Discussion in 'MLS: Expansion' started by Sport Billy, May 27, 2014.
Continued from here
Please keep the discussion to MLS and not other leagues.
The U.S. could probably support a megaleague, similar to the NBA or NHL in that the division of "conferences" would be geographic, and MLB (of old, anyway) where the conferences would not play each other during the course of the regular season.
Two conferences of 16, 30-game balanced schedule. MLS Cup determined between conference winners. CCL spots go to MLS Cup participants and the next highest-points team.
New England Revolution
Red Bull New York
New York City FC
Sporting Kansas City
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Los Angeles Galaxy
San Antonio Scorpions
if they are playing a balanced schedule within the conference, what do you need the divisions for?
Force of habit.
no need for divisions. Just makes it look like you're trying to copy the NBA
I would like to see the league grow to 36 teams and two 18 team tables. Take the top two from each table and do a playoff at the end of the year. 34 games only play teams in your table. Sort of like NL AL before inter-league play. Tried to group teams regionally.
3 New England
4 New York Red Bulls
5 New York Cosmos
6 New York City FC
12 Indy 11
16 Orlando City
17 Tampa Bay Rowdies
5 San Jose
6 C.D. LA
7 La Galaxy
8 San Diego
9 Las Vegas
10 Phoenix FC
11 Salt Lake
14 St. Louis
18 Oklahoma City
Hardest part was trying to figure out East/West for Minn, KC, STL and Chicago. I think this would be great for local rivalries, balance schedule and travel. Also the US Open Cup provides an avenue for teams to play each other from the other conference.
If you really want a 36 team league, wouldn't it make more sense to have two divisions of 18 teams each with promotion/relegation between them?
It seems to be that the investor/owners really wouldn't to divide up T.V./cable money 24 or even 30 ways rather than 36 ways.
Businessmen in the U.S. are never going to accept pro/rel. They don't want their assets to change in value in either direction that rapidly.
The best option if we're going to expand toward or beyond 30 teams would be to have two geographically-divided top-flight leagues.
I think MLS needs to carve out its own way. Get to 24 teams and commit to staying at 24 for a minimum of 10 years. Let the league develop some. Let those teams grab footholds in their communities, get quality stadiums for all 24. Decide if some markets aren't ready/didn't work and prep to move those teams if needed.
One you do that I split the league into 3 conferences (the NHL considered this years ago and it was a great plan which creates better flexibility long term in my opinion).
Align them geographically to save on travel costs. Play everyone in your conference twice (16 games) play everyone in the other conference once (16 games) and play 2 competitive balance games (1st place plays other two first place teams an extra time) to fill out the 34 game schedule.
Create this unique brand (along with a unique postseason that includes a group stage).
It also works for Champions League qualification:
3 conference leaders with most points are in, MLS Cup winner is in, US Open Cup is in....I realize that is 5 spots, if 5 different teams occupy those 5 spots than the Open Cup champ and the conference leader with the least points play a 2 game aggregate for the final spot.
At the same time push for a 5th spot in the Champions League so they don't have to worry about it anymore.
This is a good design concept that would also work well with a 27 team league and a 30 team league. I agree that MLS would be wise to wait 10 years before adding more expansion teams, but that's a decision that probably will have more to do with television/cable national ratings than anything else. MLS could well go up to at least a 27 team league within 10 years and I would be O.K. with that.
Kansas City is southwest of Minneapolis.
I'd stop at 20. One table. It's been great for College Football. It's how it's done around Europe. If you want playoffs talk up the US Open Cup. Make the season longer calendar wise but have a small 3 and a half week stretch around this time of year. Smush the games together in early/mid June and again in late September/October. Start season in February end in early December. Okay every other 2 and a half weeks from February til mid April and the same from November til end of season. Time between games builds anticipation. Match time off with CCL and US Open Cup
Yes, its been great for college football...
Which is of course why they've now instituted a playoff format starting this year. With the expectation that within the next few years it will be expanded. Not that potentially losing the "Belk Bowl" doesn't hurt but seriously, College Football has gotten pretty damned ridiculous in recent times.
Also, March Madness is one of the biggest times of year for many sports fans, also do we need to mention the NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLB playoffs?
Saying, "It's how it's done in Europe" isn't a valid argument.
I know real pro/rel will never work here in the US, but I've always toyed with the idea of a sort of split-level pro-rel structure, where the teams in the "lower" division can still get the TV games (revenue stays the same between the divisions!) and play the "higher" division teams regularly, and also can still win the league title or get CL spots, it would just be harder.
For example, in a 24-team MLS, you could have 12 teams in MLSI and 12 teams in MLSII. Every team plays a balanced schedules (two times) against teams in their division/level, and an additional game against everyone in the other division, for 34 games total. MLS Cup would take the top 8 MLSI teams and the top 4 MLSII teams, the MLSII teams doing a play-in round. The pro/rel part would send the bottom 4 MLSI teams down each year, while the top 8 MLSII teams have a playoff for the opened 4 MLSI spots. (If an MLSII team wins MLS Cup, they get auto-promoted at the expense of the 8th-place MLSII team.) Yes, it's a high turnover rate, but think the majority of MLSII teams should have hope for popping back up to MLSI each year - no-one should wallow in MLSII for too long that way.
