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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

North American Leagues

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Is MLS like a pyramid scheme?

Soccer economics guru Stefan Szymanski has controversially suggested that America's Major League Soccer has the appearance of a pyramid scheme.   MLS is losing over $100m a year, yet new franchises are often sold for over a $100m.

MLS attendances up

Major League Soccer attendances are up by 16 per cent so far this season, although this in part reflects the addition of new franchises and the opening of new stadiums.

No games have attracted crowds smaller than 10,000 and 68 per cent have had attendances of over 18,000, a figure comparable with one of the better supported Championship sides.

Major League Soccer or Minor League Soccer?

In many ways Major League Soccer in the United States is doing well.   It hopes to expand from 20 to 24 franchises by 2020.  It is appealing to so-called 'millenials' in the 18-32 year old age group who grew up playing soccer and watching the Premier League on television.

Globalizing through franchise expansion

Globalization has affected football in many ways, not always ways that fans like.   In England today, fans are demonstrating at what they see as excessively high ticket prices at Premier League matches with clubs having made an overall profit for the first time in 15 years.  A global labour market has certainly emerged and there has been foreign direct investment in clubs.

Could the US see promotion and relegation?

I must admit that I did not know much about the North American Soccer League (NASL), so I was interested to come across this informative posting.   Although regarded as a second tier operation, they are not set up as a minor league.   However, they have more of a community focus than the increasingly successful Major League Soccer (MLS).

Is football making a break through in the US?

It's a question which has been asked many times before and usually gets a positive but over optimistic answer.   However, the attendance of 109,318 for last night's game between Manchester United and Real Madrid was the biggest ever recorded in the US for a soccer game and was impressive by any standards. Apparently, the fact that the crowd sat on benches helped to cram them in.

Beckham seeks new stadium site

David Beckham's acquisition of the MLS Franchise for Miami has been far from plain sailing with continuing difficulties in finding a site for a stadium.   The first location at PortMiami was opposed by a cruise company and waterfront trade unions.   An alternative was opposed by local politicians.

Soccer still short of a breakthrough in the US

Every time there is a World Cup one can expect a slew of articles proclaiming that soccer has now 'established' itself in the United States.   To be fair, Major League Soccer (MLS) has made steady progress, but it is still some way behind the major traditional sports such as baseball and American football.

Is Miami the new Seattle? Becks thinks so

David Beckham is expressing great hopes for his MLS soccer franchise in Miami, but some commentators in the States are expressing doubts, particularly when Beckham starts making comparisons with the success of the Seattle Sounders.

I have lived and worked in Seattle. When I was there the Sounders were a minor league side playing in an inaccessible spot way out on the south side. Living to the north, I gave up and started to watch baseball with the Mariners instead.

Inter link up with DC United

Inter Milan is forming a 'strategic partnership' with Major League Soccer side D.C. United, with the clubs now having the same owner.

The deal, which was signed on Monday by Inter Vice-President Angelomario Moratti and D.C. United’s managing general partner Jason Levien, 'will include the sharing of team, organizational and competitive best practices.'

D.C. United is part owned by new Inter President Erick Thohir, who took charge of the Serie A club last month after buying a majority stake.