WITHOUT GETTING RID OF MLS CUP, how can MLS make the reg. season more important?

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by superdave, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Look, I know the bigsoccer (and FSW) consensus is that MLS sucks until it adopts a more Eurorrific format. But I think there are some things the league could do to give greater value to the regular season within the limits of the "playoffs/MLS Cup winner is champion" format.

    Let's just list some ideas, then discuss 'em.

    1. A special "badge" on the unis for the supporter shield winners.
    2. A Charity Shield type game that puts the Cup winner and the Shield winner on the same level.
    3. Apportion international slots to reg. season winners before MLS Cup runners-up. Also, if one team wins both, the 2nd slot should go to the Shield runner-up, NOT the Cup runner-up.
    4. Press releases and general publicity hyping the reg. season winner.
    5. Change the playoff format to give more of an edge to higher seeds. (This one is problematic; the sense I get from the league's decisions is that they see the playoffs as a stand alone event. They won't make a decision on the playoff format for any reason other than how it affects the playoffs.)
    6. Cash bonus to the SS winner.

    Others?
     
  2. Justin O

    Justin O Member+

    Seattle Sounders
    United States
    Nov 30, 1998
    on the run from the covid
    Club:
    Seattle
    Wow, which Bigsoccer do you read?

    “The bigsoccer (and FSW) consensus is that MLS sucks until it adopts a more Eurorrific format.”

    ?????

    Are you kidding? The closest thing to a Bigsoccer consensus is that anyone who makes such claims is an ignorant “Eurosnob”, the dirtiest word on these boards!

    Anyway, you pose a worthwhile question nonetheless, though without any obvious good answers.
     
  3. metros11

    metros11 Member

    Sep 11, 1999
    Highlands of NJ
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've said this before and I don't think its going to ever happen, but allowing 4 teams instead of 8 into the playoffs would make the regular season a lot more meaningfull and make the playoffs more prestigious. Right now there is no need for team to play out the last 4 or 5 games when they know they've already clinched. And technically, if a team loses a game, the main feeling is 'who care, we still have an 80% chance of advancing'.
     
  4. Red Card

    Red Card Member+

    Mar 3, 1999
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Supporters Shield is great and should receive more recognition than even the MLS Cup. But I do have one gripe with it. That is due to the schedules not being balanced. Why not "Supporters Shield East" and "Supporters Shield West"? Then a home and home between the two, perhaps after MLS Cup.
     
  5. Sempuukyaku

    Sempuukyaku Member+

    Apr 30, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is a solid solution.

    Another solution is to have 6 teams into the playoff with the top seeds in each conference getting a bye. That would be their reward for doing so well in the regular season. And as the league expands and we get more teams, keep it at 6 teams, to lower the percentage of teams who get into the playoffs.
     
  6. mjtate

    mjtate Member

    Feb 3, 2000
    Westerville, OH
    Some kind of "real" reward is necessary to make the regular season "seem" more important. I think suggestions #5 and 6 have the most potential. The other one's are nice, but at the end of the day aren't going to make much difference.

    Giving a cash bonus would definatly make the players more focused on winning the supportors shield, but how much would it take? $20K, that's over $400K for the winning team, and does MLS have that kind of money lying around? Giving the top regular season team more of an advantage in the playoffs would be a good idea too.

    Another option is for all the fans who believe that the regular season champions are the "real" champions to become missionaries and spread the word to all the non-believing fans. If the majority of the fans feel that the SS is of equal importance, then MLS and the players will act accordingly. I don't that this will happen b/c most fans (in total, not most fans on BS) will always look to MLS Cup as the "real" champion.
     
  7. Tea Men Tom

    Tea Men Tom Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    Good idea.

    Too confusing to the casual fan and takes away from the "Big Event" aspect of MLS Cup.

    These guys aren't exactly eager to play in these international events because there's no money in it for them. I don't see how this would provide any added motivation.


