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
Ozil on the Defensive    
In an interview with German news outlet FAZ, Arsenal's much-maligned playmaker Mesut Ozil defended his record ...
LVG: We Threw Away Three Points     
Louis van Gaal said that Manchester United threw three points away as Leicester City twice rallied ...
Messi Closes in on 400 Career Goals     
After scoring the last of Barcelona's five goals against Levante on Sunday, Lionel Messi moved to ...
Bayern Looking Up at Paderborn    
Just four games into the Bundesliga season and Bayern Munich finds itself in the unfamiliar position ...
PSG Continues Slow Start     
For the third game in a row, struggling French champ Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 after taking ...
Inzaghi Responds to Milan President's Criticism     
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi on Sunday fired a thinly veiled criticism at Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi ...
Mourinho: Lampard 'Love Story' Over at Chelsea     
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho proclaimed that the "love story" between his Blues and current Manchester City ...
Nigerian U-20 star Dike hopes more Cowgirl goals will come    
Goals by Courtney Dike helped Nigeria reach the final of the Under-20 Women's World Cup in ...
Inzaghi: Milan Has Nothing to Lose Against Juve     
AC Milan on Saturday hosts Juventus in an early-season top-of-the-standings clash of Italian heavyweights. While Milan ...
London Wins Semis and Final of Euro 2020    
UEFA on Friday awarded Wembley Stadium in London as the venue for the semifinals and final ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives