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The MLS 2017 Season Thread

Discussion in 'World Football' started by seamus1967, May 30, 2011.

Discuss The MLS 2017 Season Thread in the World Football area at TalkCeltic.net.

  1. Zalgiris

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    Yep it's manufactured rivalry for sure, but it's like that in general. MLS is more a hipster thing, it is hip to wear football/soccer jerseys, join supporter clubs and copy Euro songs and tifos and act like you have brutal rivalry with some other club. Even better if the stadium is in an urban environment and you can all march to the stadium. It's connected to urban pioneer movement also, which is also a hipster thing.

    It's not like all these MLS supporters grew up with their clubs, generation after generation. It's still pretty superficial everywhere. Supporter clubs are in large part hipster posers who just want to stand out, but they help create an atmosphere, which in turn makes games more watchable and attracts casual crowds. Quality of stadiums is also crucial. Most of the casuals in the stadium couldn't name you 3 players on the pitch, but they show up for games because stadiums are new, shiny, state of art, atmosphere is mostly good, soccer is considered the new thing to do in town, and it's all not very expensive.

    It's not like football in Scotland, or hockey in Canada or gridiron football and such in the US. People sometimes get killed because of NFL passions. Football/soccer fandom is much more manufactured, it can be a bit like LARPing. NYRB - NYCFC rivalry is no different.

    ---
    As to New York clubs quality, I wouldn't say the gap between them is big, just NY City is a weird club, they were really destroyed in some games, then in others they looked great. They can be mental snowflakes.

    Red Bulls were 1st in conference table, NY City was 2nd, and there was just 3 point difference.

    RB basically embarassed City in their first head to head game (7-0). City had revenge in the next one, then RB won the last one. It would be like you say, games where fans don't know what will happen.

    I think RB are a bit better, I would bet my money on them, but anything could happen.

    I think there's a bigger chance of one sided boring series between Toronto-Montreal IMO, because there's a bigger gap between those clubs, but also anything can happen. Salary caps and other rules really keep all teams reasonably close. Toronto is a better club but anything can happen in two games.
     
  2. Swervedancer Guest

    That's something that's puzzled me, the salary cap and how New York teams can attract star players. They must be paying big money to these guys, does it mean the rest of the team are on a low salary because David Villa and Pirlo are on big money?

    How are the Canadians so successful when they can't compete with the money men behind the New York teams. Is it really all down to the salary cap keeping teams close in quality?

    Did you say people get killed supporting NFL? Like fans fighting or something? I know NFL fans are very passionate but I didn't think there was any violence.

    It's great that North America has amazing stadiums that attracts fans to soccer games and makes it a pleasant experience. I think if soccer caught on in America it could become one of the world's best teams quite quickly as so many people are into sport from a young age. It's so much easier to play too, you just need a ball and a couple of jerseys for goal posts and you can play it anywhere there is a free space. To play baseball, basketball or NFL you need extra equipment.

    It's a bit of a mystery why soccer hasn't become big in America, as everywhere else in the world it's the number one sport.
     
  3. Zalgiris

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    Yep, you nailed it. There's salary cap which is only 3.5 mil. Then you can sign 3 players on unlimited salaries, but that shrinks your main cap. So you have to choose, do you want a deeper team, or do you want up to 3 better paid players but less money to spend on supporting players.

    Ultimately 3 players won't change so much, it takes 11 people plus a good bench over the season. So poor teams can stay competitive.

    And if a rich club signs some big name old Euro who doesn't care anymore or who's always injured, that can be a big step backwards.

    I think Toronto actually is now the highest spending team. They were always a rich team, they are in a great rich city, good fanbase, rich owners.

    NY City and Galaxy are two other high spending teams. Red Bulls used to spend a lot but lately they are quite cheap. Toronto wages are over 20 mil, which is like 4 times more than Red Bulls.

    It's not organized like football firms, although some fanbases have problems with gangs. It's more people getting drunk and starting fights. Every game matters a lot, people are passionate, get drunk. Small incidents and arrests happen a lot, big incidents (someone badly hurt or killed) maybe once a year.

    There's also baseball fan violence and occasional murders.

    MLS had some hooligan wannabe confrontations, just hipsters pretending they are hooligans, but I don't remember anything really bad.
     
  4. Swervedancer Guest

    My * that's terrible there have been people killed for watching sport. I especially thought baseball was a big family day out kind of sport. Surprised to hear of violence there. It used to be bad in the UK but football is relatively safe and peaceful now. The Russian World Cup could be crazy, they have quite a hooligan culture going on over there I think. Security will be fierce.

    When you say Toronto spend $20m is that on the whole team per year? It's not a lot is it considering that's one basketball player's wages. How can Toronto spend 4 times more than Red Bull? I thought all teams would spend the maximum they are allowed so they attract the best players?

    Yeah 3 players is a gamble, seems more logical to spread the money out more evenly and keep the squad balanced.

    Is David Beckham ever going to get his Miami franchise? The model of the stadium looked amazing.

    Do teams get prize money for winning the MLS?

    Do they still have the system where the worst team gets the first pick of the new guys coming through or is that just Ice Hockey?
     
  5. Zalgiris

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    It's mostly safe, but yes, sometimes people do crazy things.

    Yep, MLS keeps salaries low. Most clubs spend under 10 mil, some just 5 mil.

    MLS has a salary cap of 3.5 mil, every club spends that, but then there are various exceptions. MLS started with a cap, but they keep adding exceptions every year... so now there are many exceptions.

    The main exception is that you can sign 3 unlimited salary designated players. For example Toronto has 3 designated players who get paid around 18 mil (combined). The rest of their roster gets paid about 3 mil.

    Then there are other exceptions, for example some young players don't count towards cap. So that gives advantage to clubs with good academies. And more exceptions.

    So there's still a cap, sort of, but it's soft cap. You could have payroll at 500 mil and sign Neymar, Messi and Suarez. That's allowed. But you can't sign 20 players at 5 mil each, for example.

    At some point, if MLS keeps adding these exceptions, rich clubs will gain massive advantage, but right now it still works, rich clubs have some advantage but it's not huge.

    Yep, but it doesn't apply to academy players, who go to whichever team developed them, so it doesn't matter as much anymore. You can still pick up good college players that way. But with academies getting better, it will matter less and less.

    I don't know, but I don't think so. I think players get a small bonus.

    Was that the stadium by the ocean? That looked nice. That stadium plan failed, then another one failed, then Beckham's investors left, now Beckham is looking at 3rd or 4th plan. I don't think this stadium will be anywhere as impressive, and it's now planned in a bad part of town.

    The good news is he's now working with Tim Leiweke who's a major sports executive who gets * done. They also bought part of the land for the stadium. There are some political obstacles, but I think they'll do it.

    The plan was to have them in MLS in 2018, not sure if that's still possible, but maybe.

    MLS team values and expansion fees will soon be around 200 mil, and Beckham gets to buy it for 25 mil, so that deal keeps getting better for him. So I can't see him giving up. I think he'll build that stadium out in the Florida swamps with his own hands, if he has to.
     
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  6. Swervedancer Guest

    Thanks, so teams can really spend whatever they want on three players. That does seem like an advantage for the wealthy teams. Although it's tough for the MLS to attract superstars who would make a massive difference.

    Why don't they just play a league system like the rest of the world where there is promotion and relegation and no salary cap? It could be much more exciting then and they could attract better quality players. Although there is the risk of having only a few teams if there is no salary cap.

    I hope Beckham manages to get his club up and running, I imagine he'd make a decent team, attracting good players. What are expansion fees? The stadium will be expensive so how do they get that money back? Just curious as it doesn't seem like a sport for folk to make big money in.

    Is there an All Americas Cup like the Champions League?

    *, Scotland are getting demolished by England :ranting2:
     
  7. Diegan

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    Just to touch on the fan violence in NFL (and MLB) - it's highly regionalized. I never went to Chargers-Raiders games, there are always stabbings at LA Dodgers games, some SF Giants fan was killed a few years ago as well after being beaten in a car park, but it's not like in football where the scale is larger. But it's almost worse, because instead of organized firms beating other idiots it's drunks attacking regular people in random events.

    And there is a 'Champions League' so to speak. Mexican clubs always win (although I think Deportivo Saprissa or one of the other big Costa Rican clubs has won recently), but MLS clubs are increasingly pushing for the title. The winner gets to play in the Club World Cup.

    As far as the structure, it's because the NASL has seared itself into the memory of all football people in the US. There were no rules and owners, in an arms race to sign the best players, spent the league into oblivion and went bankrupt. There is simply not the advertising revenue to support large wages. Some clubs earn much more than others due to local media deals and advertising, such as LA, Seattle, and Toronto. They are able to spend more because, in addition to the three Designated Player exceptions, there is a range of quirky little rules to allow for more spending. Each club gets Targeted Allocation Money, which can be gained from other clubs for players or Draft positions. There's also General Allocation Money which is given out by the league. There's also the fact that each club keeps half of their transfer fees for increasing their salary cap, and this increases to 100% if you sell your own academy player, which encourages clubs to develop their own. It's a bit of a mess, but rules are there to allow some clubs to spend what they want. Also, due to the franchise nature of MLS, promotion relegation will not happen anytime in the near future. One of the main sources of revenue (and where MLS dangerously resembles a pyramid scheme) is the huge expansion fees paid by new clubs. It is around 200m dollars right now. This is officially branded as the new owners "buying" a share of MLS and paying for the diluted revenue that other owners will lose by including another club. In reality the new clubs only help to grow revenue (especially the recent ones) so it serves more as a gatekeeper function and source of income. Tldr; MLS finances are * bizarre, and so this greatly impacts the way the league is set up. Its structure is different from any other league in the world (besides the A-League, but then again Australia and New Zealand have very similar structures for their sports leagues as the US and Canada have).
     
