Pro/rel In The Usa

franchise646

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Ok first I have to say, I am not a supporter of the idea for pro/rel of teams. Especially in a country with soccer teams are starting every year, but there is a version of pro/rel that maybe Europeans might not like but we have been doing for a little over 100 years. That is the Major league baseball style of pro/rel for individual promotion to the major leagues and relegation to minors for players who do not preform well. In baseball you have to earn your way to the show, like MLS, MLB is a close system the minors are made up of teams owned by the big clubs and independent teams made up of players trying to earn there way into the show for the first time or trying to get back. So what do you think? Can this work or do want euro style pro/rel of teams.
 
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SayWhat44

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Ok first I have to say, I am not a supporter of the idea for pro/rel of teams. Especially in a country with soccer teams are starting every year, but there is a version of pro/rel that maybe Europeans might not like but we have been doing for a little over 100 years. That is the Major league baseball style of pro/rel for individual promotion to the major leagues and relegation to minors for players who do not preform well. In baseball you have to earn your way to the show, like MLS, MLB is a close system the minors are made up of teams owned by the big clubs and independent teams made up of players trying to earn there way into the show for the first time or trying to get back. So what do you think? Can this work or do want euro style pro/rel of teams.

They already do this. The only players going to the minor leagues in baseball are the fringe players and young players. Those players in the MLS are already being loaned to USL Pro teams. The big money and under preforming players in baseball never get shipped down to the minors. You won't see Alex Rodriguez playing for Trenton next season outside of a rehab start even if he's hitting .150.
 

Fantazma

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Same way you will most likely never see city, united, Chelsea, real Madrid or Barcelona ever go down.
true, unless the financial bubble bursts and owners bail on the clubs they own leaving them to die out.

As for Pro/rel here in the US i dont see it happening because of the hefty fees paid to get a new club into the league.

Maybe if the amount of teams grow too much nearing 30 teams then maybe split and make a an "MLS 1 and MLS 2" and promotion/relegation between both of them. Plus TV contract would include MLS 1 and MLS 2, but all that is just some farfetched idea i just thought of. Dont think its even feasible but just threw it out there.
 

franchise646

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true, unless the financial bubble bursts and owners bail on the clubs they own leaving them to die out.

As for Pro/rel here in the US i dont see it happening because of the hefty fees paid to get a new club into the league.

Maybe if the amount of teams grow too much nearing 30 teams then maybe split and make a an "MLS 1 and MLS 2" and promotion/relegation between both of them. Plus TV contract would include MLS 1 and MLS 2, but all that is just some farfetched idea i just thought of. Dont think its even feasible but just threw it out there.
yeah I'm not saying lets do team pro/rel in the U.S. For one this country is big enough to support 30 team in it's top league. You would need 40-50 teams, with multiple teams in top us markets to make it viable. That mean 2-3 in the top 5 N.A. Markets
 

Fantazma

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yeah I'm not saying lets do team pro/rel in the U.S. For one this country is big enough to support 30 team in it's top league. You would need 40-50 teams, with multiple teams in top us markets to make it viable. That mean 2-3 in the top 5 N.A. Markets

Yes the country is big enough to support the 30 teams, the only concern is scheduling as probably all teams will face each other just once and maybe nearby teams face each other more times. Thats not including US open cup, concacaf champions league. Also expanding too fast is also a problem as the talent pool will be of less quality with too many teams but thats another issue.

I personally like promotion relegation but again, i just dont see it happening in the US for reasons mentioned before.
 

Vinjay

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Garber said today that there isn't a chance in hell of a promotion/relegation system soon. Well he didn't put it quite that bluntly but he certainly spoke definitively on the subject.
 
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MrE

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Same way you will most likely never see city, united, Chelsea, real Madrid or Barcelona ever go down.

I am not getting involved in this debate ! As I have stated before in another on the same subject, in Europe, and certainly England Pro / Rel is the lifeblood of the lower leagues.

But your quote could have been related to Blackpool, Preston, Wolves, and Burnley to name a few 50 years ago
 

NYCFCFan10

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I think there should be no promotion/relegation in the top division.

If you want to run pro/rel from tiers 2 through whatever below, fine. The money they rake in, so far, isn't great enough to really create a massive amount of separation from one division to the next. The top division, on the other hand, has too much money for P/R to make any real sense. Clubs like ManCity, Real Madrid, ect. are able to financially separate themselves from those that are being financially destabilized by promotion and relegation or merely the threat of relegation.

