Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Lessons for MLS in NASL's Demise
San Diego Union-Tribune, September 20th, 2006 5:05PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Tonight (9 pm ET), ESPN2 will air the documentary "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos," which chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of U.S. soccer's most famous team. For Major League Soccer, there's an interesting lesson in the film, writes Mark Ziegler of the Union-Tribune: it warns against the dangers of selling celebrity instead of soccer here in the States. The possible move of David Beckham, Ronaldo and other aging stars has been talked about by MLS big-wigs in recent months, especially since the commercial success of the World Cup. Ziegler points out that the North American Soccer League's demise started when Steven Ross, the Philip Anschutz of the 70's, started scooping up big-name players for ridiculous sums of money. When Pele entered the league, his contract with the Cosmos was worth anywhere between $2.7 and $4.5 million, depending on whom you believe, says Ziegler, at a time when NFL players barely made six figures. Other players earned exponentially less than that: Cosmos goalie Shep Messing, for example, made just $2,100 in his first season. So what happened? Soccer became the novelty of the moment in the U.S. once the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia arrived. It was really popular for a while, but once that novelty wore off, the league had very little to stand on financially -- the American public was clearly not ready to embrace soccer as a sport. By 1984, the Cosmos and the NASL were history. MLS, by the way, has been a bit more careful: it's expansion has been slow and calculated, it's sticking to a strict salary cap of about $2 million per team (compare that to Pele's salary), and investors are forced to sink their money into the league rather than individual teams. However, the temptation of celebrity, glitz, marketing and novelty are never too far away. League officials should remember how history has a habit of repeating itself. Read the original story...


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Section 2 Around the Net
Life on the road with Badgers    
What's life like on the road in the fall for a Division I soccer player? For ...
Messi Surpasses 400 for Club and Country     
Four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi surpassed 400 goals for Barcelona and Argentina on Sunday, netting ...
Jimenez Notches First Goal for Atleti    
Raul Jimenez scored his first goal for Spanish champ Atletico Madrid in Saturday's 4-0 romp against ...
Rooney Apologizes for Sending-Off     
Wayne Rooney on Monday apologized to his Manchester United teammates for the red card he received ...
Jurgen Klopp: 'We Will Be Back'    
Borussia Dortmund fell to 12th-place in the Bundesliga table after losing the first Rivier-derby of the ...
Alonso Hailed for Cologne Master-class    
Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso on Saturday set a new Bundesliga record after taking an astonishing ...
PSG Hopes to Improve Against Barca "Masters"    
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc on Monday said his team must get through its bad spell ...
Gunners' Injury Crisis Worsens Ahead of Blues Clash     
Arsenal is once again facing an injury crisis ahead of an important run of games as ...
Eddy returns for third time from ACL injury    
Georgia midfielder Laura Eddy has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee three times ...
Parents buy in to 'Silent Soccer'     
Southwest Ohio Youth Soccer met some parent resistance when it announced a "silent soccer weekend" in ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives