American league setup vs. European League setup: Your preference?

NYCFCFan10

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American league setup:
No Pro/Rel
Larger total number of teams (~30)
Greater revenue-sharing
More parity, smaller dynasties
two conferences/unbalanced schedule
Playoffs

European league setup:
Promotion and Relegation
Fewer teams (~20)
Less parity/larger dynasties
One table
Balanced schedule
No playoffs

Which do you prefer and why?
 

CP_Scouse

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i like the idea of playoffs. but in europe they work without them because of the x amount of cups and league cups.
what the US needs is more local teams. yea its great to have city and national teams, but the people living in the small-ass towns need some local team to support.
 
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NYCFCFan10

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i like the idea of playoffs. but in europe they work without them because of the x amount of cups and league cups.
what the US needs is more local teams. yea its great to have city and national teams, but the people living in the small-ass towns need some local team to support.
Between NASL and USL -- and I don't just mean USL pro, I mean all of USL -- there's tons of small clubs across the country.

Take a look:
http://www.uslsoccer.com/teams/
 
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MikeDatTiger

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I like a lot of the features of the Europeans leagues (because having everything balanced produces a fairer idea of a champion), but I think the geography makes it difficult to translate over here. England is about the size of Louisiana. Having a number of top flight teams in the area make it so that even if your side is relegated, there are number of teams close by that either still in the top flight or even fighting in the UCL. That's just not the case here in the States and that's before we get to things like different sports expectations (like expectations of a playoffs, etc.)
 

Falastur

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Having a number of top flight teams in the area make it so that even if your side is relegated, there are number of teams close by that either still in the top flight or even fighting in the UCL.

Not criticising, just curious - why is it relevant whether there are a number of other clubs locally who challenge for honours if your team is relegated?
 

MikeDatTiger

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Because having people in the community who are invested is more likely to keep your interest.

So for example, if you're in Chicago and the Chicago get relegated to a theoretical MLS 2. The closest team that would be playing in MLS would be...Columbus maybe? Whereas if Fulham get relegated, there are plenty of teams still in London that would drive media coverage, community discussions, etc.

Obviously that's not the only reason EPL maintains high interest in England, but I think relegation would hurt interest in MLS in cities in ways that you don't see in England, and necessary geographic distance between clubs is a large part of that.

Am I making sense? lol.
 

Falastur

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You're making sense, yeah. I get what you're saying. I thought you might be suggesting that, but I just wanted to check. I asked because I think that that viewpoint is probably one of the fundamental differences between a US fan and a European, but since I haven't had much exposure to US fans and fan culture, I wanted to be sure I was understanding correctly.
 

skelly412

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Because having people in the community who are invested is more likely to keep your interest.

So for example, if you're in Chicago and the Chicago get relegated to a theoretical MLS 2. The closest team that would be playing in MLS would be...Columbus maybe? Whereas if Fulham get relegated, there are plenty of teams still in London that would drive media coverage, community discussions, etc.

Obviously that's not the only reason EPL maintains high interest in England, but I think relegation would hurt interest in MLS in cities in ways that you don't see in England, and necessary geographic distance between clubs is a large part of that.

Am I making sense? lol.



When your team gets relegated you follow that team through the championship. You hope for promotion at first time of trying without the championship playoff and if you have to be in the playoff you hope that you have the honors in Wembley. As a West Ham fan, I would never root for another team especially not in London if my team got relegated. There are plenty of games to see my team
 

Johnny

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I actually had a discussion with my friend yesterday about MLS vs European league set up. I think the reason we have the western and eastern conference is largely due to what was said earlier about size. Our country is so big that its inconvenient to play an even schedule like that. Also, playoffs are here because MLS was established after NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL so our country is used to playoffs; we like them, and there would probably be a lot of pissed of fans if the season ended with the supporters shield winner being the champion. Lastly, the reason I think relegation wouldn't work here is that soccer is still growing. The teams in the lower levels don't have the fan base, money, or venue to support a MLS franchise. Look at all the work Orlando is doing to get up to MLS level. I think those lower teams would struggle to stay afloat. Also, I agree the real fans would stick by a demoted team, but a large portion of people probably wouldn't, and T.V. wouldn't pick up those games so the MLS teams would lose a lot of money too. Overall, I think we are set up because soccer hasn't been pick too long, so we had to model the league after the current, successful leagues to gain American support.
 
