Friendly Season: Poll Time

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?  Respond to our Poll:

5 Responses

  1. I wonder how much money the MLS clubs actually make off of these games. From what I’ve read, the appearance fees for a club that’s going to draw a crowd— AC Milan, Chelsea, etc– are pretty steep. (Alternatively, you can have 12k show up to see Stoke without a big fee.) Often they’re also dropping money on fake grass.

    I don’t really like them or find them interesting. They’re preseason games. I’ll watch a few if I’m bored and nothing else is on ESPN3, but they’re basically the equivalent of NFL preseason games with the exotic Europeness thrown in.

    They’re sort of a necessary evil for MLS. They can play them and make some money or not get involved and watch them make money at non-MLS venues. I do wish that

    1) MLS would put in some sort of limit. Moving league matches (SL @ Vancouver last year) because of an exhibition is pathetic, etc.

    2) Not fawn over them so much (draping the banner of the faux-tournament “World Football Challenge” over a few scattered matches). The whole “we’re just excited to be here. we’re not worthy” act is a bit unbecoming.

  2. As long as MLS teams represent the league well then its not a problem, loved when NJRB beat Juventus and watched all of the Juve fans leave the game early b/c of the defeat. Beat the traffic chants ran through RBA….classic

  3. I think it makes the league appear second rate.

  4. I don’t have a problem with the teams coming here and playing each other, but getting the MLS involved mid-season always struck me as strange. When MLS teams send players to Europe in the off season, they play reserve sides which makes sense

  5. When the Euro teams come and play each other, MLS gets nothing. When they play MLS teams, MLS gets more exposure and a chance to show the league’s improvements.

    If the MLS teams get spanked I think it just reinforces hardened opinions of eurosnobs. If the MLS team ties or wins, then I think its a clear plus.

    The plusses are worth more than the minuses. Garber is right on with these games.

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