The big business news in the world of American soccer is the announcement by the Players’ Union that they have authorized a strike. Reports indicate that the Union is planning to strike on the eve of “First Kick” if a new deal isn’t reached. This provides the sides with a two week window to finalize a deal or face the the prospect of losing the nationally televised openers in Seattle and New York and full slate of opening week games.As these are pretty big showcase events for MLS, a strike could do real damage to the new season.
While the league has said that ticket sales haven’t suffered, there have been few announcement of new league partnerships, jerseys sponsors and other similar news in recent weeks. Fans are wondering aloud about ticket refunds for games missed, journalists are discussing the possibility of players leaving MLS for foreign leagues during a strike and dozens of other questions remain unanswered. There are no answers at this point; it is up to the parties and the mediator to make a deal.
Some say the players are holding the strike option for the most opportune time, and now we know that time. Others thought that the players don’t have the votes or the will to strike but that has been disproven. Others think that the threat of a strike can do real harm to the owners because it will slow the ability of teams to sign sponsors. Regardless, we are now twp weeks from the season and there is no labor agreement and no labor peace…yet the games go on. We will keep monitoring the situation, but for now….