The draft would go MLSII non-Cup teams, MLSI non-cup teams, MLS Cup teams. MLSII teams would enter the USOC a round before the MLSI teams. MLSII teams could thus qualify for the CCL by the USOC or MLS Cup, but not by the Supporter's Shield race.
Of course, 24 teams is a nice easy number to work with, it gets much more complicated for anything above that - you would need to set up a faux-conference schedule again. Like, for 27 or 30 teams, you could have an MLSIE/MLSIW/MLSII split (though that'd be 38 games each year), or with 28 teams you split both divisions in half, only playing 2x against your divison-conference foes (33 games).
The schedule isn't the main focus of the idea, though, I just kinda like the thought of mixed-division pro/rel. You get the entertainment of the up&down (and save on scheduling) without sacrificing the single-league facade. And, if you stick to 24 teams (though unlikely) you can eliminate the conference silliness.
In addition to those mentioned, I'd also have Calgary & Winnipeg on the radar.
MLS can get to 24 and NASL stays at 12, then you could have a pro/rel system.
My grasp if how mls is ran is limited, but isn't there Revenue sharing?
Couldn't you view it as one league in two levels and pool cetain areas if revenue (tv contracts etc)?
And I don't know why people say pro/rel won't work in the us. That kind of attitude got us shoot-outs and a count down clock.
Because pro/rel grew organically in other countries. MLS is a closed franchise model. No one is gonna buy in if they could find themselves in division 2 after a bad season.
Also, TV isn't gonna be happy if it exchanges a large market (say San Jose gets relegated) for a small market (say Edmonton earns promotion) and won't want to pay the same price.
It simply does not work here and never will. Its a different sports model.
Promotion/relegation is not needed here.
What we need is MLS (major TV markets), NASL (major markets missed), and USL pro (the smaller markets that are big but not big enough).
As far as punishment for not doing well, not making the play-offs is the consequence. It's not how the rest of the world does it, but American soccer is different than the rest of the world. We have to learn that balance because we can go too rest of the world and the sport isn't going to thrive in America or we can go too traditional America and the soccer purists are not going to like it.
I'm going to say that the NASL and MLS eventually expand to 30 in MLS, 36 in NASL markets and each, divided into three conferences, west, central, east.
LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Sacramento Republic, Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, Phoenix*
FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City, Chicago Fire, Toronto FC, Columbus Crew, Montreal Impact, Minnesota*, St. Louis*, San Antonio Scorpions*
New York Red Bulls, New York City, DC United, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, Charlotte*, Nashville*
San Francisco, Inland Empire, San Diego, Las Vegas, Edmonton, Calgary, Omaha, Albuquerque, Tucson, El
Paso, Los Angeles, Victoria
Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ottawa Fury, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Indy Eleven, Chicago, Birmingham, New Orleans
Jacksonville, Raleigh Railhawks, NY Cosmos, Virginia Cavalry, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Richmond, Charleston, Rochester, Boston
IMO, if the MLS and NASL are both in major markets, then we are headed for a merger 30 to 50 years from now.
I do not want two relatively equal leagues in this country as it causes unnecessary owner rivalries and could hurt the product on the field with too much competition for players.
While unless MLS goes to 50 teams they are gonna miss some significant markets. This becomes more likely to happen with how quickly the league is expanding. Lets think about some big markets that could be left out (or under represented).
#6-SF-Oakland-San Jose may cover the media market but I could see another team closer
Even if you assume MLS adds 9 more teams (32 total) over the next 20-30 years and each of those come from this group you'd still have 10 of the top 36 American markets available. And many more in the top 50.
That is a sizable gap to be filled by another league.
I understand the "Edmonton/San Jose tv deal" example, and it's a good point. But when I look at the places in CA alone I think of how many markets aren't being tapped.
And does anyone really think a team based in SD or SF would be content being part of a second tier team? There's no way. They need to have top flight access.
Mls should model itself after the premier league/championship and stop there ---> get to forty teams and split it into two tables.
Like many, I have followed mls since 96 and can't believe the growth (really since beckham arrived). Watching all the support for the WC this year, I just see mls not just gaining popularity within the US but abroad as well (on field product is getting better and better, and players are sticking around... The leagues is looking good).
For all these reasons we need to start envisioning a full fledged soccer nation, and laying down the proper infrastructure for it.
Until Miami is announced I would place them on your list.
I don't see that as the case.
I've always argued that the US is only operating at 20% capacity. We have over 3 million kids playing soccer in this country which is almost as large as some countries at the World Cup.
The problem has always been access to quality coaching that has prevented us from becoming THE world power. Therefore, i argue that more clubs will only increase the talent pool for everyone.
The main thing is that each club establishes their own academy system instead of relying on the draft. If that happens, I believe we could easily have MLS and NASL having between 30-60 teams in the major markets.