MLS vs. NHL Going Forward?
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12-27-2012, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Originally Posted by
Nonsense. Only times MLS draws like that is for doubleheaders -- ie when a real soccer team from Europe comes to town, or a big national team game like US vs Mexico or Canada vs US.
This is CenturyLink Field on October 15, 2011. The Seattle Sounders hosted the San Jose Earthquakes. There was no doubleheader, no fireworks displays or promotions outside of the game and the players. The Sounders brought in more than 64,000 people.
That's neither the first nor last time they've done that. The Clink is their home field, and they averaged 43,144 this year, which would have been good enough for third in Serie A behind only the Milan teams (or sixth in the Premiership if you like, ahead of Champions' League winners Chelsea). Perhaps more relevant to our discussion: they outdrew 28 of 30 MLB teams this year (the exceptions being the Yankees and Phillies). Houston opened a new stadium this year and tacked more than 4,000 fans onto their average attendance. Over the last two seasons, Sporting Kansas City has seen its attendance grow by a very impressive 88%; after having the league's lowest attendance eight times since forming in 1996, they're now up over 19,000 fans per game.
As a league, MLS is one of the top ten in the world in terms of average attendance, ahead of Brazil, Argentina, China and Japan, and miles ahead of mid-level European countries like Austria, Scotland and Ukraine, as well as some high-level European leagues (read: Portugal and Russia). It's nipping at the heels of the top flights in France and the Netherlands. The league smashed all of its attendance records this year and shows no signs of slowing down.
MLS will always be a minor league. It has a salary cap of $2 million -- per team!
And teams are allowed three exceptions to that cap that can be paid whatever the team can afford - that's how the league got guys like Beckham and Henry, and it's how they will keep the next generation of stars.
Keeping the salary cap artificially low is also allowing teams to increase ticket prices gradually, and it prevents teams from outspending each other by a 30:1 ratio like what happens in baseball. Sorely inflated player costs courtesy of the New York Cosmos are what turned the NASL into a franchise fee-sucking parasite and ultimately strangled it. MLS will have outlived that league at the end of the 2013 campaign, and with a much healthier outlook.
Oh, and the $250M for Beckham was a lie. It was just marketing hype. He wasn't paid $250M or anywhere close to that. It was just PR to trick the simple-minded.
The $250M was a projection that included endorsement deals. I don't think anyone would suggest that Beckham was paid $250M by MLS over any period of time, although his contract did include the right to a "buy-in" with a club after his retirement. We'll see if he uses that in the near future.
MLS has found its groove, and with exposure through both NBC Sports and ESPN, it's in great shape to continue its push into the ranks of the elite sports leagues in the world. That's really the key for them: consolidating their strong local followings across the continent into a national and international presence. Signing guys like Mikkel Diskerud would be a huge boost to the league's credibility with the so-called "Eurosnobs" - the people who are so wrapped up in their perception of MLS that they can't see the reality of the league's growth on the field or off. The Mix move seems unlikely to happen, but for now, the league can definitely benefit from players who are a little older but still have name recognition, like Kaká or maybe even Didier Drogba.
All of that said, competition between sports is not explicitly a zero-sum game; a lot of people who spend their money on soccer likely weren't going to spend it on many other sports or let it affect their spending on other sports. Besides, MLS has a long,
way to go before it catches the other sports: the NHL is the weakest of the Big Four at a not-so-measly $3.3 billion last year. MLS can't even touch that right now because of its small TV contracts (which will go up with time and exposure).
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