This is Cosmos Country Blog — January 8, 2015 at 7:10 am

Covering Soccer 104 with Grant Wahl


Let’s talk American Soccer.


Let’s start off with MLS. Where’s the direction you see the league going?

In general terms, it’s moving in the right direction. I mean this was a league that 12-13 years ago looked like it was going to go under. And there is no concern that MLS is going to fold.

They’re adding teams and are now getting pretty big fees up to $110 million for expansion fees. They are building stadiums for soccer across the country. They’re developing American players. They’re getting TV deals.

MLS is doing all these things that the NASL didn’t do or didn’t do very well when it was first around. So that all is good but there’s things MLS can do to improve. Attendance is at an all-time high for games but TV ratings are still extremely low and haven’t gotten better.

Why is that?

I don’t know. That’s another thing, as I’ve gained experience, I have more comfortable saying that I don’t know than I used too. If I had to guess, part of it is that it hasn’t had a national footprint which is getting better now that they’re getting teams in the Southeast.

I think part of is that there are 70-80 games on television in the U.S. per week from around the world and MLS games, the quality isn’t as good as the other leagues. MLS games are pretty good, better than what I think they get credit for but it’s not the Premier League.

I think MLS is forced into an extremely competitive environment to raise the quality of its play to compete on television against those other leagues. In general terms, I feel pretty optimistic for what MLS is doing.

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One Comment

  1. Good reading into Grant Wahl’s mind and past.
    As for 104, it makes me wonder what the pro/rel supporters would have done after the NASL folded in the 80′s.

    If people want pro/rel to happen, they need to support the NASL and USL PRO. Fan support needs to thrive at every level of the pyramid, not just the top, to make it feasible and show that a 2nd or 3rd division team can survive. A team relegating into a league where teams can barely keep themselves alive as is (Silverbacks immediately comes to mind) is not a prospect investors would stomach easily.

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