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I'm agnostic on the question of this particular financing model for an MLS franchise, but as a journalist who's been writing about the game for years, I wanted to take issue with comments on the sport's "marginal" status in the US. This is a matter of perspective.
The US has hosted three successful World Cup tournaments (two for women, one for men) and is a very healthy television market for competitions around the world. (The New York Times reported last year, for example, that 800,000 viewers in NYC alone watched a Latin American tournament game.) World Cup games now draw US television audiences as large or larger than many World Series games. Major European and Latin American clubs now view the US and Canada as an important emerging market.
Major League Soccer, while not on the level of the top four or five European leagues, is certainly as well-organized and -supported as most national leagues around the world. It would also seem to be perhaps the fastest-growing soccer league in the world. MLS clubs compete in international tournaments against top-tier clubs in Mexico and elsewhere, tournaments that are part of the sport's world-championship structure. It is perfectly possible that an MLS team could play a meaningful match against a Manchester United or Real Madrid in the future.
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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