(Merged) Opinion columns on summer friendlies.

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by Defenestration, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. glav

    glav New Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Au contraire, friendlies are all ABOUT marketing bullcrap. The entire point is to make money and showcase the sport as well as the clubs involved.
     
  2. rocketeer22

    rocketeer22 Member+

    Apr 11, 2000
    Oakton,VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Considering the investors in MLS typically invest in the SUM umbrella, then I think this is going to stay. In fact, SUM is one of the representatives of FCB, so the FCB-ManU game is going to be a profitable one even without an MLS team inolved.

    Philosophically, would you only support non-MLS marquee matches to be played during the MLS season? Because you know these would still happen. In this case, for good or bad, at least MLS teams get on the radar to a broader spectrum. (Wasn't there a lawsuit out of NY a couple of years ago about a competing "tournament" that then went bankrupt?)

    I think, however, I would feel better if some of the proceeds went to increasing the payout of the US Open Cup or supporting US Soccer's development academies. Perhpas that only happens if SUM picks-up the US Open Cup due to legal and business considerations, etc.

    Even if these games did not exist, I think MLS fans would still be concerned about the depth of roster issues. I think SUM/MLS needs to reconsider the cadre of properties it has in SuperLiga, Interliga, and Concacaf Champions League. Something is always going to suffer.

    At least there is only 1 new MLS team entering the league next year. I imagine existing teams will only have to give up one player and so existing depth should not change.

    I apologize for the segue, but considering the business side of soccer in America, there a lot of moving parts.

    P.S. About 30% of the WFC occurrs in non-MLS markets.
     
  3. William Penn

    William Penn Member+

    Jul 2, 2010
    Bethlehem
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Well, a lot of the crowd may not even be from the area. For example, if Man U plays in NYC, expect a ton of people to make the drive from Boston, Philly and DC to catch the game. But yeah, a lot of people who aren't avid soccer fans will simply root for the visiting super-club. It's very easy to hop on the bandwagon of a winning side, and it's not restricted to Asia and North America, you see plenty of it in Europe.

    However, I think this is only true for the super-clubs. I attended the Philadelphia Union-Everton game and I'd say 95% of the crowd was for the Union, and most of the Everton fans were actually English and not glory-hunters.
     
  4. JBohland

    JBohland New Member

    Feb 6, 1999
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    When MLS teams play mid to lower level EPL teams (and Celtic and Rangers), the games are very competitive. The Newcastles, Evertons, and West Broms of the world don't have anywhere near the depth on their rosters as Man Utd and Real Madrid do. This means when MLS teams field 1/2 strength sides versus EPL reserves, the gap in quality is not nearly as great. The problem is, of course, these teams are not nearly as popular as the big boys and don't make the $ for SUM.
     
  5. EmpedoxFCB

    EmpedoxFCB Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    New Jersey
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    As long as Eurosnobs like myself are still around, the friendlies will keep on coming.

    On the other hand, as long as MLS fans like myself are still around, we know these friendlies are meaningless and not fully indicative of a league dubbed 'mickey mouse' by the haters.
     
  6. billf

    billf Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    These types of friendlies will happen no matter what. The complaint before MLS teams got involved was that MLS was ignored. The way I see this is that the matches aren't very good and the timing sucks for MLS teams, but at least MLS now profits from them.
     
  7. Felixx219

    Felixx219 BigSoccer Supporter

    Nov 8, 2004
    Kansas City, MO
    Club:
    Kansas City Wizards
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I think each MLS club should be limited to 1 friendly during this span. That gives the fans a chance to see a different team each year, it gives the owners and league a chance to earn some extra cash, and the foreign clubs a chance to expose themselves to a different market each year.
     
