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North American Leagues


Lift off in the MLS

It looks as if MLS in the United States is increasingly establishing a solid following.   Average attendances last year were 21,700, compared with 20,115 in the EFL Championship,   Atlanta United's match against Orlando City last Saturday attracted 70.425.   This broke a 21-year record dating back to the league's first season.

Catch 22 for MLS

MLS captured only seven per cent of the US television market for soccer from August to December.  A third of viewers watched the Mexican Liga, reflecting the importance of the Hispanic audience.   22 per cent watched the Engish Premier League.

Pro-rel back on the agenda in the States

The issue of promotion and relegation (or 'pro-rel' as it is called there) from MLS is back on the agenda in the United States, in part driven by activist fans on social media.  A poll has shown that 88 per cent of fans favour it, but the owners of the MLS are adamantly opposed.

It is argued that it is not part of American sporting culture in a franchise based system.   There is no promotion or relegation in the other major sports.

Mexican league a big hit on US TV

Mexico's LIga MX attracts a bigger audience for its televised games on a Spanish language channel than NBC's coverage of the Premier League.   The article looks more generally at the growing popularity of soccer on US television with quotes from football economics guru Stefan Szymanski.

How much of a success is Major League Soccer?

How much of a success is Major League Soccer?   The crowds continue to grow, but the league continues to lose money.  Incidentally, the statistics on attendances given here are presumably to some extent affected by stadium size.

The progress of the MLS

Major League Soccer has its 20th cup final this weekend.   It is therefore an appropriate time for a review of how it has developed over the last twenty years, providing the US and Canada with a successful professional soccer league.

MLS attendances up

MLS attendances in the United States are up by 16 per cent compared with the same time last year. Some of this increase is down to the expansion teams, New York City and Orlando City.  However, it is encouraging that no attendances under 10,000 have been recorded.

Stadium dilemma in US

Football in the United States faces a big diemma when it cames to staging tournaments or hosting visiting teams from Britain.   Do they use a purpose built soccer stadium which has smaller capacity?   Or do they use an American football stadium where the configuration of the field is wrong and the pitch is generally in a poor condition?

Becks get his Miami stadium

After many setbacks David Beckham has finally got permission to build a privately funded stadium in Miami for his MLS franchise.  The 25,000 capacity stadium will be built on the site of the Orange Bowl and next to the stadium of the Miami Marlins baseball team.

Beckham has been working on the project since 2014.  Plans to build a stadium on a waterfront site next to a basketball arena were rejected.   At one time it looked as if the project would never come to fruition.

MLS faces political challenges

Major League Soccer in the United States is facing increasing political challenges.   Taxpayers are increasingly unwilling to fund new stadiums.   Even if direct subsidies are not needed, tax breaks often are.