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MLS vs. NHL Going Forward?

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Old
12-31-2012, 09:52 AM
  #351
wildthing202
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Originally Posted by alkurtz View Post


Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the growth of soccer ever attaining a top 3 or top 4 ranking in American teams sports is that none of them (well with the exception of the self-inflicted wounds in the NHL) are really in long-term difficulty. All are thriving, some like basketball and football on both the pro and college level, hockey in Canada on the junior level, and baseball because of all the reasons above. It is darn hard for soccer to carve out a place in North American sports because our sports calendar is so crowded: overlapping seasons, never a time or place for soccer to exploit as its own. Soccer is also out of sync with the passage of the seasons in North America. Baseball is associated with spring and summer, football got its start as a college sport associated with the start of school in the fall, basketball was invented as an indoor winter sport, hockey is by nature a winter sport. The European soccer season (mid August to the end of April/beginning of May), makes no logical sense to Americans used to seasonal sports. Of course the idea of soccer in North America (aside for Florida, SoCal, etc) in the dead of winter just doesn't work. So MLS is left to kind of mimic the baseball season and this is a problem for it (starts in March when the NCAAs are going, baseball is starting up, NBA and NHL seasons are climaxing and playoffs starting, continue in the summer when baseball is king, and ending in November just after the World Series has ended, NBA and NHL are starting again, and the NFL is in full mid-season swing). To me, this is part of the glass ceiling the soccer faces in North America.

Anyway......people have been forecasting the demise of baseball for years. It has adapted, its demographics have changed, but its hold on America goes on.

And....by the way, have you been in a place like Charlotte, NC lately?
I'm trying to follow this so what you're saying is that soccer is screwed just because other sports are playing at the same time?

Just going by major leagues and college

MLB - March/April thru October
NFL - August/September thru Feburary
NBA - October thru June
NHL - October thru June
CFB - September thru Janurary
CBB - November/December thru April
MLS - March thru November

The MLS is only against MLB from mid-June to September but yet that can't work even though there are at least 5 sports going on in October/November and having all of those work....

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12-31-2012, 10:25 AM
  #352
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No not screwed at all; it is growing and will continue to grow, something I think is great. But if we start with the premise that the number of sports fans is finite and the sports pie just so big, than for soccer to really take off and compete with the major sports (again something I would be thrilled to see happen), its fans, as a general rule, would need to be pulled away from other sports. It is happening to a small degree but not to a large degree. If there were major discontent with the major sports, soccer could benefit. But that discontent really doesn't exist. At some point all the major sports have been in trouble (PEDs in baseball, image in the NBA before Magic/Jordan/Bird) and perhaps football now with the concussion issue, but all have rebounded and gone through periods of regrowth.

And that is the issue on this thread isn't it? Has hockey done itself so much harm that fans will be pulled away and become fans of soccer?

Soccer doesn't have a time or special event to call its own (except for the World Cup every four years and only if the US men's team makes it beyond the group stage). It is always playing second fiddle to something because something, usually multiple things, are going on at the same time. Some of the growth of hockey over the last few years in the US (until this fiasco) has been because it had a signature event: the Winter Classic. For the casual fan or fan who would rarely watch a regular season or SC playoff game, the Winter Classic was that event. People were getting into the habit of watching it New Year's Day. Now that habit has been interrupted and soon the NHL will have to compete with BCS playoff games likely to take place on New Year's Day.

I'm hard pressed to think of what MLS could do to capture the attention of the American sport-watching public. I would love the EPL to play some regular season games in North America but when the idea of expanding the 38 game EPL schedule to include some overseas games (perhaps copying the NFL or NHL)was suggested, it was quickly shot down. English soccer fans are even more provincial than US fans about these things.

Bottom line here is that our sports calendar is incredibly full: it hard for a newcomer to break into the dance. MLS's philosophy has been slow and steady and it has worked but I think there is some frustration is determining how to take that next step.

