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
Ranieri Named Greece Coach     
Claudio Ranieri on Friday signed a two-year deal to manage Greece. The 62-year-old Italian replaces Fernando ...
West Ham's Carroll to Miss Four Months    
West Ham striker Andy Carroll is set to miss up to four months after suffering ankle ...
Pinto Quits Costa Rica     
Jorge Luis Pinto, who guided Costa Rica to a surprise quarterfinal finish at the World Cup ...
Cech to Fight for Chelsea Place    
Petr Cech has vowed to stay and fight for his place as his decade-long reign as ...
Mourinho: Drogba 'Belongs' to Chelsea    
Jose Mourinho on Friday admitted that he is considering re-signing Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, who is ...
Maradona Blasts Argentina's Coaching Decisions    
Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona, who famously inspired the Albiceleste to World Cup glory at the ...
FIFA Backs 2018 Russia World Cup     
FIFA on Friday said it remains committed to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite the ...
NBC Brings EPL to Movie Theaters    
NBC Sports and Fathom Events are teaming up to show English Premier League games on Saturday ...
Aguirre Named Japan Coach     
Former Mexico coach Javier Aguirre on Thursday was appointed head coach of the Japanese national team, ...
Swans Sign Montero    
Swansea on Thursday signed Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero on a four-year deal from Mexican club Morelia. ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives