Sunday, May 22, 2016

Major League Farce

Yesterday the new New York team was beaten by the old New York team. The Old New York team doesn't even play in New York, but the new one does - just in a baseball stadium. The new one lost to the old one by SEVEN goals.

Meanwhile, in the second largest market in the US, a quarter full stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. came out to watch a last place team earn a rare victory. This team is branded the "Chicago" team. They haven't been good in years and it's gotten so bad, the league sent an official to run it.

What we witnessed yesterday is simply reminder MLS has failed to figure out the two biggest markets in North America. The critical failing is a result of MLS pushing the competition side of the business so far down the list of priorities they don't know what to do when it smacks them in the face and makes them look like an absolute farce.

The table says these teams are about equal quality. NYCFC has salaries over four times what NY Red Bulls. In MLS, we know that wages do not equal quality, of course, and that they are paid that because it is for the show. But what happens when that is exposed like it was yesterday. A 7-0 result? In a professional league? Where do you even begin with that?

Competition in the in the world of modern sports business has shifted so far off the actual field of play it's hard to even wrap your mind around what it actually is. For MLS, it's hard to figure a way back outside of shrugging your shoulders and writing the league off as just something else to follow until gridiron and the EPL returns late summer.

Of the things MLS needs to work on (and there are many), putting competition first, or at least higher up the list of priorities, is critically important. The days of spending on ticket selling names has to come to an end. Hell, it should have never had started. Rewards for failure in the league need to turn into punishments and honest rewards for good play should be implemented.

Basic things. Simple things. You've got to reward players, coaches and teams for success. It'll help get this league back into better standing and help it stand on its own two feet and not rely on its parent company SUM for survival.

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