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12-31-2012, 12:34 PM
  #353
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MLS has done well the past 20 years. And their recovery from near death a decade ago is especially impressive. Although that's mainly a story of billionaire Phil Anschutz willing to lose tens of millions annually for year after year during the dark years.
It's better to be lucky than smart. And MLS was lucky in having a billionaire willing to subsidize the league for so long in order to grow the game. Nearly 15 years of huge losses before MLS started growing. Even a billionaire usually starts looking to cut his losses ten years into a money pit -- but Anschutz held strong. And it worked. At least for the league. I don't think Anschutz will ever recoup his losses. But he wanted MLS to be part of his legacy.

We'll see what the next 10 years bring. Certain teams are doing well. But many are not. And that's with a tiny, tiny payroll -- $2.8M for the whole team.

Any major escalation in player salaries would quickly bankrupt teams in the lower half of the league. MLS needs to keep their growth slow and steady. Their main risk is they try to grow to fast too quickly. The financial situation of the lower half teams is still precarious.

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12-31-2012, 01:40 PM
  #354
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
Yes, a lot of teams draw huge ratings locally. And those are still largely driven by older people. Baseball's popularity with Generation X and the millenials is by and large on the wane... denying that is like denying that one day North Carolina will eclipse Ohio in population, it's a simple matter of looking at the trends and doing the math.

I have no doubt that baseball will never be topped by basketball, hockey or soccer in this country, at least not in those markets where it's currently the top dog anyway, do not misunderstand. But the future for baseball is an inevitable spiral. Unless 25 year olds magically start caring about it out of the blue before that median age ticks up to 70 anyway.
The NBA already passed 5 billion in revenue this year. A horse race for number 2 is starting to happen.

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12-31-2012, 02:20 PM
  #355
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
The NBA already passed 5 billion in revenue this year. A horse race for number 2 is starting to happen.
I wouldn't jump the gun. MLB just signed some lucrative tv deals. Their expected revenues are supposed to top $9 bil in 2 years if all other revenue remains flat.

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12-31-2012, 03:00 PM
  #356
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I am very perplexed by your post. The Rangers have one of the greatest fan bases in the NHL, they are consistently at full capacity year after year, and they have great local TV ratings (some of the best in all of sports). I guess my only question to you is what “NY area” means exactly because the Rangers are most definitely relevant in New York City. As far as hockey as a sport in general I believe NY State is a hot bed for youth and high school hockey at least that’s what I have always been told.

Game 6 of the Rangers/Senators playoff series scored a local 4.27 in what was a record breaking year for the Rangers on MSG
http://www.themadisonsquaregardencom...en-rating.html

I can't find the Red Bulls local TV ratings anywhere only a quote: "While soccer doesn’t generate the sort of ratings delivered by MSG’s Knicks and Rangers telecasts, the Red Bulls slate is particularly attractive as it provides live sports content in an otherwise fallow summer season."
http://www.adweek.com/news/advertisi...d-bulls-126120
I work in Manhattan and know plenty of people that live there and the surrounding boroughs.

Nobody I know talks about hockey or is a fan. I rarely ever see people wearing Rangers stuff out in public in NYC, even during their ECF run back in June.

I think people who live outside of the area think Madison Square Garden and big money roster, so everyone must be a fan. It's completely not the case. People just flat-out don't care about hockey here. Sure there are diehard fans, but you'd be hard pressed to find many others outside of that.

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12-31-2012, 03:03 PM
  #357
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Originally Posted by alkurtz View Post
Anyone who thinks that baseball is somehow dying is simply out of their mind. The difference between football and baseball is that one is a national sport while the other is a regional sport. What I mean by that is that NFL fans will watch out of market games no matter who is playing while baseball fans generally will not. But within smaller geographic regions, baseball is just as popular as football. Add all those individual regions up and you have a sport that is still incredibly popular and shows no sign of sliding. TV ratings for individual teams remain strong. Yes football should be considered the most popular sport in America but baseball is so entrenched in the fabric of American life, so in tune with the passage of the seasons, that it remains incredibly popular. Always has, always will.

