The All-Encompassing Pro/Rel Thread on Soccer in the USA

Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by bigredfutbol, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How so? RichardL was nice enough to point out that being locked out of the Football League didn't stop semi-pro teams from existing in England prior to them being connected.

    You also seem to be conflating the support for specific teams with support for the sport in general. Just because Derby County and Wolverhampton may not have gotten the level of support they currently have if pro/rel never existed in England, it doesn't necessarily mean that soccer in general would not still be equally popular in Derby and Wolverhampton.
     
    barroldinho repped this.
  2. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    In the previous thread, we discussed at length how attendances at the top of the non-league game increased significantly once pro/rel was introduced to/from the Football League.

    No, I'm not. I'm saying that pro/rel helps build strong support for teams beyond the "major league", whereas a closed league structure leads to an overwhelmingly dominant set of "major league" teams. I said nothing about support for the game in Derby and Wolverhampton.
     
  3. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Which isn't something that I'm disagreeing with.

    So we're in agreement then?

    One of the major reasons for implementing pro/rel in the US that I've seen is that it will increase the popularity of the game. If we're in agreement that pro/rel doesn't necessarily do that, what value is there in implementing it in the US?
     
  4. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    A closed system leads to an overwhelmingly dominant major league with a gulf below that. I believe that's a lot less healthy for a sport in general (and a lot less interesting) than a system where teams can move up/down the structure based on their performances on the field of play.
     
  5. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The closed system doesn't seem to be hurting the sport of football, basketball, hockey, baseball ...

    How though, does pro/rel make say West Brom VS Everton more interesting than say New England VS TFC?
     
  6. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Without disagreeing on the massive gulf below, wouldn't the popularity of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL disprove the impact upon the health of the sport in general though? A closed league may result in a less diverse variety of well supported clubs, but it hasn't had a noticeable effect on the popularity of football, basketball, baseball, and hockey here and in Canada.

    I get that you aren't a fan of the team organization system that has developed in the US and Canada and the monopolies that have come with that, but it doesn't seem to have hurt the sports in these countries in a manner that implementing pro/rel would have improved upon.
     
  7. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    You felt they increased significantly.

    My view was that the clubs in contention for promotion saw a decent bump, there was an initial modest increase for the other clubs that was not sustained and that increases were exaggerated by more popular clubs coming down from above, less popular clubs dropping out of the division and the use of percentages to puff up changes in what were relatively low numbers in the first place.

    Other strong factors such as hooliganism in the 80s and resurgence in the 90s made it difficult to pinpoint whether the failure for those "bumps" to be sustained and then an escalation in later years were significantly impacted by pro/rel.

    However, we do have a recent adoption of pro/rel in South Korea that hasn't shown much of an increase in attendance and a dropping of pro/rel and adoption of a regional closed system in Russian Hockey that has shown dramatic increases. MOTWYW.

    The operative term is "IMO". It's just as arguable that having regional leagues in the football league versus hierarchical ones would have been just as popular.

    Also, between WWII and the switch from election to pro/rel, the election process saw a promotion occur just five times. With election such a rarity, the perception had to be about as close to a closed system as you could get without officially being one. Yet these non-league clubs have survived in many cases for 100 years or more.

    I'm sure access to a top division whether tangible or theoretical, would be better for lower league attendances than not. However, how much of a factor it is, I'm not so sure. Nor am I sure how these scenarios would translate from one time and place to another.
     
    Yoshou repped this.
  8. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Are their performances on the field of play necessarily a reasonable indicator of their capacity to be a valuable and viable entity in the league above?
     
  9. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think it is too soon to make this statement. 2015 was only the third season and it is going to take awhile for clubs to figure out how to properly operate in a pro/rel environment.

    Of course, the further one gets away from the implementation of pro/rel the harder it becomes to say that pro/rel is why attendance changed and that the changes weren't the result of other factors.
     
  10. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    I produced a plethora of statistics to show that attendances increased significantly more in the fifth level than at other levels even when discounting the effects you describe above. If you'd like to revisit that discussion, I'll go ahead and regurgitate those arguments here. The bottom line is I was right and you are wrong.

    They survived but then as soon as pro/rel was introduced to/from the Football League, attendances increased significantly. Really, non-league football was dying on the vine prior to that.
     
