My view of the A-League in the near future

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by panicfc, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    After reading of the demise or demotion of a few more teams I'm going to put this over here for the masses.

    The USL needs to re-structure the professional leagues and find a way to make it viable.

    Drop the two leagues (A-league and PSL) and set up one league with seperate conferences. Maybe you keep the "A-League" name, sure why not.

    The problem is the Rochester of the league won't want to stoop so low, but without the stoop they could be left without anyone to play. They don't want to water down the league, but they just finished a season with Indiana, Cincinnati, Calgary and El Paso barely making it to the finish line.

    Northeast Division
    Western Mass
    Long Island
    New York
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey

    If Connecticut comes in with anything that gives you 10 teams in that region.

    Mid Atlantic
    No Va Royals
    Va Beach

    and you might be able to get Carolina back up, or maybe a strong PDL team could move up.

    Cincy (yeah I know)

    and its getting thin, but maybe St Louis would want in.

    El Paso
    San Diego

    Play inside your division home and away
    Play your conference opponents 6-8 games and you have something.

    That might make the league viable and with the opportunity for teams to have some stability.

    The league needs some national sponsors, and to date we have seen nothing of the sort. that's a different thread, but something that needs to be addressed.

    The league's marketing efforts are poor at best, they have no presence other than FSW and so much more needs to be done, but this is a start in the right direction.

    If they want to, pm me and I'll send you the address for the check for saving the league.

    Wish Kenn Tommash was here for this one.
  2. Sevin

    Sevin Member

    May 24, 2001
    As you mentioned in another post, some people are against watering down the league. Look at the top leagues in Europe. Relatively speaking, do you think they'll be any more distance in the level of play between Montreal, Milwaukee or Charleston and the bottom teams in the PSL as there is between Man U or Arsenal and the bottom teams in the Premier League?
  3. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Honestly - no.

    The gap is probably much smaller and will get even tighter as time goes by. Remember Wilmington beat Dallas, of course they are the best team in the league - but who's to say the others won't step up as well.
  4. WLU_Mike

    WLU_Mike New Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    I couldn't agree more, panicfc. The league needs more media coverage and more sponsors. Even if the local media in each city provided regional TV coverage with national coverage remaining on FSW, that'd be sufficient enough for me. It'd be great to see our local A-League clubs on TV regularly in each city, especially as MLS only represents 10 North American cities. And it wouldn't hurt if FSW showed more than one match per week, even if only one was shown live.
  5. The Voice of Reason!

    Jan 6, 2002
    Wethersfield CT
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I am not super keen on breaking apart A-league

    I think its pretty close to being stable. and the teams that are having trouble should drop down a level. I agree that all the traveling is bad for teams without the money. and this is a freekin huge country, but after loosing Cinci the league is stronger. after loosing pitt the league is stronger. the average attendance will rise again next year, and there will be 1 new team every couple of years that "makes it" Orlando Ajax might be that team in 05, who knows. Add Willmington, or DesMoins in the near future. The A-league is definately not falling apart. it appears they are just stabalising after all the big changes a few years back. give it a little time. if by 2007 things are not looking stable, and healthy, call me and i will hop on your band wagon. I would rather meet you at a Hartford A-league game in front of 7-10,000 people at Duncan Doughnut field.

  6. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't think its stable my friend in Donuts.

    Back in 1997 we were at 30 teams, a couple of years later 17, then we jumped up to 20 this year - but lost 3-5 teams.

    One of the biggest problems facing these teams is travel costs, so by creating regional divisions and conferences - staying in them for all games. We should cut the costs of operating a team.

    If the league - with its new 40 team pro league, does its job, and may I say a job they have never done, gets some league sponsorships. Sponsorships that either save the clubs money or a thought, put money in the clubs pockets.