    Can't hurt, not sure it helps any though.

    Who's going to put the money up? Of course if they want to call it the "Philips Electronics MLS Cup", maybe whoring your name might be worth it. Then again, I think MLS at this point is still building its brand and MLS Cup is its signature event. I don't think I would mess with that name until it's ingrained in the the sports culture -- much like the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl etc were until the NCAA decided to whore those names for the almighty $$$.

    This is the one that could most easily be implemented. I would suggest 3 teams make the playoffs in each division, with 1 getting a bye. 2 & 3 play home and home, then the winner gets 1 home and home.

    1 gets the advantage because all cards carry over, plus they'll be fresh where their first round opponent comes in after having played two tension packed games.

    Big advantage for the team with the best record, but not impossible for whoever has to play them.

    This to me preserves the playoff format and MLS Cup yet places significant weight on winning your division.

    The NFL has something like this in place right now where the teams that get byes in week one of the playoffs have a huge advantage because they get to rest the extra week and have the home game.
     
  8. McGinty

    McGinty Member

    Aug 29, 2001
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    I agree that going to 3 teams from each division would be the best way to go, although you might have to play a game on a Wednesday.
     
  9. ProfZodiac

    ProfZodiac Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Interesting idea I just had:

    3 teams from each division, 6 teams total (in case expansion dictates more divisions). Then, instead of a bye, a round-robin group-play type of scenario, East against East, and West against West. Then, the two teams with the most points in their respective groups face off in MLS Cup.

    A little confusing, perhaps, but interesting, and it cuts the number of teams.
     
  10. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Who came up with the name Supporter's Shield anyway? It sounds like some kind of fan award. A good name would be a good place to start.
     
  11. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's because it is a fan award.
     
  12. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I mean one that the fans won, like some kind of "spirit competition" back from high school football.
     
  13. Jeremy Goodwin

    Feb 16, 1999
    Club:
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Part of the problem is that you're spelling it wrong.

    It's not "Supporter's Shield" it's "Supporters' Shield"

    Indicating that the shield comes from the many supporters of MLS and it's teams, both groups and individuals.
     
  14. Nico Limmat

    Nico Limmat Member+

    Oct 24, 1999
    Dubai, UAE
    Club:
    Grasshopper Club Zürich
    Nat'l Team:
    Switzerland
    As I've posted on the MLS board:
    I hate to break it to some of you, but the Supporters' Shield ranks right up there with the conference championships and defender of the year award in terms of importance.

    As for Superdave's question - use the MFL playoff format.
     
  15. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ridiculous hairsplitting aside, it is still an incredibly stupid name.
     
  16. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Tea Men Tom...my thought was to put the event at the beginning of the season like England, not at the end where it could dilute the MLS Cup.
     
  17. BenC1357

    BenC1357 Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    KC
    When these discussions come up, I always point out the same points.

    1) MLS is trying to get to a playoff format that is consistant from year to year. They realize that changing the format 4 times in 8 years is not a good plan, and they are hoping that the current format can be used for a very long time. They have made this statement numerous times when announcing and defending the current format.

    2) MLS plans on expanding. As the league expands, the number of teams in the playoffs will remain at 8. Therefore as the league goes to 12, 14, 16 teams, the percentage of playoff teams goes to 66%, 57% and 50%. I know this might be a few years off, but look back to my #1 as to why they choose 8 and stuck with it. The regular season will become much more meaningful as the league gets bigger and the percentage of playoff teams decreases.

    3) At no point will all the MLS fans agree that any one format is the best. Therefore MLS must do what they can to create a format that will not change from year to year. They know that everyone won't agree on a format, but they're assuming that all the fans can agree that the format needs to be consistant from year to year instead of changing every year.

    4) The Supporters' Shield (and subsequently the regular season) will when MLS publicizes/celebrates the SS winner more, bonuses are given to the SS winning team and there are more teams in the league. Also, a single table (another thread in and of itself) with a balanced schedule (16 teams, 30 games per team) would help the SS credibility.
     
