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Analyst Warns Against One Man MLS Show

The David Beckham effect has created a "perfect storm" around soccer in the U.S., but sports analyst Randy Bernstein warns that Major League Soccer runs the risk of being forgotten once that storm passes, unless it invests in more international stars. "I think what MLS needs to do now is to not over-hype [Beckham]. He doesn't need hyping any more, he just needs to live up to his expectations," Bernstein said, adding that the next step is to build out the rosters of the rest of the league's teams. "If you can continue to build that type of credibility and mix that together with the type of star quality of a David Beckham in some of the other teams I think that would do nothing but grow the sport in a quicker fashion."

Bernstein is also the founding chief marketing officer of MLS, so he's been witness to league's progression over the last 11 years. "It's been a slow building process," he admitted, but "the addition of the credibility of an athlete such as David Beckham and his charisma has put that process on the fast track. I don't think anyone's trying to be the NFL or Major League Baseball today. That's not what Major League Soccer is trying to do. It's trying to build a solid foundation as one of the top four sports in the American landscape."

Bernstein points to a conversation on NBC's Today Show about how the hosts said they were going to watch Beckham and the Galaxy at Giants Stadium this weekend. The Today Show, of course, is not a show where they talk about sports much, which is more proof that Becks "has [pulled] soccer from the back of the sports pages to the front of the newspaper." But for how long remains to be seen.

Read the whole story at Times Online »

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