    Right now, if you called up the offices and said "I have $350,000 for an A-league franchise", within a couple of days you would be in business" - you would have to find a way to be successful. The league reps probably won't help you much, and they certainly can't help you raise sponsorships, sell tickets, or anything like that because they have never done it.

    As for the three teams you mentioned, only Wilmington is a legitimate possibility to move up. Orlando's involvement with Ajax is in name only. No Dutch money will be spent on the team. Des Moines recent actions show they will remain PDL unless forced to move up.
  7. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    More teams isn't better. I'd take a 16 team A-League any day over that 24 team 1997 A-League. In 1997 there were 4 six team divisions. Man there were some low attendances that year.
  8. bright

    bright Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Central District
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The A-League is moving in the right direction. The strong teams are stabilizing and establishing the standard, and the weak teams and dropping down to where they belong. This is a good thing!

    There is no need to go to regional leagues in the US second division. 16-18 teams in the A-League is enough. We don't need another 24-team league, and certainly not a 40-team league that you suggest.

    Your suggestion, however, is great for the US third division, and that is what the PSL is already doing.

    - Paul
  9. kingwho

    kingwho New Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    one thing i feel is that the overall strength of the a-
    league in on the field

    i think all 8 teams in the playoffs had a legitimate chance of winning the final

    has that ever been the case before?

    not that i can remember

    this surely cannot do anything but help the financial end of the league as a whole in the long run

    plus i seem to remember seeing a report that showed 7 teams averaged over 4000 per game for the first time in a-league history (there is a good chance i dreamed this one up!)
  10. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Was it 24 in '97 or 29?

    I thought it ballooned up to 29 at one point.
  11. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    24. It's not that I have a great memory or anything it's just that 1997 is the first year I had access to the internet so I went A-League crazy printing ot the whole schedule and keeping score of all games (complete with attendance). I kept all the info.

    There were 28 teams in 1998, and yes 30 in 1999(which was worse).

    1999 was the year we were blessed with teams like the Sacramento Geckos who lost all 28 of their games, the 9-19 SF. Bay Seals, 3-25 Maryland Mania and the 7-21 Connecticut Wolves.

    I certainly don't want to go back to those days.
  12. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    6 teams averaged over 4000, and Charleston was just 31 per game short of 4000.
  13. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure the PSL can survive at this rate. Look at the drop out rate the past couple of years.

    This is going to be an important year for the USL, and I'm betting the league meetings are a bit exciting.
  14. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I knew it was 30 at one point.

    I think the problems is first year teams jumping up to a national league without the benefit of a regional league to start in.
  15. USRufnex

    USRufnex Red Card

    Tulsa Athletic / Sheffield United
    United States
    Jul 15, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    Good points.

    Emphasizing regional rivalries seems like a really good idea. Rochester, Syracuse, Montreal and Toronto tend to feed off each other. The same can be said of Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

    El Paso's pretty isolated... hmmm... Albuquerque??? Or put an amateur team in Las Cruces?? Or give us A-league teams in Austin or OKC or Tulsa... or just say "uncle"...
  16. WLU_Mike

    WLU_Mike New Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    If an expansion team were to be placed in Buffalo that would create very interesting rivalries with all of the teams you mention here.
  17. propes

    propes New Member

    Jun 22, 1999
    St. Paul, MN, USA
    With Cincinatti and Indian gone, the regional rivalries that need working on are Minnesota and Milwaukee - besides themselves, they have no teams anywhere near them (welcome to El Paso's world).

    Des Moines isn't ready yet (although we've been wanting them to move up for years) - any others?
  18. Finnegan

    Finnegan Member

    Sep 5, 2001
    Portland Oregon
    Count me as one who thinks a smaller A-League with strong, stable clubs all averaging in the 4,000 or more per a game range is the way to go.

    For these teams travel costs are not going to be as big a factor so we can have a diverse schedule while still maintaining a strong league.

    The concern about travels costs are real but are alot more real for the Calgary's of the world than the Minnesotas.

