Views on MLS

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by IanHux, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. IanHux

    IanHux New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I know that many of you have shared you views on MLS but I'm still curious. I'd like to know what you think of the league and your reasoning behind that. In light of a recent.... incident.... on this site I'd like this to be completely your views and why you personally think that way. No trying to persuade anyone or angry rants please (although you may list complaints about the league. Just not in a angry hate-filled manner).

    I personally love the MLS. It all started after the WC 06. Shortly afterward I became an avid fan of football. My wanting to watch the game was insatiable and the only matches I could watch were MLS matches on ESPN. So, since there was no other alternative, I slowly fell in love with the league. Despite also falling deeply in love with a certain Premiership side :wink: I have continued following the MLS and supported it through thick and thin. And now to put the icing on the cake, a team is coming to Seattle, as close to a hometown team I can support.

    That isn't to say that there aren't things I wouldn't change such as the schedule in some form. The salary cap, the single entity format, and the coverage of the league (aka TV deals and other things not directly within the control of MLS).
     
    #1
  2. Jensers

    Jensers New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Location:
    Royal City, Wa
    I think MLS is the best we have to offer, and that I will be very into Seattle FC... But as of right now - I find it dull and have a hard time making it thru a full match.

    The coverage of the match does not help get you excited - it feels flat due to the poor audio mix, camera angles, and commentary.. Just 'feels' poor.

    Also - I dont like the playoffs, split table, no promotion/relegation, and the fact that we are on a different schedule as the leagues around us... Once again - this is a 'feeling' thing. It just doesnt feel right. It feels like some kind of americanized, second rate substitute.

    I know that is Harsh.

    Like I said - It may not be perfect, but this is all we have - and I will care about it when I have a team that I feel a connection with.
     
    #2
  3. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    I feel MLS has done an ok job with what they have, but they will need to make big improvements if they want to continue to grow. Here is a list of things that need to change:
    1. They need to adjust the schedule to accommodate International games. Having teams play without their stars in insane.
    2. They need to increase the salary cap.
    3. The playoffs need to go. Put everyone in one table and make the season matter.
    4. Put more emphasis on the U.S. OPEN CUP. It's really an amazing tournament. Its history predates most domestic sports trophies.
    5. My final wish is for a promotion/relegation system. I know this one will never happen, but I will continue to dream about it.
     
    #3
  4. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland OH
    What I like --
    1) Right or wrong, thick or thin, it's my league.
    2) The quality has gone up in recent years, especially sine the early 90s when I didn't pay attention to it at all
    3) The move away from the Giants Stadium and whatever RSL used to call their field -- NFL lines cause me to zap the channel instantly, I can't watch it at all.
    4) To a degree, the parity in the league -- no big 4. Also, some franchises truly are well run (Houston, New England, DCU even though they had a bad year, Chivas, San Jose has also impressed me.)
    5) I finally have a team that appeals to me in Seattle -- my old Army stomping grounds, and the Crew never did it for me. If they are good enough for Drew Carey, they're good enough for me. Rooting for Ljungberg will take some reorientation though.
    6) Seemingly eevry side has more and more passionate fans, a Nordecka or a Barra Brava or Midnight Riders. Great to see. Please keep the idiot element out -- or the police will do it for you

    What I dislike --
    1) The come one, come all playoffs is embarrassing. If you want to have playoffs, fine, I can deal w/ that. If you want to devalue the regular season by having everyone qualify, that bores me. Expanding the league to 18-20 teams doesn't rectify this situation in my eyes.
    2) No relegation, which I realize will probably never change, but I would love to see it. That would be a unique selling point in our country's sporting landscape. T he nontraditional schedule doesn't bother me. I'm glad for no games in Chicago, Columbus, KC, and Toronto in January. Countries with leagues that have harsh winters in Europe have summer leagues (Ukraine, Russia) for a reason. Washington winters were pretty crappy as well. Still, adhering to int'l breaks would only take a little bit of innovation, which I sometimes think the league is lacking.
    3) Increase the salary cap so we can attract some stars when they are in their early-mid 20s rather than Ljungberg and Beckham on the latter side of their careers.
    4) The whole league feels overmanaged -- too much emphasis on marketing and product and not enough on the game. The playoffs, the hyping of Donovan and Beckham, the chatter of announcers on ESPN and FSC escpecially, who are terrible -- I feel like I am being talked down to by the league's braintrust. For those who listen to WSD, Steven once relayed an interesting story about Garber. One day, he and Nick ran into Sepp Blatter, and asked him for an interview, then and there. Bingo, they got it -- only the three of them for 45 minutes. That week, they also ran into Garber and asked him for an interview. They had one, with one of MLS's PR goons, vetoing every other question they asked.
     
