Ideas for MLS League Design [Superthread] IV

Discussion in 'MLS: Expansion' started by Sport Billy, May 27, 2014.

  1. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Why purchase USL? Seriously? It's taken MLS nearly 30 years to get to 30 teams across the nation and Canada. Building out a second division from scratch would cost too much. Purchasing USL not only would cost far less, but is also turnkey. USL already meats the PLS D2 requirements, as well as the PLS D3 requirements. There are quite a few USL teams who have infrastructure in place and/or are planning to build. MLS could then fold USL League One/Two into Next Pro which would immediately build out the lower divisions.

    As far as revenue sharing, yes MLS would receive the largest portion, likely in that 60-65% range. USL would then get 20-25%, and Next Pro whatever is left.

    As far as the women's game. Why should we separate the professional leagues? Having the ability to share resources and knowledge, as well as facilities would lift the women's game to new heights as well as provide it the sustained long term stability and viability it's never had. It's works in Australia with the NRL/NWRL and the A League/W A-League.
    RalleeMonkey repped this.
  2. Renzi

    Renzi Member

    United States
    Aug 4, 2019
    I don't think MLS has ever lacked clubs who could join. The missing piece is always an owner willing to pay the Expansion Fee. I don't see how MLS lets in a bunch of USL clubs (or worse, pays for them), and then allows them to be promoted to MLS1 at the expense of a team whose owner has paid a $100m+ expansion fee. The only way this works is if they find a bunch of new owners all with $100m+ to spend on an expansion fee for a second division club (never going to happen), OR the MLS goes to its owners, asks for more capital, buys out a full second division, and then allocates operatorship of those second division clubs to a first division owner.

    But why would the owners have any interest in this? It doesn't bring any new money into the pot. Adding more teams dilutes the value (and monopoly) current MLS clubs have on top division soccer. They don't want to do that unless someone I going to pay them to do it, and the going rate is now ... $500m.
    Cavan9 repped this.
  3. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've been out of this thread for a while, but I wanted to point out that the TV partner would demand 50% of their money back if not canceling their contract immediately if you suddenly designate half of your teams as minor league.

    While we hardcore soccer fans get the difference between a division 1 and division 2, no North American (American, Canadian or Mexican based on the state of the Ascenso/Expansion) outside of the few people who post about it on various internet sites know or care. They only know major league and minor league. That includes TV executives such as Eddy Cue of Apple, Inc.

    They also know media markets and they are very uninterested in the LA Galaxy or Inter Miami being relegated after a bad on-field season and being replaced by a team from Chattanooga or Erie. They are both nice towns but they are not major league media markets.

    When a TV network/streamer buys the right to broadcast a product, it does so assuming that the content of that product will not change from the date of when the contract was inaugurated. If the content changes, the changes should either be immaterial or add value to the product. Designating half of your product as minor league or replacing top-10 or a top-30 media market with a non-top-10/30 market would be altering the terms of the contract such that the product loses value. Apple, Inc. or any other TV broadcaster would try to terminate the contract and/or sue.

    At the bottom of it all, you can have all the pro-rel talk you want but until you can come up with a way where the TV broadcaster would still be satisfied 1) if you unilaterally destroy the value of your teams because of a single bad on-field season and 2) after a team in a top-10 media market gets relegated after a single bad season and replaced with a team from a city that is outside the top 10 markets, you're just whistling past the graveyard.
    Doogh repped this.
  4. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    I think it's pretty obvious that the media partner would be brought along with this. Nothing would be done as a surprise to an existing partner.

    Otherwise, put another team in Chicago. Seems like the odds of 2 teams in the same market going down are low. Would they be concerned if Houston went down? I guess.
  5. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First, what TV partner would agree to such an arrangement? Apple, Inc. signed a contract that I doubt they want to change materially. Why would they ever agree to such a destruction of value, regardless of whether they are kept in the loop? They would either terminate the contract and/or sue. If you're lucky, they'd just ask for dramatic cash concessions.

    Next, what kind of owner would want to own Chicago 2 just to be a buffer against the possibility of Chicago 1 being relegated? Good luck finding someone to pay all the costs to start up just to be a designated back-up plan in a market that already has a team.

    While we are on the topic, wouldn't the TV partner prefer two major league teams in the #3 media market rather than a major league and minor league team?