  8. Flex Buffchest

    Jan 25, 2010
    Orange County, California
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I'll never pay to see any of these friendlies. I could really care less about them. I didn't go to the RM vs. LA game and the Man City game was part of my season tickets, so I did go to that. Couldn't help but pay for that in advance. I had no choice. This was the lowest attendance, it seemed, for the friendlies in LA. The RM vs. LA game had quite a bit of empty seats and the Man City wasn't completely full either. Not sure of Man City just isn't the draw that the other clubs are, but either way, I can see some of these friendlies start to become the norm for people in the future and care less and less about them. I already do.
     
  9. Flex Buffchest

    Jan 25, 2010
    Orange County, California
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Yeah, but they went from playing not one single MLS team to playing a handful of MLS multiple times and congesting the MLS regular season. I think people are just asking for a little bit of balance. Like someone else above said, the teams that want to play friendlies each get one a year and that will satisfy the fans and both teams involved.
     
  10. blank25

    blank25 Member

    May 18, 2002
    bergen county
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    This is still a young league. It needs the money and the exposure. In 5 to 10 years when the league is stronger financially then these games should be eliminated. Tthe league should then take a short 2 week summer break due to weather.
     
  11. MLS Wandering Fan

    Jun 5, 2008
    Michigan
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I advocated on another thread that the league should take a two week break each summer to allow for these friendlies and I will continue to promote that thought as others on this thread have done. League brass makes too much money from these friendlies so I do not seeing them going away neither will we switch to a fall-spring season which would make the friendlies fit in nicely so the only real solution is to stop league play for two weeks and allow them all to be placed in that time frame. More clubs could then participate in the friendlies if they are not forced to make tough decisions about whether or not to play certain players with an upcoming critical league match. The only drawback I could see would be in a world cup year where we already take two weeks off during the group stage. With a world cup break and a friendly break the season would be forced to run from late February (approximately) until mid-December (approximately).
     
  12. BSGuy321

    BSGuy321 Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Break needed. One Month long.
     
  13. billf

    billf Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    It's not really a break if teams are playing meaningless friendlies instead. It also isn't much of a break if the end result is a month of two game weeks to make up for the lost month so the season can end in the window MLS wants the season to last.
     
  14. MPNumber9

    MPNumber9 Member+

    Oct 10, 2010
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I'm very much anti-break of any kind. I also don't think anyone would complain about the friendlies if we were winning them.
     
  15. TrueCrew

    TrueCrew Member+

    Dec 22, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    IF we are going to do the break thing, then MANY more midweek games will be needed. Not just the odd mid-week here and there, but full league-wide slates.

    Summer-soccer, in and of itself, is demeaning to the game. Too hot to get a good product in many places in this country.
     
  16. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    or the too-long off-season could be shortened.

    agreed.

    hot summer weather and summer international friendlies with unlimited subs are a perfect match (in that each "demeans" the game/product in some sense on their own).

    the issue is that MLS is also playing "meaningful" league matches concurrently (when in an ideal world, MLS could/should also and only be playing "off-season" or even "pre-season" meaningless exhibitions in these hottest weeks of July/August).



    eventually, (and I'm talking in 10 or 20 years or whenever, so if you don't want to consider those distant dates, then stop reading here) if MLS really is considering a mid-season break as a regular thing (see 2010), then it might be worth their while to have a short "off-season" in July to early-Aug, and have a longer mid-season break (during the coldest weeks of the year).

    whatever the league decides going forward, they're very likely going to shorten their total window of "off-season" dates. they'll want to play as many matches as possible. and summer international friendlies do make a lot of business sense. and they'll likely eventually make even better business sense for MLS/SUM if/when MLS teams aren't playing competitive regular season matches in the dead of summer.
     
  17. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    Farewell Sweet Prince
    Jan 9, 2004
    Gentrification's Edge.
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I know the Portland fan above was complaining about four friendlies but last year 3 was perfect. We got to test the reserves against Celtic and CD Guadalajara, and had our big money game against Man U. Didn't go to man U but the xeltic and chivas games were both a lot of fun
     
  18. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    Why should I have to sit through a month break of watching the Rapids because some teams want to play friendlies? If they want to schedule them, they can deal with it.
     
