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Soccer Trying to Make it in the Football World
In most countries, the name of the game sounds the same. Words like football, fussball, soccer, football… they don’t sound the same, they are the same game. However, in the US they call it football. Major League Soccer (MLS) as an American professional soccer league has been around for a long time.
Unlike other major American league sports, MLS does not dominate the global sporting public’s attention, nor is its champion crowned ‘World Champion’. MLS has undergone continuous development. Did it gain significant public and media attention in world football? No!
Soccer being the 2nd, 7th, or 10th most popular sport in the US doesn’t make a big difference, the American public will continue to follow the NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA. The global audience would follow those leagues with equal attention as they are the most prominent sports leagues in the world.
In recent years with the globalization of the media, the world sports scene has started to change; in that process, English football’s Premier League promotes itself as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ and is in fact the most popular and watched sports league in the world, with a current worldwide viewership of half a billion people and media revenue for the 2007 to 2010 seasons worth over $5 billion. If the world is going to watch soccer leagues like the English Premiership or Spanish La Liga, who is going to watch American major league sports besides domestic spectators? Will a part of the American public return to follow soccer leagues abroad? Such questions made football a problem in American sports.
Every now and then, MLS officials wake up from the slumber of being in the shadows of the 4 major US leagues around the time of the World Cup and it becomes clear how big the game of soccer is in terms of global public interest. , media attention, sponsors.
As the hype around the World Cup wears off, MLS would fall back into slumber. It would not be like this after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when the world public had a clear picture of the modern stadiums of European football, the contracts of millions of players… the attention of world sports occupied football.
This time it’s not MLS that will take the initiative to promote MLS, it’s the entire American professional sports entertainment industry. It’s an economic opportunity where the money swirling around world football was too big to miss or throw away.
In the summer of 2007, American soccer tried to take over world soccer by offering David Beckham a $250 million contract, the most expensive soccer player contract in sports history, some described it as a deal to bring Beckham to America. it is thought to be the greatest in the history of the sport. MLS sent a message to the world.
In the middle of the summer, when European leagues were between seasons and the waters were calm, MLS got the exposure it needed with news dominating the Beckham family’s move to LA. Has the global soccer media and public attention passed this story in favor of MLS? No!
Is $250 million long term exposure? Time will tell. Fall has arrived, European and international leagues are in full swing, world sports news publishes fewer articles about Beckham, LA Galaxy and MLS. To make matters worse, LA is unlikely to make the playoffs, giving the media less to write about.
In a league that had an overall loss of more than $350 million in the first 8 years after its inception (a BusinessWeek report from 2004), where currently only two teams, the LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, are profitable with 3 additional. teams expected to be profitable within a year, a $250 million investment in one player seems like a gamble. If so, what are the odds?
In recent years, several prominent players chose to take a step away from the biggest leagues of Europe and South America for a financially good contract with teams from the Gulf countries. Headlines reported rich transfer deals, although there was little follow-up in media coverage of those leagues.
Not to forget, before the arrival of David Beckham, MLS tried to gain exposure with Freddy Adu, an under-16 player who was crowned as the next Pel é. Adu received considerable media attention, the world knew he was playing for DC United of the MLS.
Many may or may not know that Adu, last summer at the age of 18, signed a contract in Europe with Benfica FC – Portugal. Before joining Benfica, Adu spent some time in the summer at Man Utd’s training camp, Alex Ferguson gave him no reason to stay.
Benfica paid the Salt Lake City club $2 million to sign the player’s release, and Adu will receive $1.2 million a year, a solid but not headline-grabbing contract. Adu was not on the list for Benfica’s Champions League match against Milan on September 18, compared to a player like Messi at Adu’s current age was already among the starting 11 for football giants FC Barcelona. MLS does not seem to have gained significant attention for the sport with Adu, nor has it contributed to his development into the world’s dominant player as expected. Throughout history, some of the best players of all time have played soccer in the United States, including Pelé, Beckenbauer, Eusebio…
After a decades-long effort that did not yield the hoped-for results for the success of American football, what difference can Beckham’s game (currently out for 6 weeks due to injury) make now? Let’s take a brief look at MLS, a professional soccer league that started in 1996 with more than 10 seasons of developing experience.
