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Thursday, March 11, 2010

MLS player strike?

MLS Player's Union and MLS league officials have failed to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Among points in dispute are player salaries and the ability of teams to deal with individual players instead of the league itself. I thought I would weigh in a little bit on the matter. Instead of focusing on some of the politics and details involved, I wanted to touch on how a player strike in Major League Soccer would affect the league, players, teams, fans, and the sport as a whole in this country.

If we think back to NHL and MLB, we cringe at the possibilities when it comes to MLS. NHL lost broadcasting. MLB was paralized and even President Clinton threatened to intervene. MLS would be left in shambles, no?

Consider the possibilities: Philadelphia has a brand new team with a brand new stadium and ardent fans waiting for soccer to finally make an appearance in their city. What do you do if your league doesn't even play? Seattle, a solid team that sold out every game last season, is in danger of losing fans, money and credibility. What do we say to Portland and Vancouver (set to begin play next season)? What do we say to further expansion of the league if it's in danger of collapsing?

Finally, what happens to the players? Where will they go? How do they retain game fitness? What will happen to our national team? The USA has a third to a half of its players in the domestic league. This may spell doom for the country's chances at the World Cup.

And what about international progress of the league? Will foreigners continue to laugh at us... maybe even stronger now?

These are several points worth considering. Indeed, hard decisions to come. The player's union and MLS are continuing talks but a strike may be inevitable if a new CBA isn't reached.

Some numbers to consider:

NBA: $4,900,000
MLB: $2,866,544
NHL: $1,460,000 (used to be $1,830,000)
NFL: $1,250,000
EPL: $1,162,720
MLS*: $90,000????
AFL: $85,000
WNBA: $55,000

MLB No Cap - Highest Team Payroll- Yankees $208 Million
NFL No Cap - Highest Team Payroll- Raiders $152 Million
NBA $60 Million
NHL $57 Million
MLS $2.3 Million

Bud Selig MLB $14.5 million
Roger Goodell NFL $10.3 million
Gary Bettman NHL $5.9 million
Don Garber MLS $3 Million

NFL national TV package rights: $3.085 Billion/year
MLB national TV Package: $416m/year
NBA national TV package: $400m/year
NHL US National TV package: $75m/year
MLS national TV package: $1.5m/year.

1 comment:

Alastair McCandless said...

Looking at the numbers you have, the players appear to have a beef. A strike might be the end of the MLS, though, so they have a big decision to make.