The MLS has just recently announced ithe newest member of the MLS family. In addition to the Minnesota franchise, the MLS is adding two more clubs in 2017. And while TV ratings prove optimistic, and an interest for soccer in the U.S. seems to be very much existent, some concerns arise. Is bigger better? The league currently consists of twenty teams. However, more and more cities are appealing for a spot in the league. Four are already on deck to enter the league (Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Minnesota) and now Sacramento and San Antonio are attempting to make bids. The eagerness of potential investors is a positive sign for the growth of the league but Miami’s recent struggles to find a stadium to host their team has proven to be a debacle and a warning to the commissioner of the MLS.
First and foremost, the question arises on whether investors of new teams are willing to commit to, and supply their teams with the necessary resources to compete. Current teams such as Chivas USA, Montreal Impact, and the Chicago Fire (which happens to be located in one of the biggest markets in the U.S.) have failed to produce on the field for a very long time. If the new teams that are ready to jump into MLS action are unable to compete and produce at a high level, the quality of the league may downgrade dramatically. The growth of the MLS and the new TV deals have helped boost the league, but a drop in quality may put future deals at risk.
In addition, the question on whether the MLS should adopt the European format, in regards to league standings, still looms over the league, and is often discussed by U.S. soccer followers.. In Europe, and in most soccer leagues across the world, the worst teams are regulated to a lower division, while the best lower division teams are promoted. A potential European format will prove to be problematic for it can potentially scare off future investors. If a potential owner considers investing in a team, and that team underachieves and is regulated, the owner’s investment takes a serious hit. Players will be reluctant to join the team, the team’s finances also takes a considerable tole, and the future of the club is put in jeopardy considering the popularity and growth of soccer in the U.S. is still an ongoing process. Promoted teams will require significant investment in order to remain in the top-tier league, or risk a potential fallout as well.
Minnesota’s recent addition to the league has officials dancing in optimism, but the league must display some precaution in an attempt to avoid any catastrophes. The North American League League which had seemed to be the coming out party of soccer in America, had also expanded too quickly and it ultimately resulted in its downfall.