NFL knows US professional rugby union could be a very good deal indeed (MLS mentions/comparisons)

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by SYoshonis, May 14, 2013.

  1. SYoshonis

    SYoshonis Member+

    Jun 8, 2000
    Manistee, Michigan
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/may/11/us-rugby-union-professional-league-nfl

    A couple of things stood out to me in this article: First, "The vision: think big, start big. Robertson and Clements believe that the prudent, slow start made by MLS since its formation in 1996 has doomed soccer to limited growth and appeal in the US." To say that the growth of soccer since 1996 is "limited" is simply not paying attention.

    Second, "They feel that Americans will only embrace a new competition if it is high-grade right from the start and that fans will not have the patience to wait a decade or more for a league to become credible, as was the case with MLS." Weren't these same words uttered at the launch of the WUSA? And how did that "big thinking" work out?

    Anyone who is starting a new league in a niche sport in this country who ignores the MLS model is either stupid or arrogant or both. It is the gold standard for the modern professional league start-up, the ONLY model that has worked in over 100 years of trying to get pro soccer off the ground in the US.
     
  2. Makandal

    Makandal Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Cambridge, MA (USA)
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    Haiti
    Someone forgot to tell Robertson and Clements that
    1) MLS is steadily growing as a league in this country
    2) That virtually all the modern era sports leagues that started big out of the gate in the US no longer exist or are going to be out of business before any real growth.
     
  3. Grumpy in LA

    Grumpy in LA Bringing It Since 1807™

    Sep 10, 2007
    Chicago
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If soccer fans are a niche audience in the US, what are rugby fans? Is there a huge immigrant population of Kiwis longing for local rugby?
     
  4. Bubba1971

    Bubba1971 Member+

    Nov 12, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Know what would be better that pro rugby union?

    Rugby league!

    But to really get Americans to watch they need to tweak it a little. Maybe allow tossing the ball forward? And allow contact off the ball, that would be awesome!

    Of course, if they do that the players should probably wear pads and maybe a helmet. It would also be cool if they put more lines on the field so you could see exactly where the ball is on the field.

    Oh Yeah! Now I'm ready for rugby!
     
  5. lurak

    lurak Member+

    Aug 24, 2007
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Club matches in Rugby Union in large stadiums is not the norm except in maybe South Africa. I watch enough Super 15 and Heineken Cup and other rugby union competitions to think that going into NFL stadiums would be a bad idea from a financial and TV viewing perspective. MLS stadia are perfect for rugby and they already have hosted many rugby matches. If the game grows, then they will be in NFL stadiums.
     
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  6. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 25, 2006
    "The vision: think big, start big. Robertson and Clements believe that the prudent, slow start made by MLS since its formation in 1996 has doomed soccer to limited growth and appeal in the US. They feel that Americans will only embrace a new competition if it is high-grade right from the start and that fans will not have the patience to wait a decade or more for a league to become credible, as was the case with MLS."

    Actually, I think there's some truth to this. The soccer specific stadium was a lifeline, but their smaller capacity limits growth and revenues. They're prefect for the niche MLS is trying to serve, but if MLS really wants to be mentioned in the same breath as world class teams from world class leagues, the current stadiums would need to be expanded and overhauled. Few, if any, world class teams play in 20,000 seat stadiums, after all.

    The problem with "starting big" is that it isn't usually possible to get that kind of fan support that quickly. MLS and NASL teams rattled around with small crowds in bigger stadiums, just as I suspect rugby will.
     
  7. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    And how about we stop play after the ball stops moving, and then add in TV timeouts, and also give the coaches a set number of timeouts each half......
     
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  8. Totoro

    Totoro Member+

    Dec 3, 2009
    Colorado
    Rugby Sevens seems like the best shot at an audience in the US. It's easy to get into. Though I still think football fans would miss the forward pass.
     
  9. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sevens moves fast enough that the lack of forward pass shouldn't be an issue.

    I watch the college 7s when they're on. The quicker pace and quicker matches make it ideal.
     
  10. Bubba1971

    Bubba1971 Member+

    Nov 12, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How much are people going to pay for a 20 minute game?
     
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  11. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    Club:
    --other--
    There is a substantial population that played 'club' in college and drank from the boot every Saturday night during the season.
     
  12. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    Club:
    --other--
    Will US rugby play in accordance with the international calendar? Or will it be second class and play when it thinks it can make money?
     
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  13. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Right. Sevens works for tournaments but not for a league.
     
  14. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Carlin Isles is fun to watch on the 7s tour. But for 7s to take off here, we need more Carlin Isles for the US.

    Sigh. If only our best athletes played rugby!
     
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  15. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    The wannabe US rugby league needs to partner with a wannabe US cricket league - I have no idea if one exists, I just assume it does - and go halfsies on a bunch RCSS of about 12,000 or so seats with a really big pitch. #OnlyHalfJoking #KnowItWontActuallyHappen

    EDIT: might as well have pro lacrosse share that stadium, too!
     
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  16. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Which would be a pretty easy fix.

    Your season comprises of "rounds" and each city hosts a round or two over the course of the season (depending on the number of teams). The "home" team is featured in the last match of the day.
     
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  17. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    seem like a ploy for NFL owners to have there stadiums used outside 8 times a year.
     
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  18. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Nah, IMO the only issue is in-between the correct 20K (some/most are expandable to 25-30K) and the NFL size stadiums.

    If Chicago ever got popular enough then Soldier the team could move to soldier field, but that is not and will not be a problem for the FIRE in the foreseeable future.
     
  19. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    But then your team only gets a couple of home events a year. Your local team would have to make a lot of money on those couple of events. There is only so much revenue you can get out of that small base of fans. I just don't see that as a sustainable model.

    Unless it is a kind of single-entity league and the thing becomes a traveling road show. Or you did Sevens the first year to build interest without requiring teams to put out a lot of money to rent stadiums. But for it to work long term you have to go to a regular league format with a lot more home games. There is a reason why team sports work the best in a head-to-head two teams at a time schedule. Each team gets half their games at home.

    The current Sevens tournaments work because they are supplement to the existing clubs and league schedule. I don't see how they could be the basis of a league.
     
  20. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Initially yes ... mostly because there most likely wouldn't be many teams and that model would probably be the most economical/etc. I mean it isn't like the cost is going to be astronomical at the get go.

    Moving forward I think it'd be kind of like multiple mini-games making up a larger result. Either 2 out of 3 or something. That, or have the home club hosting two clubs at a time and play 3 matches.

    It's all literally off the top of my head ...
     
  21. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    It's possible to get things started I guess.

    Have you been to a Sevens tournament? Teams usually play multiple games on a weekend. It's not like there are just a couple of games. When we had the womens' Sevens World Series here in Houston this winter there were 12 teams who played a total of 34 games in two days. The U.S., "the home team", played six of those with basically the same lineup.
     
  22. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I haven't been in person to a "major" one but I've watched and have several friends that play.
     
  23. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    I clicked through the link in the original article to find out more about this. Right now it is just one exhibition game in the U.S. and one in the U.K. After that the plan is for a small regional league to start. So the "think big, start big" is kind of an interesting description.

     
  24. newtex

    newtex Member+

    May 25, 2005
    Houston
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Ok. I wasn't sure because of the playing best of three matches thing.
     
  25. Caddman

    Caddman Member+

    Aug 18, 1999
    Houston, Texas
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm waiting for a test cricket league myself.
     
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