"If the MLS had a share performance, this is the time to invest". From the words of Don Garber, a trip on the world of "soccer" American who, just like a stock on an Exchange, is betting on growth (youth), innovation (technological and new stadiums), and on "competitiveness".
Easy to predict. Sooner or later the States would get serious, even with regard to football. The strong emotional involvement, combined with the possibility of business billionaires, has not gone unnoticed on the north side of America. Their almost unwarranted absence in football that counts, look for tradition, want for their continued desire to stand out, you are now reducing. And the giant steps will ensure that in a few years, many are ready to bet, "soccer" will become a mainstay of world football system. With a model still original, because they are Americans, and like to stand out. Let's go find out.
We start from the results. The MLS League, led by "Don Garber", along with the old-new NASL has managed in recent years to import players like Villa, Kaka, Pirlo, Gerrard, Lampard, Garcia, Raul. Each with a check of about $6 million. Some considerations.
- The choice of the players was not made by chance: it's players that stood out on the field for class and elegance, having a brand, their, to act as Ambassador to another brand, that of MLS. The difference with the investment policy more "confused" and less selective which is implementing the Chinese Government, may be a summary of the historical cultural difference between the two superpowers.
- It is no coincidence that the first modern football Ambassador in USA has been David Bechkam. An icon, on and off the field, their representative of what is the American strategy.
- Cases Beckham and Giovinco, represent, for different reasons, two turning points: the first took 3 parentheses in Europe after moving overseas, according to chose the path of the U.S. just 26 years old. Are a sign of how soccer in America is becoming attractive not only for the money, and that its competitiveness is approaching European standards.
Sports scores, as well: the United States came in the final of the Confederations Cup in 2009. They reached fourth place in the FIFA ranking in 2006. Are always present at World Championships since 1990. Semifinals in the recent Copa America. Someone would object: nothing remarkable. I say, not bad for a movement born only in the mid-90 's.
Political results: the last Copa America (traditional Latin) was played in the US, the Organization has worked, and it seems you want to repeat in the coming years. And the next step concerns the integration even with another pillar of South American football: the Copa Libertadores.
Economic results, finally. The agreement with IMG and TV rights Giants MP & Silva will allow worldwide distribution. Sky Sports, Fox, ESPN didn't think twice, carving up a cake that has cost $752 million in addition to hoarding of top sponsors, from Audi to 5-seater Volkswagen, the sheiks of Etihad and beyond. To invest them, and so, there must be a reason. According to Forbes, the MLS worth 3.7 billion dollars. A club 200 million, average value tripled in just 7 years.
But what are the strengths that have enabled a system to emerge in a very competitive market, in such a short time?
- First of all, let us not forget, the American context. I am able to create spectacle like no other. I can appreciate and value the show like no other. They are able to sell the show like no other. I can afford to buy the show, more than many other States. This certainly had an impact.
- The formula of the tournament: division between Easthern and Western Conference, to give value to territorial rivalries, more Play Off and finals, where they meet the best. The formula is an exact replica of what happens in the NBA and NFL, not two competitions at the event. The interest and the balance in matches is always guaranteed.
- The system of wages. For historical reaction to the failure of the previous League, the NASL (Pelé, Cosmos, Raul, for instance). There is a ceiling to the salaries footballers, 436 thousand $, except for a player from each team, called "Designated Players". Translated: financial sustainability, absence of economic imbalance, greater competitiveness on the field, and at the same time, to attract to the sound of a million samples of European football.
- The salary Floor. The League consists of a closed system without promotion and relegation. This could be an incentive for a team arrived at last, thinking to start a long-term project focusing on young people. The result in short, though, could be a major variance between the forces, and thus less competitive. This is prevented by the salary floor, a minimum of wages to which clubs can engage.
- The Draft. The draft is the lottery, always imported from other American sports, allowing clubs, at the beginning of the year, to win the best footballers of the academies. The peculiarity is that the first to choose from are the clubs who have not participated in the play-offs, always with the aim of shuffling the cards and the forces at work, and make the outcome of the most unpredictable tournament.
- The Homegrown Players. That is, the players produced by the nursery. There is an "unofficial" rule, whereby, to counterbalance the investments made in "Designated (and now also" Core ", i.e. a lower category) Players," the clubs can invest in players products from the nursery, which does not affect the cost of wages, and then free up more space for the hiring of new stars.
- The deductibles. The clubs are not independent companies. The MLS is not a pure Association, but own all clubs, its "brands". The clubs, therefore, are called franchises, and their owners are actually owned a share of the MLS. Between the MLS and the clubs, therefore, there is a sort of contract similar to the franchise. Most of the proceeds of the clubs, therefore, ends up in the coffers of the MLS, not of individual franchises. A system, therefore, in the name of balance
Result: you bet on young people, on the uncertainty of the tournament, on big names. This causes a stadium built almost a year, all at the forefront, soccer specific and dedicated to entertainment and business, the two key words in American philosophy. The average attendance is slightly less than that of Serie A (21,000 per game). That for USA-Portugal to World ended well past 25 million American tv viewers. The old NASL was recreated, with prominent investors (Maldini and Ronaldo), liberal perspective, creating a parallel competition entirely and "attacking" the MLS, in a future, however integration between the two federations. That in the last 10 years the MLS Club have invested more in "player development" that in engagements.
There are still within the limits: the limited number of samples for hire (the rule of the salary cap, for this purpose, it is lightened), still poor football, except for GDP Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, through trade-off internal competitiveness-external competitiveness, and yet the absence of major titles won.
But the focus on business, on balance, on enterteinement, on productive investments, on the marketing of the product, marketing and innovation technology and the big investment in youth, they project the attention more on the medium to long term.
U.s. soccer is growing and investing to grow at the same time. Imported European standards, to create a new brand, and now are exporting a template, which, if you think about it, is based on all that's missing to Italian football.
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- "LFS": MLS (NASL), the discovery of America - 19 November 2016