Business Directory

Browse the Directory

Sign Up to the Directory

FC Business Twitter
FC business Linked in
FC Business facebook
FC Business Youtube

US Soccer Fans Desire For Promotion & Relegation

Mon 21st Nov 2016 | Football Governance

The introduction of promotion and relegation into the US soccer league system would have a range of long term benefits and enable the world’s most popular sport to reach its potential in the world’s biggest sports market, according to a new report released today from business advisory firm Deloitte.

The report draws on publicly available information as well as primary research in the form of a new poll of more than 1,000 US soccer fans, providing a preliminary assessment of factors for and against an open system of promotion and relegation across the nation’s professional soccer leagues.

In a clear sign of the maturing attitude to soccer in the US, more than half of fans polled said they’d like to see the introduction of promotion and relegation, with just 6% opposed to the move.

The MLS, along with NASL and the USL operate closed league structures whereby teams do not move up and down leagues based on sporting merit. The Deloitte report presents evidence explaining that the introduction of promotion and relegation would make for a more compelling spectacle for both match going fans and TV viewers.

The report cites the English Championship’s Play-Off Final as an example of a marquee occasion, where TV viewing figures can spike up to 216% higher than regular season fixtures.

50% of fan poll respondents say they would be more likely to watch club soccer games on TV if promotion and relegation were introduced (versus just 7% who were less likely), while 46% stated that they would be more likely to attend live matches. Only 8% said they would be less likely to attend live games.

Speaking of the report, Dan Jones, Head of the Sport Business Group at Deloitte, said: “The fundamental principle that is largely accepted throughout the world of football and even appears in the FIFA statutes states that the competition that a football team plays in should reflect sporting merit on the pitch rather than any other factors.

“We believe the introduction of promotion and relegation into the existing league system could have numerous long term benefits, including increased attendances, increased broadcast audiences, improved commercial revenue and a positive impact on both elite players and grassroots participants.

“The current closed system has served MLS well in its early years, but as it matures it is reaching member capacity, preventing further expansion.”

The report suggests that further growth, especially the registration of players with US Youth Soccer which has stagnated since 2000 despite increased rates of participation in high schools, could be achieved by implementing an open system of promotion and relegation.

However, the closed system is preferred across the major sporting leagues in the US. This risk averse mindset and fear of franchise owners losing money through relegation is one of the major obstacles to a switch to an open system.

“All of the challenges are capable of being managed, or overcome,” Dan added.

“The US has taken a lead in terms of cost control in professional sports through collective bargaining agreements, salary caps and so on. European soccer has been slow to catch up with that but has over the period of the last few years.

“We’ve [the Premier League] had 20 years of spectacular revenue growth and there was the feeling that there needed to be some sort of cost control to stop the pattern of increased revenue growth leading to the escalation in costs which leads to increased losses.

“So regulations have been tried and do exist and can be formulated again to ensure that clubs remain within control.”

The Deloitte report was commissioned by Silva International Investments (UK) Limited, to assist with a preliminary assessment of factors for and against the introduction of promotion and relegation in professional club soccer in the USA.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

Tripleplay 468 banner V2 (468x60_Animated_v2.gif)
If you have any football business related news stories you’d like to share then please contact us – agourley@fcbusiness.co.uk

To subscribe to our range of football newsletters including news, products and jobs CLICK HERE.

Add to: Google Google | Yahoo Yahoo | Live Live | del.icio.us del.icio | Digg Digg |

Related Articles

The Football Business Academy & streetfootballworld Join Forces

Tue 29th Aug 2017 | Football Governance

The Football Business Academy and streetfootballworld join forces to further promote the idea of football for good and ensure that the next generation of football leaders embraces Corporate Social...

London FA Overhauls Board To Reflect Capitalís Diverse Football Community

Fri 18th Aug 2017 | Football Governance

The London Football Association (LFA), the largest of the County Football Associations, is undertaking a transformational overhaul of its Board and inviting applicants from diverse backgrounds to...

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will not run for re-election as chairman of the European Club Association

Thu 10th Aug 2017 | Football Governance

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will not run for re-election as chairman of the European Club Association. The 61-year-old informed his colleagues on the ECA board of his decision during their meeting in Madrid...

FC Barcelona Appoint New Strategic Advisor In America

Thu 13th Jul 2017 | Football Governance

Former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra signs agreement with the club to serve in the new role. FC Barcelona and James Costos, the former United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, have signed...