As for soccer: it is easy to overestimate how popular soccer is or what its growth ceiling is. And I say that as a soccer fan who generally watches one or two EPL games every weekend as well as Championship League games. I'm thrilled that soccer is growing in the US. But soccer in the US has one big drawback: for all the success that MLS has it and for all the success of its slow but steady growth plan, it is, and likely always will be a distant league in popularity in the US because it is a second or third tier league. Except for hardcore fans, without a true major league with world class talent (or at least the ability to hold on to home grown talent), most Americans will not latch on to soccer outside of what they can watch from Europe each weekend.. I wish it wasn't so, because I have come to love the sport, but I just think that soccer has a glass ceiling that it will eventually hit. But when I think of how it was just 20 years ago, the growth in interest in soccer has been phenomenal.

I must disagree with the poster who puts down hockey in the New York area. I live about 50 miles north of the city. 20 years ago few high schools had hockey teams, now just about all do. At Danbury, CT, not far where I live, the low minor league (Federal League) Whalers will draw 2000 on weekends. If I wear a Ranger shirt or jacket to the mall or supermarket, someone will always stop me to talk hockey. Back in late August, I was visiting family near Albany, went to a mall wearing a Ranger shirt and three people stopped me to talk about Rick Nash. this is not unusual.Yes the lack of coverage in the media is maddening, but as someone who has been a hockey fan since the late 1950s, it has always been this way. That is what is so maddening about this fiasco of a lockout: even if we come back in January, it is going to take years to get back to where we were just last year. But hockey is popular in the suburbs and will continue to grow.
I think Danbury's success has more to do with several teams over the years establishing a smash mouth brand of hockey that fans have come to expect at the DIA, starting with the Trashers.

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12-31-2012, 03:04 PM
  #358
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Originally Posted by ScottyBowman View Post
I wouldn't jump the gun. MLB just signed some lucrative tv deals. Their expected revenues are supposed to top $9 bil in 2 years if all other revenue remains flat.
But but HFBoards says that's a bubble scotty

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12-31-2012, 03:05 PM
  #359
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Originally Posted by Ronald Dubinsky View Post
I work in Manhattan and know plenty of people that live there and the surrounding boroughs.

Nobody I know talks about hockey or is a fan. I rarely ever see people wearing Rangers stuff out in public in NYC, even during their ECF run back in June.

I think people who live outside of the area think Madison Square Garden and big money roster, so everyone must be a fan. It's completely not the case. People just flat-out don't care about hockey here. Sure there are diehard fans, but you'd be hard pressed to find many others outside of that.
The Facepainter episode 109, Seinfeld. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere. Gotta be big to be on Seinfeld.

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12-31-2012, 03:10 PM
  #360
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I guess it depends on where you live. Hardly anyone cares about the MLS in Chicago
Nobody cared about the NHL in Chicago not too long ago...

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12-31-2012, 03:20 PM
  #361
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Originally Posted by awfulwaffle View Post
Nobody cared about the NHL in Chicago not too long ago...
I think the fans got together and had a little protest, sort of like what went on with TFC last season. However Chicago fans had better success. Although offseason changes have been made. Hope springs anew in TFC land

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12-31-2012, 04:14 PM
  #362
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Originally Posted by Ronald Dubinsky View Post
I think Danbury's success has more to do with several teams over the years establishing a smash mouth brand of hockey that fans have come to expect at the DIA, starting with the Trashers.
Wow, do I miss the Trashers: all that have followed them, including the Whalers, are just not the same as the mayhem that team brought to the DIA. Still it indicates a level of hockey interest that speaks positively for hockey in general in the northern suburbs and more distant areas outside NYC.

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01-01-2013, 12:15 AM
  #363
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They're pretty bad, but the others have sucked longer. At least Reds (TFC) fans know what it's like to be a Blue Jackets fan.
Sucked longer?

All the three you mention as being poorly run all have better records at making the playoffs. The Revs have 4 MLS Cup final appearances to their names.

