MLS coming to STL!

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lukethedrifter
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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by lukethedrifter »

Tim wrote:
lukethedrifter wrote:FC Dallas
New England Revolution
Chicago Fire
My bad. So they do. Whoops. Guess I read the post wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.
I was confused as well. Thus the “?” response.

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Transmogrified Tiger
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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by Transmogrified Tiger »

MAGA wrote:Thrill, maybe you can explain some things about MLS to me.

My town has a team. They’re insisting on a new stadium. They can’t even fill half the current stadium. They didn’t sell out the opener. Not even close really. Maybe a new stadium would drive interest. But building a $100-$150m stadium HOPING you can fill it seems, idk, like bad business at this point.

And you defining it as a Ponzi scheme is funny, but sounds correct given the structure of the league. It’s centrally owned. Each new team creates a large influx of capital through tax dollars and owner investment, yeah? So they need expansion to keep it afloat...

How’s the revenue trending in general? Is it growing? How is viewership? I don’t get the impression that anyone actually watches it. But people (in other towns anyway) seem to go to games. It’s a diehard core group.

I mean this without offense, but it seems like they’ve cornered the market on the artist, hipster, queer, and anti-sport type of fan. But how’s the outreach with the general demographic? Favorable? I went to a game a week or two ago and it’s a 20s-30s crowd of white people. Sprinkling of some immigrants with flags and stuff. I sat next to an Italian guy and talked Serie A. Was fun, but again, not many people there.

What are the future prospects at this point? Its felt like a long march towards insolvency that will leave the tax payers holding the bag for empty $100m+ stadiums. Some of which in prime real estate. But alas, it’s still here. And making huge moves I guess.

I could be totally wrong and I could google this stuff but reading through this thread it seems like you’re like an expert on soccer.
I think the stadium thing is very much dependent on the situation (see below). I'm not 100% sure which city this is based on your description, but the best guess is Columbus, which has an unusual team/city relationship and you can make the argument either way that a new stadium will or won't make a huge difference. No one should be dropping significant taxpayer money on soccer specific stadiums, but having those stadiums in downtown areas is a big driver of a team's success. The teams that built stadiums outside the city center almost universally have attendance worries(Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas) while teams that prioritized location have profited(Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Orlando). There's exceptions in either direction(Sporting KC draws great in the Kansas suburbs, Houston can't draw next door to the Astros), but it's a big indicator.

As far as demographics go, I think it misses the mark to think that soccer *has* to draw fans from traditional sporting demographics in order to be popular or successful, and it's part of why soccer's popularity is understated in the US. MLS's demographic does definitely have that hipster component to it, but part of the reason for that is that MLS and its teams (broadly speaking) do a good job of encouraging supporter culture and the community that comes with it. It's the closest thing to what you see with college football/basketball student sections applied to pro sports, and that definitely speaks to a millennial audience. There's going to be more of those before there are less, so that's not really a limiting problem. That can lead to a...monochromatic fan base at times, which is sometimes due to competition within the sport(Liga MX competes with MLS for eyeballs just as much as MLB does), and really underscores finding locations that are accessible for the whole market.

To those confused about Thrill's comment, what he's saying is that those are huge markets that have very little engagement with MLS, and fixing that problem will do more to grow the league and sport than expanding to the 25th biggest market or w/e. Chicago has a horrific stadium location in the SW suburbs and their ownership has been poor, rumor is the club and MLS is going to buy their way out of the lease and move them to Soldier Field in the short run. Similarly, Dallas has a stadium that was just spruced up with the National Soccer Hall of Fame, but it's all the way out in Frisco, and the team is run a lot like the A's so the motivation to see a consistently competent but not dominant team isn't super high. New England still plays at Foxboro(with a crappy team and attendance) and Kraft barely remembers that he owns the team, it's a situation where he needs to be forced out so someone who actually cares enough about improving the team can make financial decisions.

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thrill
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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by thrill »

Tim wrote:Why don't they have teams in Dallas, Boston or Chicago?
New England and Dallas have been since '95. Chicago since '97.

Unfortunately, despite being in three of the biggest soccer hot beds in the country, their ownership, marketing, and investment has been so abysmal that they might as well not even exist at this point. Keeping their ownership in place is a huge waste of those markets, and getting those teams where they should/could be, would be a much better investment than expanding to Nashville, StL, Sacramento, and Phoenix.

But because of the pyramid scheme that is expansion fees ($200,000,000+ million just to get franchise rights), the league has always prioritized quantity of expansion over quality of existing club revenues. The reason for that is because they make more on franchise fees than they do anywhere else, because MLS is an also-ran league outside of like half their markets. It's growth is good and inevitable, but they're still doing a lot of things wrong, imo.

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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by MAGA »

Thanks for response TT.
but part of the reason for that is that MLS and its teams (broadly speaking) do a good job of encouraging supporter culture and the community that comes with it.
Perhaps, but I can’t be the only one who finds it really plastic and more or less appropriation of European ultra culture. Feels really forced. But it must be working

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thrill
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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by thrill »

MAGA wrote:Thanks for response TT.
but part of the reason for that is that MLS and its teams (broadly speaking) do a good job of encouraging supporter culture and the community that comes with it.
Perhaps, but I can’t be the only one who finds it really plastic and more or less appropriation of European ultra culture. Feels really forced. But it must be working
There's still tons of EPL cosplay and Ultracosplay, but there are a bunch of markets that have shown how you can build a unique culture specific to your club. Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Toronto, Minnesota, LAFC, etc.

If you ever check out a game in one of the good markets, I think you'd be pleasantly surprised at both the quality of play and quality of culture. MLS and the NHL are basically similar right now. In good markets, they're major league. In bad markets, they're after thoughts. Outside of the local markets that have teams, they don't have much traction. They both get bad TV ratings. The NHL is definitely bigger but it's trending down. MLS is trending up. They're both on pretty gradual trends and will probably level out near each other in cultural importance sometime in the next 10-15 years.

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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by tlombard »

MAGA wrote:Thanks for response TT.
but part of the reason for that is that MLS and its teams (broadly speaking) do a good job of encouraging supporter culture and the community that comes with it.
Perhaps, but I can’t be the only one who finds it really plastic and more or less appropriation of European ultra culture. Feels really forced. But it must be working
You are not the only one at all. I even get annoyed at the move to name and rename teams based on patterns from other leagues (I'm looking at you Sporting KC who were the Wiz or Wizards when they first started in the mid 90s).

I would really prefer that if the sport is going to grow in the US, let's come up with our own new and unique traditions. Copying off of the traditions and naming conventions of the well established leagues and clubs seems like admitting that you're inferior and are trying to ride the coattails of those who are levels above where you will most likely ever be by copying them.

A new team is the perfect time to establish your own unique traditions that set you apart and the fans can be proud of. Don't just copy what everybody else is doing! Heck, you sure aren't going to stand a chance building a fan base with large portions of 'Merica' by mimicking those fancy pants Europeans or MS13 gang bangers in the 'Mexican' countries.

All that being said, I really hope that St. Louis has an MLS team playing in a couple of years and can't wait to go watch them play in person at a new downtown stadium.

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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by Freed Roger »

Can change thread title from ? To .
Or ! If you will.

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Re: MLS coming to STL?

Post by Fat Strat »

Freed Roger wrote:Can change thread title from ? To .
Or ! If you will.
Definitely a !

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thrill
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Re: MLS coming to STL?

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Congrats, folks.

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Re: MLS coming to STL!

Post by tlombard »

Listening to the press conference. I'm oddly emotional. I've been excited for this day but I was actually tearing up a bit earlier during the announcement.

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