Logistics and facilities:
On the day this text is published, September 27, 2007, Beckham’s LA Galaxy play against the KC Wizards. SPORTiana.com, as the author of this text, had knowledge of MLS through the KC Wizards in the summer of 2006, a year before Beckham’s arrival in MLS. At the time, the KC Wizard head coach complained that he had himself and 2 other assistant coaches to run the team’s practice, forcing him to bench several players from the 26-man roster because he couldn’t everyone was on the field during training. in the same time.
The training facilities included an outdoor field and an indoor gymnasium used by the NFL team KC Chiefs, within the Arrowhead Stadium complex. The Wizard’s open air training ground was located next to the fence to the side of the KC Chiefs training grounds.
The grass on the Wizards’ court was almost split into rock-hard ground, a field many players took to practice to avoid injury. A head coach, 2 assistant coaches, fitness coach… NFL stadium and facilities… small office space in the corner of a stadium… would be a stark contrast to clubs from the leagues Beckham used to play in.
Most MLS players come into the league as drafted college players. College football usually means playing a player on a full-ride scholarship with their first pro contract signed at age 22 or older. In other countries, the first pro contracts are usually signed at the age of 18, at the age of 22 the player comes out of a 4-year contract and managers have a better understanding of a player’s abilities in professional football.
That means college players are 4 years behind. Signing the first pro contract at the age of 22, they would come out of the 4-year contract at the age of 26, at that time, the big clubs of the world football preferred to invest their money in a 22-year-old prospect who also had 4 years of professional experience in football. College players hardly pass by playing in the MLS (players first professional contract) on their way to the higher paying leagues as most foreign clubs would not sign a college league soccer player with no professional soccer experience at age 22 year.
Prominent American players such as DeMarkus Beasley ($2 million PSV – Netherlands, currently for £700,000 with Rangers – Scotland) or Tim Howard ($4 million Man Utd – England, currently with Everton after being loaned), joined MLS directly from high school. without playing football in college, just like Freddy Adu.
For the average football fan with the choice to watch a variety of matches, e.g. the giants of the game facing each other in the domestic leagues like last weekend when it was Man Utd vs Chelsea in England, Barcelona vs Sevilla in Spain, Roma vs Juventus in Italy, PSV vs Feyenoord in the Netherlands… Boca Juniors matches in Argentina, Lyon in France… there is little room for MLS.
A football fan wants to see competition, passionate fans, decades-long fierce rivalry between clubs, tradition, the best players in the world, well-known players with reputations to play for prestigious clubs, ultra-modern football-specific stadiums, most of which the MLS does not offer. MLS must gain the interest of the American public and media in order to gain the same interest as the world public. Hard-working, versatile players like KC Wizards’ Eddie Johnson or DC United’s Jaime Moreno, who proved their quality at this summer’s Copa America 2007, are the prototype players for a successful competitive league.
The state-of-the-art stadiums proposed by MLS for all-club soccer are a step forward. The German Bundesliga witnessed a tremendous increase in public interest and media attention domestically and globally before and after the 2006 World Cup, with a legacy of new and renovated old stadiums. MLS needs to internationalize as much as possible, the English Premiership did this, when foreign billionaires started buying clubs, world class players arrived in even greater numbers to make it the most watched and profitable league in the world. football in the world. Many writers have speculated as to why soccer is not as popular in the US as it is in some other countries, most of them pointing to the fact that the game does not have enough notes. Changing the rules of the game in favor of scoring more goals per game could come in handy this time.
Soccer is a powerful force, it has already changed the sports philosophy of the major North American league, MLS clubs are competing in the Super League and Copa Sudamericana, the new stadium of the New York Red Bulls will have a full roof “style European”, in 2007 MLS began selling advertising space on the front of the jersey (a floor of $500,000 per jersey sponsorship), following the practice of international soccer.
As Latin American immigration to the US increases, so does interest in soccer. With soccer being the most popular recreational sport for both boys and girls, MLS has potential. In 2006, Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner, expressed his expectation that the league’s clubs would be profitable by 2010 overall. LA Galaxy merchandise sales over Beckham’s next four years with the club may not top $600 million as they did during his time with Real Madrid, yet another MLS player to grace the covers of the magazine Sports Illustrated and draws a crowd of 66,000 to a packed house. Giants Stadium.
In David Beckham’s words about his move to MLS: “I’m coming there to play soccer… I’m not saying that coming to the United States will make soccer the biggest sport in America.” It is about taking a step at that time if football is to reach the world of football.
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