FC Dallas has a stadium of their own, not playing in the Cotton Bowl anymore. Chivas has settled well into HDC and the Revs, being owned by Kraft, can at least hold out in the Pats Stadium. All do well attendance wise.

TFC, on the other hand, gets the nod as the team that sucks the most. The laundry list of reasons why dwarfs any other team. Also, unlike the Jackets, TFC should be doing better given the support they had from ownership and fans.

Or, perhaps that's the problem.

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01-01-2013, 07:49 AM
  #364
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I don't think Anschutz will ever recoup his losses. But he wanted MLS to be part of his legacy.
Anschutz may have already recouped (or come close to) those losses when he sold 4.5 of his MLS teams. He started Colorado Rapids for only $5 mil and later bought 5 other teams for relatively cheap. Few years later he sold most of them at much higher (about 4 fold) price. In his latest transaction, he received $20 mil for 50% of Houston Dynamo. He couldn't have lost more than $20 mil on that team. Even if his overall book shows red he still owns couple of MLS properties that are now valued at over $120 mil (3 times what he bought them for).

Also, don't forget about his annual income from Soccer United Marketing, the profitable part of the business MLS owners are collectively running. Then there's all the expansion money the league received over the last 8 years, some of which probably trickled down to him. Legacy does play a big part but I don't think he'd regret getting involved with soccer either way.

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01-01-2013, 12:16 PM
  #365
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Originally Posted by Rocket View Post
Anschutz may have already recouped (or come close to) those losses when he sold 4.5 of his MLS teams. He started Colorado Rapids for only $5 mil and later bought 5 other teams for relatively cheap. Few years later he sold most of them at much higher (about 4 fold) price. In his latest transaction, he received $20 mil for 50% of Houston Dynamo. He couldn't have lost more than $20 mil on that team. Even if his overall book shows red he still owns couple of MLS properties that are now valued at over $120 mil (3 times what he bought them for).

Also, don't forget about his annual income from Soccer United Marketing, the profitable part of the business MLS owners are collectively running. Then there's all the expansion money the league received over the last 8 years, some of which probably trickled down to him. Legacy does play a big part but I don't think he'd regret getting involved with soccer either way.
Well, the finances of MLS are opaque. But the estimates I've heard are that he subsidized MLS to the tune of well over $250M during the lean years. Remember, he used to own more than half of all the teams in the league. If he hadn't backstopped the league there is little doubt that it would have folded a decade ago.

In 2012, most of the teams still lost money. Back then basically all the teams lost money.

No, MLS is very lucky to have found a billionaire who caught the soccer bug late in life. I think he was already in his 70s when somebody gave him free tickets to the 94 World Cup. He fell in love with the sport and wanted to do what was necessary to make it work in America.

It's also funny that MLS fans, who tend to be left-wing and curse all things Republican -- only have their league due to the generosity of a Christian conservative billionaire Republican like Anschutz.

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01-01-2013, 01:37 PM
  #366
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People seriously have to be blind to think that hockey is anywhere near the popularity of soccer in the world. Hell no sport even comes close to soccer around the world. Hockey probably isn't even in the top 4 in popularity. And if you are talking about people and kids playing sports (not just the NHL vs MLS) then soccer is way more popular then hockey. Most people have played soccer, you can't say that about hockey. For one simple reason. Hockey is ten times more expensive to play then soccer. You can spend about $100-$200 to get cleats,shin guards, apparel and a soccer ball and about $500-$1000 to start playing hockey. Most people can't swing that. Hints why you see mostly white middle/upper class kids at every draft lol. It is a sad but true reality.