    TV networks want predictable presences in the top 10 and top 30 media markets. They don't care about pro/rel or any other competition structure. They care that they have enough content for the price they paid and they care that it gets to enough eyeballs in the top media markets.
  6. RalleeMonkey

    RalleeMonkey Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    Uh, the owner, like any owner of a soccer team in any other league, wouldn't be thinking .... ok, we're the backup plan.
  7. SteveUSSF_ref8

    SteveUSSF_ref8 Member+

    United States
    Oct 25, 2010
    Sun City, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't understand all the talk about relegation in MLS. With the millions of dollars invested in MLS clubs and infastructure by the various ownership groups it just will never happen. What you see is what you get. A first division without relegation and a MLS owned third divison, designed strictly for development of younger players to advance the first teams or sold on the open FIFA market. It won't change ever. But I guess it's nice to have a dream. So, I guess just dream-on.
    AZUL GALAXY, jaykoz3 and Paul Berry repped this.
  8. SteveUSSF_ref8

    SteveUSSF_ref8 Member+

    United States
    Oct 25, 2010
    Sun City, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I actually have to agree with you on three conferences with ten clubs per conference. This may very well be the future of MLS by the time San Diego begins play in 2025. It is also very possible they expand the season to 38 matches provided that MLS drop out of the U.S. Open Cup, which is also very possible if you listen to the current tone for the "Soccer Don". And all the MLS Clubs wouldn't mind either, especially with the beginning of the new Leagues Cup. Even if they stay with two conferences with 15 clubs each, I can imagine they expand the season to 36 matches to allow for more inter-conference play, that being 28 matches within the conference and 8 matches outside the conference, allowing for everyone to play eachother every two years.
  9. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

    Club: Venezia F.C.
    May 26, 2006
    chico, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  10. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If MLS stays out at 30 teams, the next frontier in expansion with be the expansion, development, and stabilization of USL (or eventually MLS2-3).

    Southwestern 1:
    1. Las Vegas Lights
    2. Phoenix Rising
    3. Sacramento Republic
    4. El Paso Locomotive
    5. Rio Grande Valley Toros
    6. New Mexico United FC
    7. San Antonio FC
    8. Orange County SC
    9. Oakland Roots FC
    10. Monterey Bay FC
    Southwestern 2:
    1. Central Valley Fuego FC
    2. Waco, TX +
    3. Christi, TX +
    4. Fort Worth, TX +
    5. Laredo, TX +
    6. Riverside, CA +
    7 Santa Barbara, CA +
    8. San Fernando Valley, CA +
    9. Reno, NV +
    10. Tucson, AZ +

    Midwestern 1:
    1. Detroit City FC
    2. Indy Eleven FC
    3. Louisville City FC
    4. Milwaukee USL
    5. Iowa USL
    6. Oklahoma City Energy FC
    7. Memphis 901 SC
    8. Colorado Springs Switchbacks
    9. FC Tulsa
    10. Arkansas USL
    Midwestern 2:
    1. Forward Madison FC
    2. Northern Colorado Hailstorm
    3. Union Omaha
    4. Spokane Velocity FC
    5. Lexington SC
    6. Chicago-Bridgeview, IL +
    7. Boise, ID +
    8. Grand Rapids, MI +
    9. Wichita, KS +
    10. Billings, MT +

    North 1:
    1. Hartford Athletic FC
    2. Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC
    3. Rhode Island USL
    4. Richmond Kickers FC
    5. Cleveland, OH +
    6. Baltimore, MD +
    7. Rochester, NY +
    8. Brooklyn, NY +
    9. Boston, MA +
    10. Virginia Beach, VA +
    North 2:
    1. Syracuse, NY +
    2. Buffalo, NY +
    3. Atlantic City, NJ +
    4. Lehigh Valley, PA +
    5. Dayton, OH +
    6. Long Island, NY +
    7. Huntington, WV +
    8. Burlington, VT +
    9. Portland, ME +
    10. Manchester, NH +

    South 1:
    1. Birmingham Legion FC
    2. Tampa Bay Rowdies FC
    3. Fort Lauderdale Strikers FC (Miami FC)
    4. Charleston Battery FC
    5. Greenville Triumph SC
    6. Chattanooga Red Wolves FC
    7. North Carolina FC
    8. South Georgia Tormenta FC
    9. Jacksonville, FL +
    10. New Orleans, LA +
    South 2:
    1. One Knoxville SC
    2. Carolina Core FC
    3. Huntsville City FC
    4. Savannah Clovers FC
    5. Bradenton-Sarasota, FL +
    6. Pensacola, FL +
    7. Gwinnett County, GA +
    8. Cobb County, GA +
    9. Jackson, MS +
    10. Asheville, NC +
  11. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How much would NuRock want for USL do you think?

    There was a Detroit City FC fan in The Guardian comments section proclaiming that USL was a real soccer league compared to MLS.

    How do you come to that conclusion when MLS is owned by the teams' owners, while USL is owned by a for-profit real estate company?
  12. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think we have no reason to believe that the lower leagues in US soccer won’t change…

    If MLS decides to stay at 30, at least for now, there’s going to be a demand to come into the league somehow, especially with Messi, Apple TV, World Cup, Leagues Cup, etc. to peak interest. Heck, even with Saudi Arabia and other non-European leagues buying players away from the traditional leagues perhaps changes the mentality of players to consider a move away from Europe too. Point being, there’s a door open for the opportunity to become a big league; we just have to walk through it.

    If we were honest, I suspect we’re going to see a lot of change in MLS over the coming years under this new era that I think we can finally mark as the beginning of MLS3.0 (MLS2.0 defined as the Beckham/DP era).

    It makes sense for USL to sell, partner with, negotiate, etc. with MLS for their own benefit, and it makes sense for MLS to maybe lower the bar to get under the umbrella by coming in under this second division scheme.

    It also makes sense for MLS owners to want to move from mediocrity to prime time. And, it’s not like most of these owners lack the purse strings to do so. They just need to have the will and the confidence to take the risk and pursue this chase. To do so, it makes sense for MLS to want to continue to receive these expansion fees, even if it comes at a lower level. We just have to make sure the quality of that product is still a professional product.

    Ultimately, what’s going to make MLS more money and what’s going to grow the game in this country? I have to think that putting a team in as many major markets as possible is going to be what they want, so long as they can continue to create demand around doing so.

    Furthermore, as blasphemous as it sounds, because I’ve been around the anti-promotion/relegation crowd long enough to have heard every reason that’s a bad idea, while at the same time, I’m starting to see where that could be on the horizon in a decade or so (maybe that will mark the transition point from MLS3.0 to MLS4.0).

    Simply put, if we build out the lower league(s) similar to how we built out MLS, slow and steady, with the right ownership groups, right stadiums, right TV deals, right academies, etc. Where everything is in place where the lower level clubs could be considered legitimate for the first division, then, and only then, I think there is going to increasingly be more pressure to open up promotion and relegation, and I’m going to bet on, surprise to some, the pressure will even come from the ownership groups themselves.
  13. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One of the ways that you could make a demand for lower league expansion is through Leagues Cup participation.

    Case in point, there were 47 teams this tournament, with 15 groups of 3 teams, and 2 byes. Add that San Diego will take a spot in the future so that’s 48 teams.

    If we made this 16 groups of 4 teams, that’s 64 teams…opening 16 slots.

    You have two ways to fill out those 16 slots.

    The first way is to give them to the CPL. Do we even want to do that? Personally, I don’t. But I see the argument.

    Now, if we don’t take the CPL teams, that’s an easy 8 best teams from the west, 8 best teams from the east, and all do a sudden, that tournament is much, much more balanced.
  14. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #739 Eleven Bravo, Aug 20, 2023
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2023

    West 1:
    Los Angeles FC
    San Diego
    Las Vegas Lights ^

    West 2:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Portland Timbers
    Tigres UANL
    Phoenix Rising ^

    West 3:
    Seattle Sounders
    Real Salt Lake
    Orange County SC ^

    West 4:
    LA Galaxy
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    Club Leon
    Sacramento Republic ^

    Central 1
    Columbus Crew
    Saint Louis City SC
    Club America
    Detroit City ^

    Central 2
    Minnesota United
    Chicago Fire
    Indy Eleven ^

    Central 3
    FC Cincinnati
    Sporting Kansas City
    Louisville City SC ^

    Central 4
    Nashville SC
    Colorado Rapids
    Milwaukee ^

    South 1
    Tampa Bay Rowdies ^

    South 2
    Santos Laguna
    Houston Dynamo
    Orlando City SC
    Charleston Battery ^

