Monday After

tfcBig weekend for Major League Soccer, with the finalization of the Bradley and Defoe deals and the rumored end game of the coming television deal.  Let’s start with the television deal, where John Ourand (and others) have reported that Fox Sports and ESPN will be the English language partners of MLS starting in 2015.  NBC is reportedly out after three years (successful on the screen, but not with ratings).  While the deal has not been finalized, there are suggestions that it will be for a long term of at least 7 seven years and could be worth $70 million per year, which is more than double the value of the current deal.  The details of the new deal may be announced as early as this week in Philly during the draft and convention.  Obviously, it is difficult to analyze this deal until it is finalized, but the rumors are certainly promising for the future stability of the league.

Of course the other big news over the last few days involves the voyage to these shores of both Mark Bradley and Jermaine Defoe.  The analysis of how these players will fit into the long tormented TFC side will be left to others, but potentially 9 figure  outlay for these two players bears mention here.  The signing of such prominent players is certainly a welcome development for fans of the league, but MLS is continuing to risk creating the have/have not culture the league has worked so hard to avoid.  We will have more about this issue once the deals are finalized and more details emerged, but TFC has certainly puts its chips on the table for 2014.

One final note.  MLSSoccer.com continues its tradition of outstanding coverage of the combine and draft. However, I am curious to see where you all get your draft coverage.  Drop a line with your favorite combine and draft follows and sites.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m not saying it’s right for MLS, but the “have/have not” culture certainly works for EPL. The big 5 clubs (ARS, CHE, MUFC, MC, & LIV) are the only teams anyone ever expects to have a chance to win the league, yet it’s still the most popular league in the world.

  2. It’s an open question whether the EPL “works” in spite of such disparity, or because of it. In US sports, a lack of parity signals softer support from fans. There are many US sports options (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA), why stick with a team, or league, that offers relatively little drama?

    In the EPL, a large majority of teams have not realistic chance at the title. And there are no “surprise” teams that come from nowhere to win the title (at least in the money-infused Premiership time-period).

    If we want to be honest, the EPL is salvaged by the Champions league and relegation, which makes more games relevant to something – just not the championship.

    So while we can argue whether the EPL would be better off with more parity – or if Champions League, Europa and relegation are enough. But where MLS does not have a meaningful Champions League, or Open Cup, and are not threatened by relegation – using the EPL as a guide for a US league does not make sense.

    And while not “proof” per se, the league most associated with parity (the NFL) pulls in Billions more than the EPL (9.5 v. 3.88, converted to USD) – and American football does not have the cultural connection world-wide that soccer/football does.

    Of course, the NBA and MLB also have greater revenue. So that may undermind the point.

    But generally, my opinion is that the EPL is underperforming due to lack of parity (and lesser fan engagement from the other 15 teams).

    Sources:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/sports-chart-of-the-day-nfl-revenue-still-dwarfs-other-major-sports-2012-10

    http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/news/news/2013-14/jun/deloitte-report-reveals-premier-league-revenue-record.html

  3. Very disappointed NBC is apparently losing MLS. They truly put a lot of time and effort into their telecasts, which were superior in every way to what ESPN and Fox did in years past.

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