12 October 2011
Posted in US Soccer
Earlier this week MLS Rumors posted an audio interview from It’s Called Football with Canadian Soccer Association’s General Secretary, Peter Montopoli, about the possibility of a Canadian 2nd Division. A Canadian 2nd division has been talked about for a couple years now and with CSA launching a feasibility study on the possibility of creating a Canadian only professional soccer league it is looking more and more likely. This however would be a mistake. Rather than creating their own league it would be beneficial for both U.S. and Canadian soccer if they kept their club leagues together in united soccer leagues.
In an earlier blog post I talked about further expanding MLS and the lower divisions creating a new league with promotion and relegation between all of the divisions. In this new system you could have the current three MLS teams and two teams in each of the next three divisions, which would give Canada nine professional soccer teams all with the ability to be able to move to the top flight of MLS. In this system the 1st division teams averaged $3.8 million. The 2nd division teams averaged $1.4 million. The 3rd division teams averaged $1.25 million, and the 4th division averaged $1 million. Also this new united soccer pyramid would be able to negotiate their TV contract together for both Canada and the United States, which would mean more money for all involved. This together would be more than any Canadian 2nd division on its own could be able to get and would give them the potential to work their way up to MLS.
Without the larger contract from TV money and sponsorships that a joint U.S. and Canadian second division teams would rely heavily on gate receipts which would mean considerably less money. Crowd support for such a league would be tough competing head to head in many locations with the CFL, MLS, and other professional sports that already enjoy a foothold in their current locations. The CFL is a good example of how relying on gate receipts can really hurt a league's expansion. Early on, the CFL outdrew the NFL and if it wasn't for the lucrative TV contract advantage that the NFL had over the CFL then the football landscape we see today could be very different.
Along with more money for all teams involved, the Canadian Soccer Association would be able to expand the Nutrilite Canadian Championship from its current 4-team format to a 9-team format, which would mean more gate receipts, and even more money for the association and teams involved.
A united soccer association between the United States and Canada could mean both security in being able to command more money in TV contracts. It would also provide stronger stability, helping to ensure that all teams are able to remain financially secure and there isn't a constant rotation of owners or new teams being created and folding. One possibility would be to launch a joint partnership between the United States Soccer Federation and the Canadian Soccer Association that would control all aspects of professional club soccer in both Canada and the United States. This united soccer association would be able to ensure better uniformity throughout all participating leagues.