    #4
  5. EricD

    EricD New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA
    I am happy that it is improving. It is creating an opportunity for some talent to grow here and feed into better leagues (this is going to happen until several changes occur - as mentioned by others above) thus improving our national team. I have a team that I support (yes, it is hard being a Galaxy fan). I am happy Beckham is here because his first touch and vision are head and shoulders above most, so hopefully that can be a little more infectious (that also goes for Blanco, Schelotto and several others) throughout the league. It is pretty fast and physical, and it would be a lot better if the skill level was raised. I think we see this happening with the greater influx of Central and South American players who most likely grew up developing their skills in the streets. This raises the bar for the US based players' skill requirements.
     
    #5
  6. andypalmer

    andypalmer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Here's the letter I sent to askthecommissioner@mlsnet.com

    Hello,

    I have been an avid soccer fan my entire life, being lucky enough to be born to an English mother and an American serviceman who enjoyed assignments in Europe. Because of this, I got to spend 22 of my first 24 years in England, Holland, and Germany. As an American soccer fan, I am a fan of the MLS and would like to offer my input for positive changes that will improve the league, both short term and long term.


    Roster:
    Increase salary cap to $3.2M and increase roster size by 6-8, but keep current cap impact of designated players (i.e., $400k). Teams can already, with the designated player, spend more than the ~$2.1M and usually do so by more than an additional $1M. Also, this is a cap and not a required spend (not all teams spend the full cap now), so the financial risk is absorbable. This cap increase will allow for better retention of the “Scandinavian League” level American players and will improve overall game quality (i.e., the product on the field). The roster size increase is required for teams to compete in regional competitions which involve midweek games. These regional games are important for both fans and sponsors to validate the quality of the MLS in the global setting; the MLS cannot afford a repeat of this year’s CONCACAF Champions League showing.

    League Changes (size, schedule, etc.):
    - Limit league to 18 teams, single table format, with a 34 game season.
    - Start the season a week earlier (absorbable, with perhaps game scheduling in warmer climates).
    - Have some more midweek games (yes, lower fan turnout even in Europe) but possibly higher TV ratings (the mid-week CONCACAF Champions Leagues games seem to have done well for FSC)
    - Remove the Play-offs, instead have the MLS Cup be a “League Cup”, similar to the Carling Cup in England (single elimination games, mid-week, with final occurring week after end of season, in neutral venue). This allows season to end later.
    - Have a five-week mid-season break, which would become the summer transfer window. This window would adjust in the calendar to accommodate the World Cup, the Gold Cup, etc. Yes, these competitions tend to be a month with a 2 week prior release requirement, but losing international players for 1 week is better than the alternative. This is also a scalable solution that handles 2014, when the World Cup games will be in our time zone (or near enough to cause conflict).
    - Take off for international fixture dates. More mid-week games, especially when scheduled immediately after such breaks (so most participants in the MLS games had a week “off”) will allow for this and, most importantly, allows the teams to always place their best team on the pitch (better product quality).
    - Have the four CONCACAF Champions League places go to the following:
    o League Winner (i.e., best league record)
    o League Runner-Up
    o MLS Cup Winner (or team with next best league record)
    o US Open Cup Winner (or team with next best league record)
    - Change the SuperLiga format. Have the four MLS participants be the teams with the best records in the league that didn’t qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League; do the same on the Mexican side. This allows for the potential scheduling of these games during the same weeks (albeit midweek) as the CONCACAF Champions League games. This competition effectively becomes the “UEFA Cup” of North America

