Last month Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva offered 4 billion dollars for Major League Soccer’s media rights on one condition, that the league institute a system of promotion and relegation. Now he along with the Kingston Stockade FC of the National Premier Soccer League a 4th Division team, have filed a claim with the Court of Arbitration to mandate the United States Soccer Federation to adopt promotion and relegation in the United States on August 3, 2017. In a letter Kingston Stockade FC owner Dennis Crowley said in a release statement, “When it comes to soccer success, America lags behind the rest of the world. One reason is because our system is not an open system and is actually blocked from becoming an open system. “By embracing pro/rel and using this tried-and-true system, we would have a greater ability to unlock additional soccer markets, reward investment in those markets, and create new talent pools within the United States.” Really? Have soccer zealots learned the past history of American Pro Soccer Leagues that folded in the past? Do we really think that soccer in America is now suddenly going to be bigger than the big four in American Sports League; NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League if you have Promotion and Relegation? While we are currently witnessing a soccer renaissance in America with the growth professional soccer from Major League Soccer, United Soccer League and North American Soccer League we are witnessing a very vehement but very extreme movement of passionate soccer fans that want the world’s game in America to emulate like European Soccer and yet nobody ever bother to read history of past American Pro Soccer Leagues that have come and folded.
In the 1920’s an internal War broke out between the American Soccer League and their affiliated Clubs over who was head of organize of American soccer. American Soccer League and United States Football Association collided over smaller teams participating in the National Challenge Cup. It also led to a culture clash by mainstream American who saw soccer as being too far left leaning at a time where World World I erupted in Europe and countless court battles and lawsuits of smaller soccer clubs and League owners led to the demise of American Soccer League. In 1967 the FIFA-backed United Soccer Association and National Professional Soccer League played one season before merging in 1968 to form the North American Soccer League (NASL) but the league folded in at the end 1984 after teams spent millions on aging stars to try to match the success of the Cosmos while losing significant amounts of money in doing so. The Major Indoor Soccer League had a brief popular run in it started in 1978 only to fold in 1992. Major League Soccer remain to this day as the most successful Professional Soccer league in North America. The league has expanded to 22 teams and will add four more teams in the next coming years. Major League Soccer have exceeded that number of attendance of National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, in secured National TV and the league is now profitable, yet very hard Core soccer fans are convince that Promotion and Relegation will help raise the profile of their beloved sport. Sorry to say but this is very delusional and so self defeating. While soccer in America is gaining a great deal of interest it is not up their with the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. It is also questionable that is equaled to National Hockey League. As I recently wrote ” That America is not Ready for Promotion and Relegation,” one of the reason is that there isn’t a stable 2nd Division Soccer League with regards of the 2nd addition of the North American Soccer League that currently have 8 teams but have lost teams over the last 2 years. There is absolutely no guarantee that Promotion and Relegation would work in America and it could proof disaster after the building up the World’s Game. You can’t use European Soccer Leagues as an example which isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison for a list of reasons for many of you Promotion and Relegation Believers:
- Your local team is not in the top division and have slim chances of ever being in Division 1 soccer.
- You are not unwilling to admit how to implement the system of Pro/Rel “how it’s done everywhere else in Europe or in South America.
- The belief that pro/rel is a magic solution that will see their small market explode with billionaire money; spending millions of dollars on transfer fees and finding the next Lionel Messia, Neymar or Christian Pulisic to have on your team and fans suddenly coming from all over to support them; instant profitability and sustainability which is fairy tale.
- And lastly trying to maintain their fan base which could quickly give up on the club while they struggle to exist after losing tons of money after getting relegated to a lower division.
Here’s a question to Promotion and Relegation supporters if promotion is guarantee with good attendance, why does division 2 attendance see major decline in soccer-mad countries the world over? Example, Germany, Italy, France, England Spain and Scotland. Another problem is 2nd Division teams and other Minor League Soccer and Semi-Pro League teams don’t even meet the attendance number in lower division in European Soccer and in some cases don’t meet it in South American Soccer Leagues. And Finally every team that is trying to position themselves for promotion spends big to and a lot of those teams start to flounder and can’t maintain their status, case in point Chinese Super League in which 13 Soccer Clubs last month faced expulsion over unpaid debts. Now I’m fine with many supporters of Pro/Reg and wanting to advance American Soccer to another level but if you’re not facing reality, then you’re just wishing upon the demise of American Professional Soccer and know what existed in the past 100 years of Professional Soccer in America, years of a “free market” league failing and flailing time and again.