    South 3
    Cruz Azul
    Inter Miami
    Atlanta United
    Birmingham Legion FC ^

    South 4
    Charlotte FC
    FC Dallas
    Greenville Triumph SC ^

    East 1
    Philadelphia Union
    Cleveland ^

    East 2
    DC United
    Rochester ^

    East 3
    New York City FC
    Toronto FC
    Pittsburgh Riverhounds ^

    East 4
    New York Red Bulls
    New England Revolution
    Atletico San Luis
    Hartford Athletic ^

    ….Simply put, this actually makes more sense than less sense to do so. I don’t think they’ll do it if Garber doesn’t have some control over the lower leagues. But it does create an opportunity and it does create a demand for it.

    And, what I could see is the creation of 16 team MLS2…. With the demand of Leagues Cup participation in order to entice potential owners to buy in for this vision.
  15. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #740 Eleven Bravo, Aug 20, 2023
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2023
    If I thought about the 16 best markets for MLS2… In my opinion….

    1. Las Vegas
    2. Phoenix
    3. Detroit
    4. Indianapolis
    5. Sacramento
    6. Louisville
    7. Tampa Bay
    8. Birmingham
    9. San Antonio
    10. Cleveland
    11. Pittsburgh
    12. Oklahoma City
    13. Rochester
    14. LA / Orange County
    15. Milwaukee
    16. Albuquerque

    …and there are still some decent alternatives, Charleston, Greenville (please), Jacksonville, New Orleans, Providence, Hartford, Baltimore, Des Moines, Rio Grande Valley, Omaha, Chattanooga, El Paso, Raleigh, Richmond, Boise, Wichita, Boston, Brooklyn / NY3, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago-Bridgeview, another LA metro, Atlanta-Gwinnett-or-Cobb County, etc.

    Main thing I would argue is that each of these have to have the ability to enter MLS, and at least, be on the level of Colorado Rapids, San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, etc. In other words, they don’t have to spend like Inter Miami or have a big buy in like Charlotte or San Diego, but they’ve got to at least be able to enter the first division and not look lost.

    That means they need to have all the right TV deals and TV crews, not playing on baseball fields or shanty high school stadiums, actually have academies and a vision for the future, willingness to spend on competitive players, and something to offer.
  16. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think I'd pick Buffalo over Rochester. Rochester has a stadium but Buffalo seems to be at the start an upswing. It's also got some sort of rivalry with Pittsburgh.
    Eleven Bravo repped this.
  17. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS WEST 1
    1. Los Angeles FC
    2. LA Galaxy
    3. San Diego
    4. Portland Timbers
    5. Seattle Sounders
    6. Vancouver Whitecaps
    7. Colorado Rapids
    8. Real Salt Lake
    9. FC Dallas
    10. Austin FC
    11. Houston Dynamo
    12. Sporting Kansas City
    13. Saint Louis City FC
    14. Chicago Fire SC
    15. Minnesota United
    MLS WEST 2
    1. Las Vegas
    2. Phoenix
    3. Sacramento
    4. LA / Orange County
    5. San Antonio
    6. Oklahoma City
    7. Albuquerque
    8. Milwaukee
    9. El Paso
    10. Rio Grande Valley
    11. Des Moines
    12. New Orleans
    13. Wichita
    14. Boise
    15. Omaha

    MLS EAST 1
    1. Atlanta United
    2. Charlotte FC
    3. Nashville SC
    4. Inter Miami CF
    5. Orlando City SC
    6. Philadelphia Union
    7. New England Revolution
    8. New York City FC
    9. New York Res Bulls
    11. DC United
    12. Toronto FC
    13. CF Montreal
    14. Columbus Crew
    15. FC Cincinnati
    MLS EAST 2
    1. Tampa Bay
    2. Detroit
    3. Indianapolis
    4. Louisville
    5. Birmingham
    6. Cleveland
    7. Rochester
    8. Pittsburgh
    9. Baltimore
    10. Jacksonville
    11. Raleigh
    12. Hartford
    13. Greenville
    14. Chattanooga
    15. Richmond
  18. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Boise and Des Moines? We'd have to call it something other than "Major".
    Cavan9 and jaykoz3 repped this.

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