If you're stagnant, you will fail to survive...

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by USAsoccer, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    MLS....has that thought occurred?

    MLS has 10 teams. After 7 years, it only has 10 teams!

    2 Staduims. After 7 years. No one else appears to be even close.

    3 Owners. After 7 years, only 3 owners.

    It would appear, that for every step forward, MLS only accomplished the feat of standing still.

    On the positive side, the league has two staduims, a steady fan base, and potentially a better footing.

    However, it just seems to me that this league will never ever get the TV money it will need while staying year after year after year in the same 10 markets. At some point, this league has to expand. At some point, this league has to attract new owners. At some point, this league has to consider whether or not there is a better way?

    Looking at things in a light most favorable to MLS, the stagnant nature of the league could be just the tonic the A League needs in order to reach a stability of its own. Right now the A League is at 18 teams. I could imagine a strong 20 team A League in its own markets.

    But wouldn't it be nice for MLS to be at 18 to 20 teams also. Look, I know that expansion for expansion sake is stupid. Simply take one look at the WNBA if you want to see a league that expanded too far to fast. If not there, look at the NASL...

    However, there are sooooo many markets that are simply not being reached. An entire generation of fans is being lost in places such as Philadphia, Houston, Detriot, and St Louis where absolutely no professional soccer team exist. How frustrating will it be to see baseball go on strike, and not be in a position to take full advanage of there stupidity.

    In Tampa, MLS is a non subject any more. It is probably the same in most non-MLS and A-League towns.

    At some point, MLS must re-consider it's formula. This league is one heart-attack away from extinction. It just seems to me that after 7 years, the present system is inefficeint and ineffective at accomplishing the overall mission. That is one man's humble opinion. Flame away.

    7 years is a long time to wait for expansion.
    7 years is a long time to wait for SSS.
    7 years is a long time to wait for new blood.
  2. Soccerdude redded

    Oct 14, 1999
    Don.t rush the league,other wise you end up like NASL. I would be happy with 10 teams then with no teams.In a country like ours, where they hate soccer for no good reason,I am just happy and looking forward to soccer on Saturdays. Long live MLS.
  3. timmy409

    timmy409 Red Card

    Apr 3, 2002
  4. SoFla Metro

    SoFla Metro Member

    Jul 21, 2000
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Soccerdude and I agree on something.

    Please watch out for locusts on your drive home. :)
  5. Slow and steady is the key here. If they can keep increasing their attendance every year, I like keeping it at 10 for a while. I do agree with you that there are several enticing markets where I think the league would do well(Seattle, Portland, Philly, Houston). But, I like that they aren't rushing things.
  6. Godot22

    Godot22 New Member

    Jul 20, 1999
    Yeah, that,s really wierd.I don,t no what to think about that.
  7. Paul. A

    Paul. A Member

    Mar 16, 1999
    Wales, UK
    I know we have to be patient but we need to at least replace the teams we lost. It sucks losing my team, but I would be a bit happier if we get solid news on 2 new teams in other deserving cities.
  8. Pmoliu

    Pmoliu New Member

    Jun 7, 1999
    Princeton, NJ
    On a bright note, I have heard that this years losses are way down as a result of cutting the Florida teams.

    At least they are trying to run an effective business.

  9. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    Considering most leagues are losing fans and MLS is showing small increases I am not worried.
  10. Brownswan

    Brownswan New Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Let MLS stay at 10 while the A-League expands into markets MLS can't or won't fill. If soccer's popularity can grow, then the USL structure is the best, least expensive way to serve that growth. Also, better players will filter into the lower leagues, since the 10 MLS sides can absorb a finite amount of talent -- more than now if the reserve sides kick in, but still too few to cope with emerging talent.

    The USL seems to be attracting new stadiums built on realistic attendance projections, especially in the midwest and plains states.