The only thing I'd like to see MLB and the NBA add is an FA Cup-style tournament where NBA and MLB players would play against the lower league teams. I know the NBA is thinking about that idea, don't think MLB is.
 

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Eh, I have a much more long-term view of these things. I can absolutely see a time when City, United and Chelsea all get relegated again. It's at least 50 years in the future and will depend on the sport having some major culture change, but I just don't see football as being a sport which will settle into a pattern from which it then never changes from now until the end of time. The age of big money may collapse. FFPR may fall through and we may see a number of billionaires from around the world suddenly make the likes of Ipswich, Nottingham Forest and Swindon Town become the new super-elite. Abramovic might pull out and cause an unprecedented collapse, reducing Chelsea to years as a yo-yo team. Heck, Putin might even start World War Three, making professional football an impossibility and reducing famous football teams to handfuls of irradiated survivors keeping the old names alive as they venture out of their secure bunkers. Whatever happens, I can see some big clubs being humbled by the end of my lifetime.



Anyway, back on topic, I stated my view on pro/rel a long, long time ago on this forum - back before most people here were even on the forum - and I still don't have the energy to re-write it, but sufficed to say that I'd like to see pro/rel be introduced into the US from the bottom up. Start it at youth level, then college level, then USASA and PDL etc, then make NASL and USL a two-tiered league, and then once all of these steps have been done and 30 years have passed, maybe the new generation of franchise owners will become more amenable to a gradual introduction.
 

franchise646

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Anyway, back on topic, I stated my view on pro/rel a long, long time ago on this forum - back before most people here were even on the forum - and I still don't have the energy to re-write it, but sufficed to say that I'd like to see pro/rel be introduced into the US from the bottom up. Start it at youth level, then college level, then USASA and PDL etc, then make NASL and USL a two-tiered league, and then once all of these steps have been done and 30 years have passed, maybe the new generation of franchise owners will become more amenable to a gradual introduction.

Yeah that sounds like it is not going to happen, cause each one is a different business. Again the only pro/rel I ever seen happening one the us is the way Baseball does it. Players who do well get called up to the Majors, players who sick get sent down to USL.
 

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I made this post elsewhere to explain to a friend how it could work in the US, so I'll go ahead and leave it here.

Any chance? Sure.

Is it likely to look exactly like England? Doubtful.

As it stands right now, there's a tiered system without promotion and relegation.

It's important to know the politics of how the leagues work before I can really talk about what a system would look like. That's because MLS is expanding madly right now, and who gets pulled from where is pretty important.

If you want to just hear about what I think the system would look like, though, scroll down to "Here's where it gets more speculative."

Your leagues are:

  • MLS - the defacto Tier 1 league. Single entity structure, so MLS (for legal reasons) owns the teams and "owners" serve as "operators". That's all BS for legal reasons. LA, New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire - all MLS teams.
  • NASL - Also lays claim to being a direct competitor to MLS as a tier 1 league, but does not have the TV contract that MLS does. Owners own the teams - not single entity. Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos are in NASL.
  • USL - Formerly USL Pro. It's applying for Tier 2 status. It houses a bunch of your "2" squads - the reserve squads for LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders FC, etc. It also has some "independent" clubs like Louisville City FC. It's important to note, though, that as of a year or two ago, MLS requires all MLS clubs to have a USL affiliate, sort of like a minor league club, that they loan 4 players to a year. For example, Orlando City has Louisville City as an affiliate, and they loan 4 players a year to that club. It's pretty much AAA baseball, but the player rights are a bit different.
  • Developmental leagues - There are all sorts of developmental leagues. Some are USL branded, some aren't. We're going to ignore these for the time being, because there's zero chance of these clubs ever being built into the USA pyramid.

So as it stands right now, MLS and NASL are direct competitors. The thing is that right now, the New York Cosmos are the one marquee team in NASL that aren't currently trying to swing their way into MLS.


The "NASL vs MLS" argument is a totally different long post, but I'll summarize it here. The key point to remember is that NASL and MLS *hate eachother.*


NASL functions more like a traditional soccer league. Owners own the teams and the contracts. The rules are relatively transparent. However, their TV deal sucks, and some of the clubs are in smaller markets.