  11. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    Yes. For example, having Bournmouth in the Premier League this year is wonderful for the league and the sport in general. Compare and contrast to Newcastle United...
     
  12. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    #137 M, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
    Closed major leagues are a great way of lining the pockets of a limited number of owners (with the "false shortage" of said teams leading to fleecing local taxpayers into the bargain). But why do you equate a sport's major league with the sport as a whole?
     
  13. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Berkshire
    Club:
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Which would make sense if Corpus Christi was the biggest market in minor league baseball.


    I mean, we actually have direct comparisons in MLS where you can compare crowds for clubs before and after MLS entry, and the spike in crowds is way beyond the kind of rise you'd see for a promoted club here.

    Again, this actually aids your argument against pro/rel in MLS. If you are suggesting, on the other hand, that minor league clubs in cities roughly similar to smaller major league market would draw similar crowds, that implies that in theory, pro/rel in the USA would be a feasible option.


    Are you seriously saying the inability to directly buy your way in to a pro/rel top division makes it less inclusive?
     
  14. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Berkshire
    Club:
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Yep. Moustaches were far better back then.

    Rugby union here didn't adopt any kind of league structure until the 1980s, nor turn professional (it was strictly *cough* amateur) for another decade.

    When other newer sports such as ice hockey and basketball have sprung up, league structures have been somewhat variable. Some have pro/rel, some don't. With the exception of rugby league (which has just gone back to pro/rel) pretty much anybody who wanted to put their club into the top division in such sports could have done so.

    The idea that franchised leagues are the modern way to run a league, and pro/rel is old fashioned isn't any way as cut and dried as some think.
     
  15. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Indeed.

    Because sports stopped being just about the sport several decades ago and things such as the number of clubs, professional players, etc. became an incomplete and increasingly inaccurate measurement of the health of a sport. Additionally, for the most part, the arguments in favor of implementing pro/rel have been because doing so would somehow "free soccer" to become the most popular professional sport in this country when there is no evidence that it has done so up until this point.
     
  16. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    You had two debates with various people and in neither case was it fully settled. There were arguments over how the data was interpreted and an impasse was reached.

    The discussion got nowhere near the point where we could discuss the value of the data wrt the US soccer landscape.

    I've no desire to go over that ground again in this thread.
     
  17. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Not if there wasn't so much money at the top, though.
    Union Berlin fans do not support their club today because it might go up some day. They support the club because it is their club. This is how it works. There are exceptions, and there are glory hunters who will join the base when a club is promoted. But the fan base remains, and will turn out whichever league their club is playing in.
    Your arguments indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the club dynamic over here.
     
  18. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    That's England, where there is overlap in quality between promoted and relegated teams.

    Where there is a gap in infrastructure, quality and resources between leagues, success in one does not necessarily equate to suitability to play in other.
     
  19. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    You can pretend there was an impasse if it makes you feel better.
     
  20. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    I used Bournmouth as an example as clearly their infrastructure isn't up the the standard of Newcastle's. But I'd be hard pressed to say that the latter warranted their place in the Premier League next season over the former.
     
  21. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    That's certainly never been an argument I've made, so maybe you should argue that one with whoever purportedly has.
     
  22. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    Absent pro/rel, do you think Fleetwood's crowds would have gone from a few hundreds to a few thousands?
     
  23. Alex_K

    Alex_K Member+

    Mar 23, 2002
    Braunschweig, Germany
    Club:
    Eintracht Braunschweig
    Nat'l Team:
    Bhutan
    Not to the same degree - in the early 90s, Union Berlin averaged below one thousand spectators per game for three straight seasons. During the entire 1990s, they never once averaged more than 5,000 spectators per game. The 90s were of course the low point of the club's history, being stuck in semi-pro football for the entire decade.

    The most hardcore fans stay with the club, but the longer a club stays in semi-pro football, the fewer new fans it recruits. And everyone who goes to the games wants the club to desperately go up again. It's no accident that there isn't a single club in Germany with any significant fanbase at all that has never played in professional football.
     
  24. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Absent Fleetwood FC, do you think the residents of that town wouldn't just support Blackburn, Blackpool or Preston NE?
     
  25. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Granted. There were issues beyond pro/rel at play in this, however.
     

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