    If I live in Charleston and have the Battery in town, do I need or want an MLS team? Certainly not. If an area will ONLY support MLS, then I'd question whether that area is ready for pro soccer, period.
  11. Thunderpac

    Thunderpac Member

    Feb 16, 2000
    NE Minneapolis
    USASoccer, how long have you been following MLS? In 7 years, a lot of things have changed. In pro sports, 7 years is not a long time. The Minnesota Twins and Vikings have each been bickering about getting new stadiums built for at least that long, yet they are both still playing in the Metrodome. It takes far more than 7 years to establish a league in this country. Look at the struggles of the WNBA, XFL and AFL for comparison.
  12. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    Not trying to be a jag-off here, but... I can only think of the Des Moines stadium off the top of my head. Are there others? Or are you including Milwaukee and Minnesota, which are not exactly new, but modifications of older complexes (IIRC).

    And on the other hand, Rochester and Pittsburgh are having a damn hard time getting it done.

    I agree with your basic point, though, that the A-League and USL in general can be a good way to develop followings at the local level.
  13. USAsoccer

    USAsoccer Member

    Jul 15, 1999
    Tampa, Florida
    With all due respect to my fellow Business and Media posters...

    There is no bigger fan of MLS than I.

    But I beleive that all the things I wrote are accurate. Is the cup half full or empty?

    MLS has a very fine line it must tread. If it stays too stagnant for too long, then we are going to lose progress.

    How many potential soccer fans in St. Louis are being lost simply because that city does not have a pro soccer team to speak of? Same for Philly and Houston and for that matter, Detriot.

    All I am saying is that at some point, MLS has to ask itself whether its ownership structure is the best type to move this league forward.

    If you wake up tomorrow to a headline that read that Phil Anshulz is dead....what will MLS do?
  14. QPR Kevin H

    QPR Kevin H BigSoccer Supporter

    May 23, 2001
    Silver Spring, MD
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Ireland Republic
    And if you tolerate this, then your children will be next ;)
  15. FlashMan

    FlashMan Member

    Jan 6, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If your basic premise is the league needs new investors and to expand into (at least) two new markets, then you are absolutely correct IMHO. I think MLS knows this and this is why it looks (apparently) seriously into places like Oklahoma City. It's desperate to re-expand and get new money/blood/vision into the league.

    I think it definitely needs to do this by 2006, the end of the time of the recent 5-year commitment made by the league investors.
  16. Enforcer

    Enforcer New Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    The Quiet Side
    Hampton Roads Mariners have their own stadium.


    Charleston Battery's Stadium:


    There might be others but these are two that came to mind.
  17. Enforcer

    Enforcer New Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    The Quiet Side
    Ahhh ... St. Louis ... where pro soccer teams go to die.

    St Louis Steamers
    St Louis Ambush
    St Louis Knights

    etc ...

    Maybe St Louis University should field a pro team ... They have the talent.
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    The key word in Brownswan's original post was "new." Blackbaud's been around for a few years, and HR's is at least 4 years old (it was to be the site of the US Open Cup Final in 1998, but a hurricane had other ideas) -- though I had forgotten about HR for the purposes of this discussion because they almost folded, and because when I saw their field on TV earlier this season, it looked like a tractor-pull had just been completed (it was actually a rugby tournament). My point was that, for every new stadium that a USL team got built, there's an A-League team stuck in a substandard facility with little movement toward anything better.
  19. dcc134

    dcc134 Member+

    Liverpool FC
    May 15, 2000
    Hummelstown, PA
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Everything in the original post is correct, but it really comes down to a matter of time frame. Does it really matter if we have 16 teams in 2004, if we end up with 0 teams in 2020? MLS seems to be making progress towards profitability, and with the LA stadium ready for next year, that day is growing closer.

    MLS is looking to expand with new stadiums and new ownership, but to expand without that in place is a big mistake. However, the closer they get to being profitable, the more attractive they become to potential investors, and potential cities who are going to be much more willing to invest in something is has a long term future.

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