away, set aside and forgotten. People aren't going to bust their tails doing what is widely regarded as impossible.

    But some serious damage can be done in the meantime. No matter how many good value players MLS develops, you simply can't escape the reality that in an international market for players it takes a lot more revenue to compete as one of the top leagues in the world. How much more risk would MLS take to get that revenue? Look at the focus of the league right now. Would it sell a chunk of SUM, which has been its most valuable asset? Yes. Would it pour league resources into an expensive stadium and team so that it could auction it off to the highest bidder? Say buddy, wanna buy NYII? And even this isn't going to be enough. It will need to swell payrolls to drive TV revenue, this from a league that had defined its existence in not repeating the sins of the old NASL.

    When you sit in a corporate board room, oversight and goal setting are your two most important tasks. It's serious business. Here, by Garber's admission, the BofG were disappointed the world cup didn't go to the US, which was the lynch pin of the strategy. So, in Garber's words, they doubled down and manned up and decided they would keep the same goal anyway.

    For some very smart people who have seldom put a foot wrong, they jumped the shark IMO. It's as if they set aside all of their customary planning and said in the midst of their disappointment and anger, "WTF, let's go for it anyway!" I think they simply let their emotions get the better of them. And as the league continues to be reminded about its progress -- or lack of progress -- towards this goal in the years that follow, what is otherwise real improvement will now seem a disappointment in the eyes of the media and fans.

    Which is why chasing an impossible dream can be demoralizing at best and counterproductive and harmful at worst. And that's where MLS now finds itself.

    Two cents.
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  14. deejay

    deejay Member+

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    IIRC, MLS pays the basic salary, not the owners. For that, MLS needs a juicy TV contract and to keep expanding to major markets.
  15. sitruc

    sitruc Member+

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    longer version
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  16. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

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    I guess this means the economy is going to pick up enough that my college graduate's salary will allow him to afford season tickets.
  17. deejay

    deejay Member+

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    Good points, triplet1. However, MLS finds itself yet again in another delicate point of it's existence. The last ten years has seen a tremendous increase in the purchase of soccer TV rights for the US and MLS has not been as involved as it would like. It's current deal will be up in 2014 and it is about time to start negotiating. Right now their big selling point is their growth and their promise. So, while stretch goals aren't helpful for a company, presenting a positive outlook for growth is helpful for getting an improved contract!
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  18. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

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    I honestly don't believe MLS is setting for itself goals that are "impossible" to achieve.

    This "by 2022 among the best leagues in world" goal/target/planning for MLS likely isn't all that different than what Project 2010 was for US Soccer, in terms of big picture planning and "unrealistic" targets that still resulted in some excellent and positive growth for the enterprise across the life of that initiative/plan.
  19. PhillyMLS

    PhillyMLS Member+

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    Funny that there are so many people that come on to BigSoccer and present their ideas on how to make MLS better and they are geniuses that are smarter than MLS' brass. MLS puts together an apparently high level, multifaceted, well thought out plan and they are a bunch of idiots that have impossible goals. Considering how far the league has come since 2002, I think I'll reserve judgement on whether or not the idiots running the league can actually come close to the metrics they set out to represent being one of the best leagues in the world.
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  20. greatscott

    greatscott Member+

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    So what if the Championship averages $26.6 mil payroll?
    Doesn't seem to have a ton to do with success on the field.
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  21. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

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    That ("parity with the Mexican League in international competitions") is the (partial) goal/target that MLS is setting, in many ways, isn't it?

    Or it could be the 5-year (regional) target within the broader 10-year global metric of the initiative.

    We of course won't know the specifics until Garber decides to share with Wahl the actual files/plan (assuming it is or will be written down at some point by MLS and they may actually have any interest in making those specifics publicly known).
  22. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

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    Actually a lot of people do. I know most of us here are fans of the game, and MLS in general (in addition to the local team if we have one), but would you rather watch Seattle-Portland, or Dallas - Chivas on TV? Here's another example - Celtic. I'm not a big fan of the SPL, but when Celtic is on TV and playing a match at home I'll tune in. Why? Parkhead's atmosphere is ridiculous. Take College Football, a year or so ago Miami was playing at V-Tech, and Lane stadium was rocking.............so much so, the TV announcers made minimal game commentary and just let the game and atmosphere speak for itself. In stadium atmosphere adds to the brand of the league, TV Presentation, and the story of the game. If you are one of MLS' national broadcast partners you are certainly going to put significantly more home matches for SKC, Seattle, Portland, RBNY, and Philly then you are Col, Chivas, CBus...
  23. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    The thing is that I do not disagree with the basis of your point, just with your conclusion. Demand for mediocre American players (Think Wondo) is low, so MLS can get away with setting up low salaries, if American players start showing up that they have potential then market forces will 1 push the cost of American/Canadian players up, or it will mean losing many of them to outside markets.

    If Gomez was not Mexican-American he would be making Wondo type money in some team in MLS and not making what he makes in Liga MX, I agree with this point, but if Wondo was rally that good, he would get a chance to make more money overseas, be it Poland, Germany or maybe some low table team in Mexico like Queretaro or Puebla (Beasley), so the market forces that keep talent in MLS for cheap will also work against MLS in terms of retaining that cheap talent. IMO.
  24. Mattbro

    Mattbro Member+

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    First thing that attracted me to soccer was the fans. English first division on Sportschannel New England in the early 90s... someone would score, the fans on the terraces would go bonkers. There was nothing like that in the U.S. at the time. I think it was thereafter that I actually started paying attention to the game itself.
  25. Baysider

    Baysider Member

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    I'm halfway with Triplet on this. Unrealistic stretch goals can be counterproductive, particularly if they're tied to compensation. On the other hand, 2/3rds of the goals (passion of the fanbase, importance in the community) are so vague that I'm not even sure what they mean.

    Parity with the Mexican league is exactly the standard we need to be setting (I think we're close, but I also think that closing the remaining gap will be hard, particularly since it's a moving target). The difficult thing is that I'm not sure you can say this in public. Given the rivalry between the US and Mexico, I don't think you want to commissioner to say "well, we're not as good as Mexico, but we'd like to be!".
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