It has been awhile. In April, 2014, I started the “The Road from Here” thread, where I hoped to foster a discussion of where MLS should head in the future, both to advance the sport and the business that is Major League Soccer, LLC. Many posters responded with some incredibly insightful posts and (while the thread likely had little to do with it) MLS did in fact make some changes we discussed. A couple of thousand posts later, it seemed appropriate to call time on the thread and the discussion. I didn’t exactly walk away from Big Soccer a couple years ago, but aside from the occasional thread here and there, I curtailed my posting a lot because I really didn’t have much else to say. With MLS filling out its map nicely, TAM boosting quality and Atlanta’s spectacular success, it was hard to find much fault with the economic structure of the league – which is what the first thread, “The Road from Here” was all about. Of course, it hasn’t all been great, from the fiasco in Columbus to the failure of the USMNT to make it to Russia (and provide additional exposure for the league), to the litigious NASL. Still, there are other threads to talk about all those things. That said, I think it is perhaps time to start a new thread and a new conversation about the economics that are going to shape MLS in the future because I am convinced we are in a period of unprecedented change. Without getting to personal here, these days much of my time is spent serving on corporate boards for companies involved in commercial real estate, banking and health care. What these seemingly disparate businesses have in common is that each is grappling with profound changes in the digital era. These organizations (like so many others) are focused on moving from a bricks and mortar footprint to embrace the realities of digital which is rocking their world. The economic models we were all certain about even ten years ago tremor with the closing of each retail store, rural hospital and bank branch. The data is now so compelling, the pace of change so rapid, for all but the flat earth society it’s no longer even debatable. At least in the board rooms I am in, the consensus has long been we either embrace digital and adapt to the realities of the digital world, or these organizations will die. It’s a challenging, often painful process which has caused a reexamination of some long held assumptions underpinning many business plans. Which brings me to MLS. I'll put that in the next post.