Few concepts are as controversial as the idea of introducing promotion and relegation into American sports -- specifically, Major League Soccer -- but Silva International Investments, owners of Miami
FC, which just completed its first season in the NASL, commissioned a pro/rel study by management consulting firm Deloitte. It concludes American club soccer isn't immediately ready for promotion and
relegation but there might be benefits at various levels. Professional club soccer in the USA: An analysis of promotion and relegation
The study suggests that "open leagues" would generate greater interest (attendance, television ratings) in games involving teams in promotion and/or relegation battles and motivate existing
owners to spend more on their teams and attract other owners. In the area of player development, the study argues that opening leagues would lead to greater investment in player development.
The study acknowledges that how to ensure and compensate the investment of long-term owners remains a stumbling block. It is not just an investment in terms of expansion fees and expenditures for
player signings and player development but huge capital investments in stadiums and training facilities.
Other issues not directly addressed include the impact of pro/rel on the support
of civic and corporate groups, as well as how to address player signing mechanisms. The study acknowledges that pro/rel may strain player costs (handled with salary caps) but not the restrictions on
signings (discovery signings, drafts, allocations).