    The Future of the MLS:
    There are certainly more markets in the US and Canada than 18, or even 20, that are capable of and willing to support an MLS team and this doesn’t count those markets robust enough to support more than one team. The best, and frankly only viable way to handle this is to introduce into North American sports promotion and relegation. Within three years of expanding to 18 teams, by using a combination of the partners desiring MLS franchises and the USL Division 1 teams (not already involved in the former), MLS Division 2 can be formed. Once this 2nd league is stable, promotion/relegation can begin, initially starting with a single MLS teams that drops to Division 2 (and vice versa), and eventually rising to 3 teams. This accomplishes many positive things:
    - This allows for 36-40 markets to have MLS teams, all with the potential of rising to the top and representing not only the league but the region.
    - In the MLS Division 1, the end of season games will more than exceed the current play-offs in marketability. With 5-6 teams fighting against relegation and all of the rest fighting for the 6-8 Regional competition spots, these games will matter, resulting in more fan involvement and more player effort. In fact, with league position mattering so much more, EVERY game will matter more to both fans and players (better record now just provides home field for play-off games, which pales in comparison).
    Admittedly, this is a vision for 2018, but I think it is important to know where you’re going.

    Regards,

    Andy Palmer
    Baltimore, MD
     
    #6
  7. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    By Gar! There's the guy who has actually given this some thought!

    For that he gets a cookie.. and a front page posting!
     
    #7
  8. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Beach, For Now
    Those were great and thoughtful ideas, andy. Beats the hell out of the typical, "it's 'our' league, so you should, nay, MUST get behind it," postings. Which is total BS, by the way.
     
    #8
  9. BarryP

    BarryP New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
    Andy Palmer for MLS Commissioner!
     
    #9
  10. richardhkirkando

    richardhkirkando New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Excellent post, Andy. Lots of good ideas.

    I do like the product on the field, and I'll watch MLS games if they're on TV. I have no rooting interest in any particular team, so it's difficult for me to get more interested in a random MLS game than a game from, say, Germany or France.

    I don't like the league format in general. I don't like the NFL-style parity, the split table, or the playoffs. I don't know why, it just doesn't feel like football to me.

    I'd love to see promotion/relegation sooner than later. I totally understand why it wouldn't work at this point, but it doesn't even have to be of the bottom 3 down/top 3 up format used in most of the world. While it isn't common in the more established leagues now, some countries used to put the bottom few 1st division teams and the top few 2nd division teams into a mini-league at the end of the season. Top half stay/move up, bottom half stay/move down. Something like that might be doable.
     
    #10
  11. andypalmer

    andypalmer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Wow! I'm honestly surprised at the response. Front page, even!?

    Gosh....thanks! :oops:
     
    #11
  12. jmh

    jmh New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Those are some very intriguing ideas, Andy. I think you face an uphill battle convincing team owners to accept promotion/relegation (the chance that their teams might become "minor league" due to poor performance is not something team owners in American sports have signed up for), but it's one worth fighting.
     
    #12
  13. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Beach, For Now
  14. andypalmer

    andypalmer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    One thing to keep in mind re: relegation/promotion. Three premiership clubs are now owned by Americans and Derby Co. was bought by Americans after it was already known that they'd be relegated. American businessmen obviously understand the system, how it works, and how they can remain solvent while doing it. If they can do it for teams in England, why is the idea of them doing it in this country so implausable?
     
    #14
  15. richardhkirkando

    richardhkirkando New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #15
  16. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Beach, For Now
    It is an MLS circle-jerk over at BS.
     
    #16
  17. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Well, dammit CF! I thought about putting the link on there, but I actually READ team MB's on BigSoccer. And most of them are like me. Or like you... only the reverse. That's what you're seeing there.

    And you sure set the tone of the thread in your inimitable way!

    Pay 'em no mind Andy. Your piece WAS good in this environment... meaning us who are less concerned with snark than some others. In BS, snark and flaming is how you get rep.

    And the immediate problems with keeping good teams together or even away from franchise hi-jackers is much higher on MLS fans' list of priorities.
     
    #17
  18. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Beach, For Now
    Glad to be of service. :3d smile:

    *Nearly 150 "Reads" in just a few hours.
     
    #18
  19. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Well, there's THAT. That's good.
     
    #19
  20. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland OH
    Great article, AP, and I was reminded why I don't look at BS forums anymore.

    Just because garber says they are not good ideas does not make it so.
     
    #20
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