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NYCFCFan10

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I actually had a discussion with my friend yesterday about MLS vs European league set up. I think the reason we have the western and eastern conference is largely due to what was said earlier about size. Our country is so big that its inconvenient to play an even schedule like that. Also, playoffs are here because MLS was established after NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL so our country is used to playoffs; we like them, and there would probably be a lot of pissed of fans if the season ended with the supporters shield winner being the champion. Lastly, the reason I think relegation wouldn't work here is that soccer is still growing. The teams in the lower levels don't have the fan base, money, or venue to support a MLS franchise. Look at all the work Orlando is doing to get up to MLS level. I think those lower teams would struggle to stay afloat. Also, I agree the real fans would stick by a demoted team, but a large portion of people probably wouldn't, and T.V. wouldn't pick up those games so the MLS teams would lose a lot of money too. Overall, I think we are set up because soccer hasn't been pick too long, so we had to model the league after the current, successful leagues to gain American support.
Yep. There's also the little problem that in America, unlike Europe, the difference between NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and hopefully soon, MLS is relatively small so people can switch between their sports teams pretty easily. Football team sucks but the Baseball team is rocking it? Ok, I'll just watch baseball then. Then you add in the college sports element on top of it. It's all something that doesn't really exist in Europe.

I mean I know there's a pro Rugby league in England -- but I can't name a single team in it. Why? The sport just doesn't have the traction in its own country to where someone outside the country would ever see or hear from it. Actually, that's not true, I know Wigan is fairly decent in the sport. Though I have no idea how I know that. Crickett, I don't have the slightest clue about anything other than national teams. Where's the Derek Jeter or Lebron James of their 2nd and 3rd sports? I recall seeing a Rugby player on Top Gear once but that's the only time I've ever seen an interview with one of them.

This is something else that I don't think the pro/rel squad consider as a different dynamic in America. In Europe, people support teams that are relegated because they're still the biggest thing around even after they've gone down but if you're in America, why pay attention to a Boston soccer club in the second division when you have the Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots all winning championships in the top division? Your hardcore soccer fan might but your casual sports fans would not.
 

Falastur

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I mean I know there's a pro Rugby league in England -- but I can't name a single team in it. Why? The sport just doesn't have the traction in its own country to where someone outside the country would ever see or hear from it. Actually, that's not true, I know Wigan is fairly decent in the sport. Though I have no idea how I know that. Crickett, I don't have the slightest clue about anything other than national teams. Where's the Derek Jeter or Lebron James of their 2nd and 3rd sports? I recall seeing a Rugby player on Top Gear once but that's the only time I've ever seen an interview with one of them.

Rugby is actually very big in the UK (though nowhere near football level, which is of course astronomical). The issue is that we in the UK don't have the US mentality of following a number of sports interchangeably. It's rare to find someone who actively follows both football and rugby. People who like football generally hate rugby and those who like rugby generally despise football. Cricket is similarly broadly popular, but because of its slow pace is treated like a casual sport, a quiet day out if you feel like it. Both sports have their LeBron James' and Derek Jeter's, (for the record, I've never heard of Derek Jeter before) but because neither of them are interested in marketing to foreign audiences, you've never heard of them. You really have to be in one of the cricket/rugby countries to know about them.

In Europe, people support teams that are relegated because they're still the biggest thing around even after they've gone down but if you're in America, why pay attention to a Boston soccer club in the second division when you have the Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots all winning championships in the top division? Your hardcore soccer fan might but your casual sports fans would not.