  18. pookspur

    pookspur Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    Indiana
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    for all of you (myself included) out there who wish the supporters' shield the greatest prestige possible - it would behoove us not to gripe about the fact that 80% of all mls clubs make the playoffs.

    the fact is that the more sides who make the mls cup playoffs, the less likely the mls cup winner is to reflect the best club in the league. conversely, greater status will accompany the shield, as it more accurately determines the best club in the league. and the mls cup will come more to reflect what it is - a cup tournament. hell, they should let every club in the playoffs, that way it will increase the value of the shield, by decreasing the notion that the cup determines the LEAGUE champion. and increase the value of the mls cup as a CUP championship. the only loser would be the notion of the mls cup as determining the league champion - which we all know it does a poor job of already.

    just a thought.
     
  19. burning247

    burning247 Member+

    Liverpool FC
    England
    Sep 16, 2000
    Dallas
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Do one of 2 things...

    1) Get rid of East and West and make it one straight table and assign playoffs according to numbers (like 2002 season), except cut down to 4 teams in the playoffs. (1 v 4, 2 v 3)

    or

    2) Make the winner of the regular season East play the Winner of the West in the MLS Cup. So this season's MLS cup would be Shitcago vs San Ho (which it'll probably be anyways)

    just my 2 cents.
     
  20. Nico Limmat

    Nico Limmat Member+

    Oct 24, 1999
    Dubai, UAE
    Club:
    Grasshopper Club Zürich
    Nat'l Team:
    Switzerland
    On the issue of the Supporters' Shield, it's really not that complicated. It's either the SS or MLS Cup - you can't have two major championships for one competition. Since we can't axe the playoffs just yet (no relegation), MLS Cup is the obvious choice.

    Once again, as posted elsewhere:
     
  21. roarksown1

    roarksown1 Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Playa del Rey, CA
    Club:
    Hamburger SV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is what I believe would be the best solution for the playoff format. The conference winner gets a bye and the 2nd and 3rd place teams duke it out home and home for the right to play the higher seeded #1 in their home ground. Winners go to MLS Cup and everyone's happy. We can have eight teams in the playoffs when MLS is at least a 16 team league.
     
  22. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    Let's see.
    Saturday 1- Last game of the season
    Saturday 2- first game of playoffs
    Saturday 3- second game of playoffs
    Saturday 4- 1st game of Conference finals

    What's the conference winner supposed to do for 3 weeks? I'm not sure a 3 week vacation would be particularly helpful.

    Now - if you reversed it, and had a one off game between 2 and 3 for the right to play 1 in a home and home, I'd like it a lot better.
     
  23. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    Nope. Can't do that. Absolutely no way


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  24. Nico Limmat

    Nico Limmat Member+

    Oct 24, 1999
    Dubai, UAE
    Club:
    Grasshopper Club Zürich
    Nat'l Team:
    Switzerland
    I'm no NHL fan, but I don't think the the Prince of Wales Trophy comes anywhere near the Stanley Cup in terms of prestige:
    The rest of my post writes itself...
     
  25. Noah Dahl

    Noah Dahl New Member

    Nov 1, 2001
    Pottersville
    1. Make all the playoff stages en route to MLS Cup single game knockouts hosted by the higher placed teams. No home and away. Supposedly the playoffs don't draw anyway, and this would favor the better regular season teams.

    2. Cash incentives for teams hosting those first round playoff games.

    3. Cash prize for winning the Supporters Shield.

    4. Expansion - the silver bullet, so long as the gun isn't pointed at the foot.

    5. I haven't ruled out promotion/relegation yet - with MLS invested in the "B" tier. THAT would heat up games at the bottom of the tables.

    Count me among the fans who believe MLS's regular season/playoffs/Cup Final format is far superior to the traditional Euro league model. And far more sensible for the survival of the league.
     

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