Over the last few days, the announcements of the annual parade of European club teams have begun in earnest. Chelsea, Tottenham & AC Milan are among the big name teams heading to the United States as part of their Summer preseason. These teams will play MLS franchises and each other in what has become an annual rite of Summer. MLS teams cash in on the big gates, the European teams get some exposure and fans get a chance to see their favorite European teams.
Over the years, fans have debated the merits of these friendlies. The European teams are desperate to spread their brand to an American audience in an effort to collect fans and sell jerseys on these fertile shores.
At the same time, MLS teams can generate a large pay day by selling seats to see the foreign teams play (and these European teams don’t come for free). MLS squads view these games as an invaluable opportunity to showcase their talents (and very existence) to soccer fans in the States who typically ignore MLS. Some teams believe so strongly in these opportunities, that they readily shift MLS regular season matches to accommodate the games.
Overall, we think that these games are great for MLS. Every time that a fan of a team like Manchester United, Barcelona or Real Madrid enjoys their experience at an MLS game, is an opportunity to create a fan who comes back to see the players for their local side. Moreover, these events typically generate substantial revenue for the MLS Sides.
What do you think? Are these friendlies a good idea?
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