I'm working my way through the newly released "Revised and Expanded" edition of Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski. Much of the thought provoking material from the original is still here, but the book has been updated with references to the rise of Man City, the takeover of PSG and FFP. On page 201, they note that in 2010-11, EPL TV revenues amounted to $80 million per club (although it isn't distributed equally), while the NFL averaged $95.8 million per team. When you consider that during the 1980s a single NFL team got more in TV money than all the clubs in the English first division combined, it's been a stunning rise. And Kuper and Szymanski suggest the EPL could, in the not too distant future, not only pull even with the NFL in terms of annual TV revenue, but pass it. And while other select European clubs -- particularly those that built their massive fan bases in the thirty year peroid following WWII -- continue to generate huge sums of money too, for clubs not among the handful of super clubs, it's an EPL phenomena. They then reiterate their argument from the original book (page 206): "The market in sports fans is becoming more global. This means that a century-old model of fandom -- the man who supports the hometown team he inherited from his father -- is collapsing. The new globalized sports fan will happily snub his local domestic league. If you live in London and you like football, you probably support an NFL team rather than some bunch of no-hopers playing on a converted rugby field a few miles from your home. Similarly, if you live in the U.S. and like soccer, you are more likely to support Manchester United than your local MLS team, which, in any case may be hundreds of miles from your house. Even in Argentina, with its great historic soccer clubs, people increasingly watch United on TV. That's all the more true in the US, China, or Japan, countries whose soccer fans mostly came of age during the second wave of sporting globalization." "These people want to see the real thing. Global fans want global leagues. For most of them, that means the NBA, the NFL, or the Premier League." I've been trying to digest this for a few days. It is, I think, the classic characterization of the Eurosnob -- a fan who is drawn to better soccer much more than local soccer. These are, primarily, TV fans -- and they are fueling the explosive growth in EPL TV revenues. MLS has done a very good job getting people in the stadiums, but TV has been more difficult. I suspect that's because when fans don't have the experience of a live game as an offset, they'd rather watch better than local on their living room TV. In several threads, we've had conversations about MLS "catching" up to Liga MX, but if Kuper and Szymanski are correct, MLS needs to set its sights even higher -- to the EPL and super clubs. How is that possible? Unless masses of fans can be convinced to watch MLS during what may be a generation of "catch up", the league can't possibly compete financially with a league where foreign TV revenue is exploding with every contract renewal. So should it even try? For some time, I've advocated more payroll spending, in part to start closing the gap with the Mexican clubs, but also so that MLS will be able to retain many of the good young players it hopes to develop. But if MLS can 't possibly catch the first tier clubs of the world -- those with revenues over $100 million -- does spending another $5m per MLS team matter? Perhaps its better to just play the kids, replace the best of them with new kids after four years, save the money and be done with it. Now, I do think there are some MLS markets that could support world class teams, but not nearly enough of them. I don't see how the entire league can be elevated to that level -- something even large Euro leagues are struggling with as cash continues to slosh into the EPL. People the world over are voting with their TV remotes, and many are voting for the EPL and other "global brands". How can MLS compete with that? Perhaps its best not to try.