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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


MLS – A Shrink To Success Formula

Written by on March 5, 2012 | 3 Comments »
Posted in MLS

As Major League Soccer looks forward to the start of a 17thseason many fans will cast their minds back ten years. Then, it seemed inconceivable that the league would almost double in size within the next decade.

Commissioner Don Garber led a league that was heading to oblivion as had other North American soccer leagues down through the years. But where the implosion of the NASL in the 80s was caused by a rapid expansion of teams that had only served to exaggerate the deadly concept of the weakest link, Major League Soccer decided that the route to success was more likely to be found through contraction.

Before the 2002 season kicked off the….

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3 responses to “MLS – A Shrink To Success Formula”

  1. tim villarreal says:

    i think the league is stronger than ever… i think education of the masses is still needed…try and get an american football, or basketball fan to give MLS a chance…i force some friends to watch…sometimes it works

  2. John Bladen says:

    The funny thing is that MLS’ present success has been achieved largely by following the formula originally rejected by the league (the alternate “L1” concept presented in 1994). It was based on heavy initial investment in facilities to provide a more authentic football experience. The moneymen behind the league understandably blanched at building facilities for teams that no-one was certain fans would pay to watch, but nearly 20 years later here we are.

    I can’t say enough about the financial commitment of the Hunt and Anschutz families to the game in America. They invested nearly $400m in MLS before it finally caught on. I’m sure they’ve recovered some of that money in the last few rounds of expansion, but I bet they are still heavily in the red on this investment. Without their patience and commitment, this league would have died well before it’s 10th birthday.

  3. John Bladen says:

    Bobby: The sportsnet devotion to Beckham is pretty sickening, I must say. I wonder if they would have skipped the game if he hadn’t turned up???

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