That's actually kind of the opposite of the truth. In the UK, and indeed in most of the "football" (soccer) countries of the world, we have far less interest in regionalism. From a very young age you pick your football team - this is supposed to be your father's team, or failing that your local side, but inevitably a lot of pre-teenagers coming from families without a diehard fan in them just get seduced by success - and you are expected to stick by that choice for the rest of your life. Less-committed people do abandon their teams, or lose interest in them if they cease to be successful, but if you try to act as a diehard fan having previously switched teams, many of the hardcore support will simply refuse to acknowledge you, and will generally tell you to go back to supporting your original team. If you get mocked at school by fans of your rival team, and one day your team gets relegated and you tell them that you are going to support their team instead, you will get rejected by them, not welcomed.

The UK - indeed, Europe - is a small place, and even if you support a top-division team it's not unusual for your house to be closer to a better-supported, more successful team. Sticking by your team when they get relegated is nothing to do with the idea that your team is still the biggest thing around, because they inevitably aren't - there's always a bigger team than your own less than an hour's travel away from you.

For example, here is a map of London shaded by the areas of majority support for the different teams that play in London - and this is just for the professional football teams playing in the top four divisions of English football. There are many, many more non-league sides not shown here:

football_map.gif


If we wanted to support a club based on following the most successful local side, you'd expect Chelsea, Arsenal and maybe Spurs to just walk away with all of the support in London, and most of south-east England. In fact, the dedication you're supposed to have for your club generally leads you to wish failure and disappointment on every other team in the region, because any other local club is automatically a major rival.

The difference is, football fandom here is tribal. Once you are committed to a team, you're there for life, and you're expected to simply accept the resulting highs and lows, because getting bored and switching to another team is a sign of a poor supporter. This, then, adds to the highly emotional charge which those fans who actually go to the games (in particular) feel for their club, meaning that winning promotion back to the second tier when you have been struggling in the third tier for a decade can provoke pitch invasions, and why, if you watch closely, on the recordings of Manchester City winning the title for the first time in 44 years, back two seasons ago, all around you you can see images of grown men in floods of tears without a hint of shame. Even now it's far from uncommon to see a thread on MCFC's forums saying things like "try to watch this without crying" or "just in case you wanted to sob again". The emotional commitment is just so great that you love your club like a member of your family, and you hate the other clubs in your region like they were your mother-in-law.

Well anyway, this really isn't furthering the debate. I just felt like answering that point. Sorry if I derailed the conversation a little.
 
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NYCFCFan10

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When I said "Biggest thing around" I wasn't referring to biggest football club around.

I was referring to the fact that is still the biggest sporting club around as I suspect a Championship or even a League 1 club is still more popular than a top flight Rugby club.

No, being a fan is very much the same thing in America. You can't switch allegiances. Many theorize this is why Florida clubs do so poorly in attendance despite the massive population in Florida (it's about to surpass NY in population). There's a massive population of people there from northern states that won't switch to the Florida clubs.

People in America obviously have favorite sports and sports they don't want to watch under any circumstance. But a lot (most?) do follow multiple sports. It probably stems from the fact that our sports growing up are attached to our schools. Your school has a football team, baseball team, basketball team, soccer team, hockey team, ect. Your friends are on all the teams, you play on a few yourself. So you grow up with an interest in multiple sports if you like sports at all usually.

This is Derek Jeter:
130332-actress-minka-kelly.jpg


Probably regarded as the best Yankee in 30 years.
 
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Falastur

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Ah right, fair enough.

As for a Championship/League One club compared to a rugby club, I'd say that your average Champ/L1 side is about the same profile as a top-division rugby side. The problem, as I say, though is that football fans hate rugby and rugby fans hate football. That's the real reason why people don't switch to another local team here - we just couldn't care less about the local teams in other sports.
 