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  8. Zalgiris

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    There's competition called CONCACAF Champions League, but I think most people don't really care about it and only US-Mexican games tend to draw decent crowds.

    Like Diegan said, Mexican clubs usually win.

    Mexican clubs have payrolls at 30-70 mil, that is comparable to Celtic, and they don't have restrictions in how to build the roster. While MLS clubs have cap and various restrictions after they spend 3.5 mil.

    So MLS rosters just have less talent and they are uneven rosters, most money spent on 3 players, without much depth.

    Yep, they don't make big money from revenues. For Beckham, I think it will be about selling the team eventually, that's when he'll make money.

    Beckham's expansion fee is 25 mil, because that was agreed years ago in his MLS contract. Other owners paid 100-110 mil in the last few expansions, and MLS says it will be 200 mil for future clubs.

    Most MLS clubs get their stadiums built by politicians with tax money, or they get big subsidies, tax breaks, free land parcels, etc. Beckham might've gotten that too, if he found a serious American businessman to handle things from the start (but he didnt).

    Yep, like you say, there's that risk of a few teams being dominant. They want to keep the league competitive, and they want investors to feel safe.

    Investors are willing to spend 100 mil+ expansion fees for clubs today, and cities help them build expensive stadiums. If you tell them "you get a club, but maybe it will be top level club, or maybe it will be in lower divisions for many years", then I think people and cities won't want to invest so much money.

    It's also a matter of attracting fans. Right now this system works pretty well, every club can draw 15-25,000 people on a nightly basis (and a few draw more). Every club matters, every club has a chance to win. Top two clubs from last year didn't even make the playoffs this year. It's an unpredictable league.

    Fact is, MLS quality of play is pretty bad, but fans still come to games, so there's no incentive for MLS to remove cap, etc. Too much risk, and they don't need to do it.

    If MLS had a few dominant clubs, maybe those clubs would have good crowds, but fans in other cities might just stop watching MLS altogether.

    I think it's different for example in Scotland where these clubs existed for 100+ years and they have tradition and generations of supporters. Also distances are small. People in Edinburgh might support Hearts or Hibs because of tradition, or they might support Celtic because Celtic Park isn't that far away. People also watch Barca, EPL, etc, but there's big support for Scottish football.

    In the US, distances are big and there are no deep football/soccer traditions. If MLS wants to be relevant in some city, they have to have a relevant club in that city.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  9. Swervedancer Guest

    I think when you explain how the two top teams from last year didn't even make the play offs this year it makes sense the system the MLS has because if it wants to keep drawing crowds for every team then every team should have a chance of winning. I still prefer the way we do it here in the UK but that's because I've been brought up in that culture. I think soccer is the 4th of 5th most popular sport in the US compared to the rest of the world where it is by far the most popular.

    It's good that politicians are willing to help out pay for the stadium as that could be an obstacle I'm sure. What is interesting is the giant leap from $25m for Beckhams fanchise to $200m for the next one? How did the value jump so high and will investors still be willing to pay that kind of money for a club that they probably won't be able to make profit on like Beckham as he got lucky. I mean I can't see a franshise going for $200m and then increasing in value that would provide an investor a healthy return. Anyone buying at $200m must surely be doing it for the love of the game?

    I don't know if I'm making sense because I'm not 100% clued up on how the franchise works. I just know it was a clever piece of business by Beckham when he agreed on the $25m deal. This is a guy who is teased for being a bit daft too. I think it's just the way he talks people make fun of but he's obviously got his head screwed on.

    How many franchises are left altogether?

    And why did Kaka choose the other league if the wages are much less there? I seen him playing recently, he's still got some smooth magic in those feet.

    As has David Villa.

    I hear Drogba is doing well in Canada. If you're still on form around the age of 30 you can still be a big star in the MLS.

    Do you think the other major sports in the USA make it difficult for young athletes to choose soccer as a career because the wages are so inferior? Am I right about that, if you're a top athlete and can play NFL, Soccer and Ice Hockey you're going to choose Ice Hockey of NFL because they can make a lot of money straight away?

    Sorry if I've asked that question before but it's one that's puzzled me.
     
  10. Zalgiris

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    Beckham actually signed that deal in 2007, when he left Spain for MLS. As part of his MLS contract, he was allowed to purchase an MLS club for 25 mil (after he retires). Back then 25 mil for an MLS club wasn't cheap. Since then it went up gradually, to 30, 40, 70, 100, 110 mil. Now it's expected to be 200 mil for future clubs.