    I think the biggest single and simple thing the A-League could do is get rid of it's name.

    A-League, PDL, PSL what the phuck is this Alphabet soup? None of those names (maybe PDL) describe their level or even what sport they are in.

    It needs to be USL -1st Division, USL- 2nd Division, USL-3rd Division. Simple, to the point and the fans know what product they are watching.
  19. The Voice of Reason!

    Jan 6, 2002
    Wethersfield CT
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I dont think I said it was stable. I certainly didnt mean to. It is stabalizing.

    in just a few years, there will be a couple more strong teams brought up to A-league. and there may be another expansion team like the salty dogs.

    I mention Ajax because it is their intention to make an a-league team. so why wouldnt it be a good one? they have a greast history, and surely would attract fans just with the name.

    I gotta go home I will edit this in a bit
  20. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    I have to agree here.

    Anyone ever use a search engine to search for "A-League soccer"? Impossible, the engine starts searching for a league, any league!

    USL 1st, 2nd, and 3rd makes sense.
  21. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    These numbers courtesy of
    Rk Team G Att Avg.

    1 Rochester Raging Rhinos 14 142,370 10,169
    2 Montreal Impact 14 101,307 7,236
    3 Syracuse Salty Dogs 14 96,385 6,885
    4 Portland Timbers 14 82,193 5,871
    5 Vancouver Whitecaps 14 60,085 4,292
    6 Minnesota Thunder 14 57,411 4,101
    7 Charleston Battery 14 55,572 3,969
    8 Seattle Sounders 14 47,000 3,357
    9 Toronto Lynx 14 37,112 2,651
    10 Indiana Blast 14 34,505 2,465

    11 Richmond Kickers 14 31,816 2,273
    12 Milwaukee Wave United 14 29,186 2,085
    13 Pittsburgh Riverhounds 14 24,959 1,783
    14 Virginia Beach Mariners 14 23,760 1,697
    15 Atlanta Silverbacks 14 16,803 1,200
    16 Calgary Storm 14 14,975 1,070
    17 El Paso Patriots 14 13,801 986
    18 Charlotte Eagles 14 12,679 906
    19 Cincinnati Riverhawks 14 5,272 377

    LEAGUE 266 887,191 3,335

    Thanks Kenn.

    Now looking at those numbers you have to wonder how strong Toronto, Milwaukee, VA Beach, and Atlanta. You also have to look at Seattle's massive stadium and wonder if they can pay rent their long term.

    So we really have 7 strong teams. I don't have the attendance figures for D3 (PSL is a stupid name), but I know in 2002 4 teams finished with more than 2,000 fans. I know Utah, Wilmington and Connecticut would have finished in the Top 10 in attendance in the pro league combined attendance numbers as well.

    The question remains - how to we strengthen the league on the whole, not on the short. We have to find a way to stabilize those teams, and making them fly to all their away games and two games in a weekend are just the obvious things we can correct by having a bigger league with more regional play.
  22. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Can't wait for the edit on this bit.

    Ajax is not investing any money into the team in Orlando. Trust me on this - its more like you wanting to open up a sandwich shop and paying Subway a franchise fee.
  23. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hear! Hear!

    Dumb league names


    Also a dumb name "Mens Premier Soccer League"
  24. Brownswan

    Brownswan New Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Too much sense! From your keyboard to whoever's eyes. Maybe distinct "league" names for the divisions sounds more attractive to certain ears. And if those ears are the team owners', who don't want to be reminded they are in a lower division, it could be difficult to sell the concept.

    I would think A-League owners would take pride in being dubbed USL 1st Division -- in fact all the divisions move up a notch this way, as in England when the EPL kicked in. And it does solidify what seems a scattered architecture of leagues and domains, presenting a more unified image to the public.
  25. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They have this delusional idea that it matters to prospective sponsors. They don't care about the name of the league. What they want is exposures to prime demographics, and the league doesn't do anything to procure this information.

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