MLS is a weird hybrid between a traditional soccer league and the NBA with rules that no one really understands and the league doesn't care to explain. The league was set up in the early 90's and includes your biggest markets. By US Soccer standards, they have a fat TV deal because the MLS TV rights were included with the US National team rights. They get ESPN2, Univision, and Fox Sports 1 coverage for games literally every week. Owners give up a lot of control, but they're okay with it because of:


  1. Increased exposure and fat cash due to TV deals
  2. Limited liability with a LOW salary cap - the single entity structure screws players to benefit the owners
  3. NCAA's feeder system into MLS through the Superdraft
You've seen a few major NASL clubs (Minnesota United, Atlanta) prepare for the jump to MLS. This has put NASL on somewhat shaky footing. The Cosmos are a big deal and hold down Long Island, but they're losing a few major markets.


You do also see MLS pulling new clubs from USL if the attendance is high and it's a big enough market. Sacramento Republic is a USL club that is about to be announced for MLS. Orlando City was just pulled from USL (which prompted OCSC to build USL's Louisville City FC, by the way.)


So if your support is big enough and you're prepared to pay a ridiculous buy-in fee (NYCFC's was $100 million, and that doesn't even count the stadium they haven't built yet), it really doesn't matter which league you were in.


So now that we've gotten that out of the way...


This is shaking out as follows, in my view. Many will disagree.


MLS is expanding madly right now. They're currently at 20 teams with a second LA team, an Atlanta team (new, but possibly connected to NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks), a Miami team, NASL's Minnesota United, and USL's Sacramento Republic. They're more than likely to expand even more beyond that - 2020 is the target date for major change (but that's likely lip service.)


MLS' theft of NASL clubs has really been a thorn in NASL's side. With Minnesota United heading to MLS, they'll be down to 10 teams, and none west of San Antonio. They have really limited reach right now. As a result, you'll see them try to expand, but I'm not sure where they're pulling teams from. If Indy or San Antonio, as rumored, make a push for MLS, that will *really* hurt NASL. The Cosmos are the lynchpin holding the league together, but if they're the only club of note, that's an issue.


Here's where it gets even more speculative.


This is a hot take that will piss some people off (including one I know of on this board -- sorry), but if Indy and San Antonio are accepted into MLS, my guess is that the Cosmos try to force their way in to MLS with some exceptions on branding and ownership, and the rest of NASL is folded into USL. I could be wrong on that, but there just aren't many markets expanding into NASL right now.


If that happens, you've got a two tiered (professional) system where the two groups play nice.


Once that happens, they have to sell current owners on the fact that promotion and relegation makes their own clubs more valuable. If they can do that, which is an amazingly tall order in the US (the Hunts will hate that idea)...


If they can pull that off, I'm betting that the following things happen.


  1. All MLS clubs are required to manage a second team affiliate in USL. (NYCFC II, New York Red Bulls II, etc.) This will be the entirety of USL.
  2. All currently independent USL clubs (plus the ones folded in from NASL) will join MLS. The MLS will then be up to about 40 teams, then creating a two tier structure -- MLS I and MLS II. You then see promotion and relegation among these two leagues, creating a synthetic pro/rel pyramid. Not at all like you see in England, but enough of a taste of it to integrate all US soccer leagues into one navigable system.
So, provided NASL doesn't hit a few home runs here -- they could -- this is my idea of how to make it work without folding clubs.


Do I think it'll actually happen? Probably not. I do think that, at the rate MLS is expanding, a 2 tier system makes sense. I just know that US owners actually want to turn a profit (unlike many in Europe), and getting demoted to the second league could mean a major hit to the bottom line.


If they can sell owners, though, that the system would generate more money with pro/rel, then it could happen.
 

Falastur

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It's an impressive bit of text, but you lost me at the end.

For a start - as you might well agree with - simply put, implementing a pro/rel system will not make clubs more valuable. Well, it'll make USL clubs more valuable, but it's going to take a chunk off the value of those MLS teams which are likely to get relegated in the next few seasons, which might be most of them depending on how it plays out and how many relegation spots you have.

Secondly, and this is more of a genuine query, though one I'm getting caught up on - if you turn USL into a league full of reserve teams, then how does relegation work? If, say, Houston Dynamo got relegated then do you end up with them playing in a league against their own reserve team? And what teams remain in USL to get promoted? Are you proposing that the reserve teams can actually get promoted to MLS? And if that's the case, then how long before you end up with a club having its reserve team in MLS and its senior side in USL? Obviously if that ever happened then they'd rotate the stronger players into the reserve team, but it still makes a bit of a nonsense of the whole system.

If you ever end up with a situation where USL merges into MLS in the way that you propose then I think you're more likely to end up with it just falling back into the MLS Reserve League system that operated before.