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01-01-2013, 01:42 PM
  #367
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Originally Posted by justheducks View Post
People seriously have to be blind to think that hockey is anywhere near the popularity of soccer in the world. Hell no sport even comes close to soccer around the world. Hockey probably isn't even in the top 4 in popularity. And if you are talking about people and kids playing sports (not just the NHL vs MLS) then soccer is way more popular then hockey. Most people have played soccer, you can't say that about hockey. For one simple reason. Hockey is ten times more expensive to play then soccer. You can spend about $100-$200 to get cleats,shin guards, apparel and a soccer ball and about $500-$1000 to start playing hockey. Most people can't swing that. Hints why you see mostly white middle/upper class kids at every draft lol. It is a sad but true reality.
No one is saying that hockey is more popular in the world the conversation is and always has been is hockey more popular in North America, and the answer is yes.

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01-01-2013, 01:53 PM
  #368
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Here's a 2002 article about Anschutz that claims his losses were already in the hundreds of millions as of 2002. And MLS still had many lean years ahead of it. Hell, MLS still loses money today. It just loses a non-disastrous-and-league-threatening amount of money.

I think the whole situation is kinda funny. Imagine if NASCAR was on the ropes -- losing huge amounts of money and on the verge of folding. And then somebody gives left-wing atheist, anti-gun billionaire George Soros a couple free tickets to the Daytona 500 and he ... falls in love with stock car racing. And decides to spend hundreds of millions to subsidize NASCAR. It would be funny if he spent his vast fortune on his legacy of banning guns, promoting atheism, and subsidizing NASCAR.

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01-01-2013, 03:24 PM
  #369
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Probably the worst thing you could do. It is something that was made clear right from day one with TFC it is Toronto's team. If the team went with Italians or Scottish sure you would get those fans but you would alienate all the rest. The rest would take the stance oh that's the Scottish people....
I'm not talking about a team full of one ethnicity, I'm talking about one player (or two) from a certain ethnic group.

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01-01-2013, 03:55 PM
  #370
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No one is saying that hockey is more popular in the world the conversation is and always has been is hockey more popular in North America, and the answer is yes.
1. "hockey v. soccer" is not the same as "NHL v. MLS"
2. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, etc....are part of North America

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01-01-2013, 03:59 PM
  #371
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I'm not talking about a team full of one ethnicity, I'm talking about one player (or two) from a certain ethnic group.
You still couldn't advertise it as come and see our token (Whomever). If word got out you took even a single player because of ethnicity, you'd be sunk.

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01-01-2013, 04:10 PM
  #372
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Originally Posted by krudmonk View Post
1. "hockey v. soccer" is not the same as "NHL v. MLS"
2. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, etc....are part of North America
Well clearly in regards to this conversation North America is referring to the US and Canada and not Central America, unless of course there is a new expansion team in Mexico City that I am unaware of. The popularity of hockey v. soccer in Canada and the US is indeed relevant in the NHL v. MLS debate.

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01-01-2013, 05:47 PM
  #373
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Originally Posted by krudmonk View Post
1. "hockey v. soccer" is not the same as "NHL v. MLS"
2. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, etc....are part of North America
Actually, it is common and acceptable English usage for North America to refer to just US+Canada, depending on context. Like, for example, a discussion of the NHL where the meaning of "North America" is abundantly clear and sounds better than constantly writing US+Canada. The normal human being is able to deal with multiple definitions of terms that change depending on context and connotation. Because human beings aren't soulless robots who need everything rigidly defined.

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01-01-2013, 06:20 PM
  #374
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You still couldn't advertise it as come and see our token (Whomever). If word got out you took even a single player because of ethnicity, you'd be sunk.
You don't have to advertise it. The diaspora community generally does it themselves. And I'm not talking about picking up garbage just because.

Look at what the Chicago Fire did in the late 90s. They had three polish players (you don't even need that many), but it worked, those teams were really successful by MLS standards in the box office (although winning didn't hurt). Those initial moves had Polish-Americans interested in the team when they otherwise simply would not be. All you have to do is hook them and percentage of them will stay. To my knowledge the Fire don't have any more polish players, but Poles still have supporting groups that buy up tickets to entire sections.

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01-01-2013, 07:16 PM
  #375
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are we now arguing about what is and isn't part of North America to make our "soccer will never be popular because I'd rather die than watch it lalalalalalala" arguments?

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