Saturday, December 27, 2014

Still Bored? A Sequel to: Fall to Spring it Be!

Read the previous blog post here. Not really necessary.

Not realizing my first attempt at filling Major League Soccer’s SIXTEEN consecutive weeks of naught, also known as the offseason, or more accurately known as THE INSIGNIFICANT BLACK HOLE OF INSIGNIFICANCE, would be so popular, I’ve decided to sequalize.

Disclaimer: While this learned article is worthy of publication in The Journal of Online Soccer FunWishery and strictly adheres to the unimpeachable, universally agreed upon, totally copacetic and infinitely adequate standards set forth in the Journal’s Guide to Writing FunWishery, I hereby state unequivocally and without preposterousness that, regardless of your or anyone else’s opinion, my opinion, contrived, arrived at and singly contemplated using the above unim…blah, blah, blah…standards found in The Journal of Online Soccer FunWishery’s Guide to Writing FunWishery, the Major League Soccer regular season should start in early August, flow through approximately December 20th, take a break for something close to three weeks, or maybe twenty one days, whichever comes first, and then all teams should gather in a city, or two cities, possessing substantial winter warmth and string bikinis for perhaps fourteen days plus seven days, or maybe seven plus seven plus seven days, where all Major League Soccer players will run, jog, walk, juggle, kick and generally move about for the edification of team paraphernalia wearing, Guinness and Whiskey drinking, blabbering, blogging, twittering and instapicturing Fan-Bobslobberer’s, before recommencing the Major League Soccer regular season in early February, or any other month of the year that starts with the letter “F” and ends with the letter “WHY?.” Thus and then, the Major League Futsocbol season will “Spring” to life, erupting in all its fan-glorious Futsocbol hormonal glee, before climaxing in late May, or perhaps early June if it can continue sawing away like a lumberjack cutting deeper and deeper into virgin forest.     

Today’s installment will seek to compare and contrast the pros and cons of a potential Fall to Spring (F-S) Major League Soccer season with the current Spring to Fall (S-F) version.

The first order of business is the making of the dreaded list of applicable “stuff” which is common to both the F-S and S-F narratives of Major League Soccer. The second component of this astonishing Helltown Beer blog post is the insightful evaluation of the “stuff’s” influence on Major League Soccer’s rate of growth/success.

List of “Stuff” (in no particular order and non-exhaustive, though, I’m exhausted)

Business Concerns
Length of Breaks in Schedule
Other Revenue Seeking Teams, Competition, Sports

Let’s start with number one (what a clever idea).


The current season format, S-F, has two weather related issues. The MLS Cup, due to being held at the home of the participating team with the best regular season record, could end up in a very cold, snowy climate. Cold and snow are not much of an issue other than the final, though there is the possibility of some earlier playoff rounds being affected in this manor. Cold and snow should not be an issue at the beginning of the season as more Southern based teams join MLS. The first couple weeks of the season could be played at the home of clubs situated in warmer climates. The middle of the season, the summer months, can be brutally hot in some locales. Scheduling of games in the hottest climates could be moved to later in the evening, but this could pose a problem flexibility wise and for Television.

The F-S format would avoid the heat issues by playing the first couple weekends in the league’s more Northerly cities. The winter issues would be solved, again, by playing the last couple weeks of the fall and first few weeks of Spring down south.

Conclusion: There are ways Major League Soccer can lessen the impact of weather regardless of the season running F-S or S-F. Weather should not be a serious factor.

2. Business Concerns:

This is a potentially very broad topic. Let’s try to keep it simple. The current format poses some significant issues in regards to player movement, as some of the better leagues around the globe play F-S, making buying and selling players from and to those leagues problematic. I will profess to know little about such things, and so, will leave it at that.

Conclusion: I do believe changing to the F-S format would help expedite player movement in and out of MLS, which should, in theory, lead to MLS teams improving at a faster pace. This is factor of some impact.

3&5. Media/Other Revenue Seeking Soccer Competitions, Teams:

S-F format has a number of serious issues, in regards to media/other, when compared to F-S format. The summer months find the mainstream media, and the soccer media, focusing on things like the World Cup, EUFA Championship, high profile teams (Barcelona, Manchester United, etc.) travelling to the States, Gold Cup and other competitions. These competitions draw an inordinate amount of attention away from Major League Soccer at precisely the time the S-F regular season should expect to enjoy the most attention.

Without promotion and relegation, the playoffs and cup final, arguably the part of any professional sports season that should really ignite the media fires, run head-to-head with the most exciting bit of the College football season.

F-S would have regular season games going up against College and Professional Football, not the playoffs. F-S would also bypass the issues of trying to compete with the biggest soccer competitions in the world.

Conclusion: These things are a HUGE issue. They, especially the summer, are a large portion of the season.

4. Length of Breaks:

For most of the teams and players in Major League Soccer the S-F offseason is ridiculously long (see the above description of a black hole). From the first week of November to the beginning of March there are NO regular season games! I repeat, for SIXTEEN weeks there is not a single meaningful game for most Major League Soccer teams.

A F-S season allows ALL teams to play more games during what is typically the best soccer weather in the States, Fall. F-S easily cuts the winter break down to only eight weeks, maybe less, and creates a natural period of time to develop a truly delightful winter tradition. The F-S format also makes for a seven to eight week summer break.

Overall Conclusion: The F-S format keeps Major League Soccer in the public conscious on a virtually year round basis. F-S allows MLS fans the chance to, during the summer months, focus for a few weeks on other competitions and not have those competitions dim the view of their league. While many S-F devotees laud the summer months, I believe the summer months seriously harm the growth of the league in terms of perception, attention, and potential profit. F-S allows for easier movement of players. F-S keeps the penultimate weeks of the Major League Soccer season away from the most popular sport in the United States. As I mentioned in my previous post, MLS playoffs going up against the first few rounds of the NBA and NHL playoffs is vastly superior to what they compete with currently.

This is not an exhaustive look at this issue. I think it’s a good start. Would like to hear differing opinions with some specifics to back them up.

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