MikeDatTiger

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When your team gets relegated you follow that team through the championship. You hope for promotion at first time of trying without the championship playoff and if you have to be in the playoff you hope that you have the honors in Wembley. As a West Ham fan, I would never root for another team especially not in London if my team got relegated. There are plenty of games to see my team

Yeah, and I'm not saying you would switch to becoming a Chelsea fan. What I'm saying is that your interest in hating Chelsea keeps you interested in EPL and UCL even in that scenario because there's a local squad in that. Your passion then becomes passionately rooting against them. Whereas if in MLS, Houston gets relegated, their bitter rival is 3 to 4 hours away. That makes a huge difference, and that's before you start factoring in other sports.

As for US, your fandom goes by locality. You can have a favorite, but you're generally kinda of expected to support all your hometown teams. You're also expected to root for your alma mater in college sports, and if your alma mater isn't in the top tier of collegiate sports you may root for two colleges since their paths rarely intersect. That's a general rule, though people have their favorite sports and some people reject college for the pro sports or vice versa.

Of course, there's also the difference in that sometimes your hometown isn't going to have teams from all sports. So for example, I live in New Orleans. We have an NFL team and an NBA team, but no MLB or NHL team. There isn't much interest in hockey here, but there is baseball so you'll see people around town wearing hats from some of the big national MLB clubs like the Yankees, red Sox, Cubs. There also is some interest in the "local" sides of the Houston Astros or the Atlanta Braves, but "local" means 5 and 8 hours away, respectively.
 
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Andy

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I don´t think you can compare them, I mean.. USA is about the size and population of Europe, try creating a 30 team league in Europe using American criteria and you´ll get stuck just choosing what team from places like London, Rome and Istanbul to have in that league
 

NYCFCFan10

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I don´t think you can compare them, I mean.. USA is about the size and population of Europe, try creating a 30 team league in Europe using American criteria and you´ll get stuck just choosing what team from places like London, Rome and Istanbul to have in that league
Europe has like 2x the population of America and Canada.

Russia - 140 million
Germany - 80 million
Turkey - 76 million
France - 67 million
Italy - 60 million
England - 50 million
Spain - 46 million
Ukraine -44 million

563 million just among the large countries.

They obviously have more clubs but I think, if you took the big 5 countries -- Germany, Spain, England, France, and Italy and you took their true A-list clubs I think you'd get something like this:

Spain - Barcelona and Real Madrid -- maybe Atletico Madrid.
France - PSG, Monaco, Marseille
Italy - Juventus, AS Roma, AC Milan, Inter Milan, maybe Napoli, Fiorentina
England - ManU, ManCity, Chelsea, Arsenal,Liverpool
Germany - Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund


You could argue for a few more or a few less here and there but there's only about 20 MUST HAVE teams in my opinion amongst the Big 5. You can round out the numbers with clubs like Celtic, Ajax, Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Galatasaray, and CSKA Moscow but I think you could make a MLS-Europe quite easily if money wasn't a thing.
 

Andy

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Ah, but the American criteria is putting a team in the 30 biggest TV-markets.. To get a "footprint" on the whole continent.
 
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NYCFCFan10

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Ah, but the American criteria is putting a team in the 30 biggest TV-markets.. To get a "footprint" on the whole continent.
No its not.

Its ~30 now but it wasn't always ~30 and it might not always be ~30. I could see any of the major leagues going to 40 teams when we have a population that makes it make financial sense.
 
It's already been touched upon, but geography is one of the keys here. The USA is bigger than Europe (or it isn't if you include Russia), and the European system (or indeed the Worldwide system) would struggle. If footy had taken a stronghold in America as it has done everywhere else, then perhaps you would see it, with several clubs from NY, NJ, PA, etc all playing each other, whilst CA, WA, et al, play against themselves.

Additionally, because it doesn't happen in other sports (baseball, NFL, whatever) the non-relegation format was always going to be carried over to MLS. Trouble is, relegation is a massive part of football, and as horrible as it is, fans need it so that they are able to judge themselves against others. There isn't a feeling like it to watch your team be promoted upwards.