    Smart deal for him, I don't know if he expected value to rise that much, probably not, but it was smart to put it into contract.

    It's hard to say what will happen to club values in the future. 5 years ago or so, 100 mil for an MLS club was unthinkable, today that's cheap.

    I'm sure vanity / love of the game plays a role for some of these owners. But mostly I think they see value. Maybe they expect values to keep going up. Or maybe they like various subsidies, tax breaks, etc.

    Some of these owners also manage to get really sweet non-sports business deals because they own teams. For example, Sacramento Republic owners (not an MLS club yet, but they are looking to buy it) promised the Sacramento city to build a stadium and get an MLS club, and Sacramento allowed them to redevelop huge tract of land next to downtown, it's going to be a multi-decade multi-billion development.

    These sort of situations are actually pretty common, sports clubs open politicians' doors. Many owners end up developing non-sports real estate in the city, opening casinos, shopping centers, etc.

    Right now they have 20-24 (20 in the league, 4 more sold, including Miami).

    They want to get to 28 at least, but most people speculate that they will eventually expand to 30-32 clubs, like NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA. Maybe even more than 32? Who knows.

    Kaka makes about 7 mil a year now. I don't know what he could've gotten in other leagues. His club owner is Brazilian, that also probably played a part.

    Probably it affects people. Top NFL, NBA, etc stars dominate sports news, their contracts and salaries get public attention, so I think it has impact.

    Also kids have so many options. In Brazil a kid might be obsessed with soccer from diapers until he's grown up. That's an advantage. Most American kids will dabble in multiple sports.

    Millions of kids try soccer, but most of them quit after a few years. I saw a stat that only 15% of US youth soccer players are over 14 years old. Besides, most kids will play soccer in summer, basketball in winter, baseball in spring, etc.

    Also, I think youth soccer development has big problems. Soccer is more of a wealthy kids' sport, there are exceptions, but most poor kids don't get much access to training. Youth development is mainly funded by parents, not by pro clubs and transfer fees, like in Europe or South America. US soccer federation doesn't even support development fees when a player goes pro (which is normal in other countries). So youth clubs are focused on attracting and pleasing wealthy parents, and in some aspects it goes against good player development.
     
  11. Nasser

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    Good to see LA out of it now, Montreal vs Toronto should be good, hopefully a Canadian team wins it this year.
     
  12. Diegan

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    FC Dallas just signed the other "young phenom" that is knocking around the youth leagues in the US, Jesus Ferreira. His dad is David Ferreira, former Colombian international and FC Dallas legend. He's holding out until he gets his US citizenship to play for us over Colombia. :36:
     
  13. Zalgiris

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    Haha the semi-finals delayed by at least half an hour because Canadians painted the penalty box wrong. They are now repainting it in front of sell out 61k crowd.

    It's not Montreal's usual stadium, so I assume some non-football employee did field measurements.
     
  14. Cena Never Give Up Gold Member

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    When do they announce fixtures for next season in Orlando next April and was looking to head to a game
     
  15. superleigh

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    do people actually watch this league ?

    any time a see highlights or games on sky the commentary does my head in plus the standard is pretty * anaw
     
  16. Zalgiris

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    Second leg of Seattle-Denver today. Toronto will be later in the week because they have the other football in the stadium tonight).

    Canada dominated TV ratings in the first leg. Montreal-Toronto was watched by over 1024k (over 1 mil) Canadians on average. 3.6 mil watched some part of the game. No info for Seattler-Denver game.

    During the broadcast they said that Montreal Canadiens game was relegated to a lesser TV channel that night, which is impressive. It would be comparable to some rugby or basketball match pushing Real Madrid out of prime TV in Spain.

    On the US side, on the other hand, there were 415k average viewers for Montreal-Toronto and 224k for Seattle-Denver.
     
  17. Nasser

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    I used to follow it when it was on Channel 5 years ago. I don't follow it that much these days but I do try and watch the big games. The standard is ok, I would say it better overall than the SPL standard. The atmosphere at some teams stadiums is also very good teams like Portland and Seattle have very passionate fans and make a lot of noise. It's a bit strange the draft system they have but the oddity also is a positive as well.
     
  18. mygirlmaria

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    Quite a good game ongoing. Montreal away to Toronto in a playoff game. M are 3-2 up from first leg, and now 0-1 up away tonight. Good atmosphere too!
     
  19. MacEwan23 My Balls Was Hot Gold Member

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    Toronto, yaaaaaaaaaaaaas!
     
  20. eire4

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    Looks good for Toronto to go and win their first MLS title now given they will have home advantage in the final against Seattle.