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Discussion in 'MLS: Commissioner - You be The Don' started by barroldinho, Aug 31, 2015.
Why are you talking small ball here, my man?
I'm not suggesting that increasing the salary budget is a bad thing, I just don't think it will significantly increase interest.
Without access to the Champions League, American soccer is always going to be second best to many.
I’m for a quasi-relegation three division format whereas the divisions are changed every year based on the previous years results. I’ve mentioned it before. The top teams are placed in the same division of 10-11 teams.
That division gets 6 playoff spots. Division B gets 4 spots and Division C gets 2 playoff spots. Teams not making the playoffs in division C will be given $500k-$1mil. extra in GAM.
Games would be 2 against your division (20-22) and a rotating 10-11 games versus the other divisions(5 each division).
I had a similar idea in a pro/rel sandbox thread in this forum a few years ago: the idea was to make pro/rel palatable by making the divisions so fluid that no one could ever expect to be in the top division for longer than a few years at a time.
My idea was two divisions, with every team in the upper division involved in some kind of postseason play: every team not making the playoffs in the top division would go into pro/rel playoffs with the lower division. The way I structured it, the number of teams relegated from the top division every year could potentially be as few as two or as many as half of the division.
Like it. How would you decide who goes up and who gets demoted? Oh and how bad were you bashed on here by the usual negative curmudgeons?
Wasn't bashed at all. I'm one of the people who get accused of being negative curmudgeons -- and so were several other people brainstorming ideas to make pro/rel workable in the US. My idea was mostly intended to make it workable by ensuring that MLS teams going to the lower team would not lose much value. Most people have proposed limiting the number of teams relegated to restrict the loss of value to as few teams as possible. My idea was to blow it so wide-open (by potentially relegating up to half of the top division each year) that the top division could never have much more value than the second division.
I'll explain more fully in a bit, I'm in the middle of things right at this moment.
OK, now that I have time...
My premise was that pro/rel becomes appropriate when MLS expands to the point where it becomes awkward to even run it as a single league, even as an American-style league with geographic divisions and an unbalanced schedule, and there are still serious efforts to get in. As the league goes past 30 teams, it becomes hard to schedule home-and-away games against more than a few rivals.
My idea is to split off an "elite" group, which would have most of the playoff spots as well as some limited benefits that would make them a bit more competitive in the CCL -- say, a 5% bump in the salary budget, which would be the equivalent of allowing one additional GAM/TAM player. The teams in the newly formed upper division would play home-and-away against each other, and also have games against their corresponding conference in the lower division.
Here's how it might hypothetically be scheduled at 36 teams (and it could be modified for different total numbers of teams):
Upper tier: "MLS Super 12"
* 12 teams in Eastern and Western conferences
* Regular season: 2 games against each Super 12 opponent (22 games), 1 game against each team in corresponding MLS Classic conference (12 games), total 34 games
Lower tier: "MLS Classic"
* 24 teams in Eastern and Western conferences, each conference further divided into two divisions of 6 teams
* Regular season: 2 games against division opponents (10 games), 1 game against all other MLS Classic opponents (18 games), 1 game against each team in corresponding Super 12 conference (6 games), total 34 games
* Top 3 from each Super 12 conference qualify for championship playoff
* Top team in each MLS Classic conference qualifies for championship playoff + automatic promotion to Super 12 (total of 8 teams in championship playoff and 2 teams directly promoted)
* Pro/rel playoffs: bottom 3 in each Super 12 conference (6 teams) + 5 teams from each MLS Classic conference (10 teams) play for 4 spots in Super 12 (2 per conference). Because there are fewer places available than upper-tier teams competing, at least 2 of the Super 12 teams in the pro/rel playoffs will be relegated, and potentially as many as all 6.
* Overall: all 12 teams in Super 12 have some kind of postseason play; 12 of 24 teams in MLS Classic play in the postseason.
Now that is some detailed stuff right there! Interesting as hell. I could support something like this.
^^ Why would upper tier teams want to play lower-tier teams in the regular season? That's what the USOC is for.
Div 1 should be an 18-team, 34 games-a-season league, with the bottom 3 teams being relegated to a two-Conference Div 2 of up to 24 teams. Top Div 2 team in each conference would be promoted while the next four teams in each conference would battle it out in playoffs for the final spot.
Read the rationale I gave above. The idea was to minimize the loss of value that comes with relegation, in order to make it palatable to MLS owners. In my view, that can only be done by 1) making it still possible for second-tier teams to win the championship, 2) continuing interleague play between the two tiers, and 3) making the top league so fluid that no one can expect to stay up for a long time.
On second read through, it looks like an interesting concept. But as soon as you start saying one division will have a higher salary cap than another, then you start getting into the messy business of relegated teams having to shed salary to be compliant with the lower divisions. Players will start demanding the right to be traded if their club get relegated and fight for it in a strike, which MLS would want to avoid at all costs to prevent momentum loss. Parity would not apply anymore.
I still think it would be better to have 2 Conferences of 3 divisions of 6 teams each, all working from the same financial constraints. Schedule format would be like the NFL. Two games against each in-division rival, one game against each in-conference rival, and one game against each team in two of the three opposite Conference divisions for 34 games, rotating annually. Then everyone has an equal shot.
To address the depth issues, set the Salary Cap at $10 million (+DPs/TAM/GAM) and the Salary Floor at $5 million (to prevent the cheapest owners from fielding non-competitive rosters to maximize their ROI). That's roughly a 2-1 ratio of hi-lo spending clubs. For reference, the ratios for the Big 4 Leagues are - MLB:3.6-1; NBA:2.3-1; NFL:1.45-1; NHL:1.4-1.