Let’s be blunt.
Promotion/Relegation will never happen in America. In this age of Major League Soccer expansion where it seems like everyone and their grandmother wants to have the next franchise, inevitably PRO/REL comes up.
Take a trip with us to the Example Internet Message Board…
Internet Poster A: Yeah, bro, MLS is going to expand to 32 teams by 2021 and they are going to be Pittsburgh, Bismarck, Anchorage, El Paso, NYC5, and Little Rock!
Internet Poster B: We need PRO/REL so the West Plains United FC Athletica Sporting MO can make it to MLS because they have 3 people every game!
Stop, just, just stop it.
MLS is trying to make the Big 4 the Big 5. What are things that make the Big 4: NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL the most lucrative sports leagues in their sports in the world?
They all have huge TV contracts.
They all have around 30 teams.
They have the same teams year to year.
They all originate from the US of A.
All of these are well and good but the main reason that MLS is never going to go the way of all the other soccer leagues in the world is the first item. Why? Because Americans are not going to watch sub-tier versions of their favorite sports on television. Nobody watches NBA D-league. Nobody watches minor league baseball. Nobody makes a huge amount of money signing stars to play in these leagues because they are boring leagues.
MLS needs to have star players making fantastic plays like Jordan, Bird, and Johnson did for the NBA in the 80s and 90s. It needs to be Must See TV. If you have Chivas, DC United and the Quakes get relegated to some MLS II, do you think they are going to get watched? They’re barely getting watched as it is.
And don’t come with that weak “Well we need to have a strong pyramid” garbage. Do the other leagues have strong pyramids? No of course not, they have college which is a completely separate societal and skill level grouping.
Americans expect professionals to be professionals. Professionals who don’t cut it are losers and like Patton said, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.”
Just imagine if the Cavs sucked last year, and now they are playing in the Not Good Enough Basketball Association this year. Yeah, no one would watch them.
Look, P/R works for England because they literally have over 40,000 “professional” clubs.
Obviously, there is nothing like that in the United States. Americans want the best of the best of the best playing a sport at the highest level. So stop being a poseur with your “It’s futbol not soccer” hipster act and get with the program.
P/R will kill soccer in this country. Step away from the ledge. Enjoy other leagues for what they are and realize that MLS is an American league and as such must appeal to the average American sports fan. MLS will play in the Spring to Fall. MLS will not have P/R. MLS will top out at around 30 teams. MLS will not suffer because of “diluted” talent pools. Are we clear? Good.
Now where did we put that Sacramento Republic FC schedule?