  19. Boloni86

    Boloni86 Member+

    Jun 7, 2000
    Baltimore
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Gibraltar
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    10 years from now those games will still be friendlies. A friendly between two evenly matched teams is not particularly more competitive than a game between two unevenly matched teams. The game cannot be competitive when there are no stakes, the best players get subbed out after 30 minutes and players care more about not getting a knock than making a play.

    If the MLS fanbase is stronger in 10 years it will also have a higher soccer IQ, and they won't be as easily tempted by meaningless fluff games. The TV ratings won't go up either. Why would someone go out of their way to watch a Real Madrid friendly when you can already find real Real Madrid games on TV from their real season? The way I see it if Real Madrid comes every summer for 5+ games in the US for the next 10 years the novelty will wear off.

    Right now we are living in an era where tons of Eurosnob types across the US have never seen a club like Real Madrid live and are willing to drive 300 miles for the chance. I'm not sure how many people will do it year after year after year.
     
  20. Asprilla9

    Asprilla9 Member

    Dec 15, 2000
    Beaverton, OR
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    REP given. Very well stated.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the soccer IQ part. The bottom line is these are friendlies. They are not worth paying top dollar. As the US soccer fanbase get more sophisticated about the game they will realize that. As a Timbers STH holder, I had free tickets to the Timbers friendly with Man City last year. I didn't go. And my honest reaction was, "I wouldn't walk across the street to see City play (in a friendly)." As a Liverpool supporter, I'd pay money to see Liverpool play in a friendly in my region, but that's about it. I wouldn't dare pay money to faun over Man Utd or Chelsea ... or West Brom or Everton. It's useless IMHO.

    The only friendly I can see paying money for is if Barcelona somehow came to town (just so I could say I saw one of the greatest players and teams of all time). Short of that I think this stuff is just a way for SUM to exploit more money out of a fairly tapped out fan base (MLS STHs, maybe not EuroSnobs).


    The only reason I post my opinion here is that I think there is a strong chance that this will be the majority opinion in the next few years. Now, if City came to town to face PTFC in some sort of international club cup away leg (where MCFC would be playing to win) .... I'd be first in line. But shell out my hard-earned dollars to watch the City starters/reserves kick the ball about in a useless friendly? No way. I see those guys enough on TV, I don't need to pay to watch them stand around or stretch in person.
     
  21. Evonnida

    Evonnida New Member

    Jun 27, 2010
    St. Louis
    Club:
    St. Louis Lions
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    It does suck that they're in the middle of the season, however, I have gone from being almost exclusively a WC and EPL fan to watching much more MLS lately.
     
  22. billycanuck

    billycanuck New Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Goal.com - Major League Soccer's summer sideshow problem

    http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/1110.../major-league-soccers-summer-sideshow-problem
    Just wondering what everyone's response to this article is?

    I think, for the most part, that he is correct. I could do without the MLS vs International friendlies during mid-season. If the league wants to have those clubs come over here, then let them play each other, BUT let them play in MLS stadiums. Have Man U or FCB or Real play the MLS All-stars.

    More importance needs to be put on domestic cups, CCL, and of course the league.
     
  23. EmpedoxFCB

    EmpedoxFCB Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    New Jersey
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I watch every Barcelona friendly that's in the New York area.

    Does that mean my soccer IQ is low?
     
  24. mntiburon

    mntiburon Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Fairfax County, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I support summer friendlies 100%.....as long as it's two Euro/Latin America teams facing each other.

    The Man United-Barcelona match being played in DC this weekend is a perfect example. For my money I'd much rather watch two top clubs face each other, even if it is a meaningless friendly. I understand why MLS partakes, but I don't think it does anything for the league beyond short-term financial gain.
     
  25. billf

    billf Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gardner: MLS demeans itself with summer 'football' follies

    I have to disagree. That money MLS makes can provide long term benefit. It's an easy way to start taking money off the Eurosnobs.
     

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