Saturday, August 6, 2016

USA's Place in the Transfer World

Since 2010 FIFA TMS has been pulling the world of player transfers together. It's a complex world, but you had to start somewhere. FIFA TMS is that place. All transfers (a-hem, legal transfers) have to run through the TMS process.

Soccer is as global as things get, so it's a lot of data to absorb. But, as things of this nature tend to do, information will become more clear and easier to understand. Maybe that's happening now (probably).

Today I am digesting a couple recent reports I've wanted to get to for a while. One is the Global Transfer Market Report and the other drills down on the Americas. Both are available over at FIFA TMS. Most reports are $99, a yearly subscription is $750 - required materials for anyone who writes about this side of the sport, even if it's just a little bit.

It's a mountain of information to sift through, so let's start with overall spending / receipts and go from there.

No surprises at the top. What is revealing here, however, is England are spending double the next closest country, which is amazing. While they do receive the most for players in return ($529m) it's nowhere near the spend of $1.26b. Another callout is that Portugal received $436.3m in fees last year. It matches up a bit with their success in EURO 2016. Score one for the Market telling us where the talent currently is. You see that Germany and France are right there as well.

Where is the United States? In 2015 the country spent $25.6m on 313 players and received $7.5m on 261. If that's not a jolt, I'm not sure what is. Things are looking better the first half of 2016 with $12.1m already received on 181 players in the Winter window. I'm not sure how much will be done in the summer, but it's low either way.

Going into this year I had a general idea of where things fell for the richest country in human history but did not have my hands on a YOY summary like the one in the figure. This summer we have seen more spending by MLS so the net positive balance will likely be erased come next report. It's hard not to be frustrated when looking at this. It runs contrary to just about every other global industry we participate in. It's so closed.

Next door neighbors, Mexico are fairing better, but the are still minnows in the larger transfer market ocean. Both spending and receipts jumped before the last World Cup but receipts dropped directly after (similar to the USA). It marked the first year Mexico had a large negative balance. I'll have to think about why that might be. Comparatively, much less is spent in both Mexico and the United States than the rest of the world, so selling just one quality player (5-10 million) greatly impacts total receipts.

All I've got for today. Loads of info to still get to. Thanks for reading.

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