I struggled to pick a topic this week because we have been covering a good amount of topics over the past two weeks. Indianapolis sports are in a slight lull as the Colts start to ramp up preseason football and the Indians are preparing for the playoffs and the other Indy based teams are in the off season. I thought about highlighting the Indians but I want to wait until next week so we can start diving into the road to the playoffs. I also thought about writing about the Colts but after a preseason game where we saw Luck throw six passes and the Bills trample the Colts I thought I would just leave the topic of the Colts for another week. Then it hit me…I have to talk about soccer…just one more time (at least).
This prompted me to think that the MLS may want to reconsider their 10 year growth plan. One of the criticisms or better put, concerns, is that the talent pool is shrinking and adding additional teams will dilute the overall high play of the MLS. If the MLS wants to expand maybe they should consider keeping 20 teams in the MLS and acquiring a league such as the NASL. Before you tune me out like I am crazy consider the following.
If the MLS acquires a league such as the NASL they don’t have to combine the leagues – they can still have two leagues. It simply provides them the option to move teams up and down between a “premier league” (MLS) and a “second tier league” (NASL). This would be very similar to how Europe has the Premier League and the Champions League. The MLS can set limitations and requirements for teams to be promoted or demoted into the differing leagues. Let’s assume the MLS did purchase the NASL and create the scenario I am describing. A system could be set up that the bottom three teams from the MLS after the season get dropped into the NASL and the top three teams from the NASL get promoted. Every year teams have the opportunity or risk of being promoted or demoted. Of course there will be concern around attendance and hurting the MLS attendance and revenue numbers if a small NASL team is promoted and a large MLS is demoted. This is where revenue guidelines can be created and eliminates the threat of lost revenue. Another guideline could require that any team being promoted into the MLS most have a stadium of a certain size and attendance above a certain level for at least three years. Certainly this will eliminate the opportunity for certain teams to be promoted but also provide an incentive for NASL teams to expand, build bigger stadiums and better teams that allow them into the MLS.
All I am saying is that the MLS should consider other ways of expanding and penetrating new markets. My plan will take longer and require more development but the payoff could be something great. Live, love and play like there is no tomorrow – thanks for reading.
The Marris Minute