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MLS Halloween Nightmare: Donald Trump, New York Cosmos & The End of the MLS - Part 2

November 20, 2011 - "The American Premier League is primed to take advantage of Major League Soccer's mistakes and its overall limited potential.  We will operate as a group of individually owned teams that collaborate on league wide matters but are not dragged down by poorly run teams.  The APL itself will never suffer due to poor direction from the front office.  Teams will never be denied top talent because the league is unwilling to pay transfer fees for top talent."   

Okay, these reporters are chomping at the bit.  Let's see what screwball questions they have that are so important.

"I'll entertain questions because some of you look like you are about to explode out of your shoes.  Red hair, green shirt, fourth row."

"Tom Dunmore, Pitch Invasion - This sounds a lot like your venture into the United States Football League.  The only problem is every soccer league in this country must be sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation.  Your teams will not be allowed to participate in the US Open Cup or any International tournaments.  How do you plan on dealing with being a secondary league when you have built your entire career on being at the top?

"We won't be able to play in the tournaments for now.  I'm sure the USSF will stick to the MLS being the top tier of soccer in this country for now but our plan is to make a direct challenge to the MLS' top league status.  Our first goal is to improve the quality of referees across the board.  Not being a part of USSF will actually benefit us as they train all the referees for their leagues.  As a non-USSF member, we plan on investing heavily in new referee talent.  Our games will be played cleaner and we think real soccer fans will like the new style of play.  It will get to the point that FIFA will be sanctioning a league that has worse referees and choppier game play.  The outcry in the international community for our league to be sanctioned over MLS will be deafening." 

"Steve Davis, Sports Illustrated & Daily Soccer Fix - How do you plan on attracting players to your league?  Talented officials are one thing but who is going to want to play in a league with inferior talent?

Geez, now these guys think it's a free for all.  I'll have to change the tone, good question though.

"Steve, do you really think we will have trouble attracting quality players when some players are making $40,000 a year in the MLS?  I've got secretaries that answer the phone and make three times that.  We will steal away some players from the MLS rather easily.  Talented American and Canadian college players will have a choice starting next year: sign with the MLS to boilerplate terms so you can be drafted and go to an unknown team or sign with a team of our choice in the APL.  You can choose to go where you want to live like any other soccer player in the world.  You will get paid better too.  How long do you think college players are going to keep on going to the MLS?

"Man, I know Corben Bone would have picked the APL over MLS if he knew how little playing time he was going to get with the Chicago Fire this year."

"Who are you and why did you just yell that?"

"Tweed Thornton, Hot Time In Old Town, I'm sorry that was supposed to be an inner thought."

What friggin' morons some of these writers are!

"Then don't use the quotation marks!  It's simple, no quotation marks = inner thought.  Anyway, are there any serious journalists out there with other good questions?  Yes,  you down in front, white shirt."

"Steven Goff, Soccer Insider - How do you plan on going head to head with Major League Soccer in terms of scheduling?  Are you going to go the traditional route of football on Sundays?  A day the MLS has largely ignored even in the summer?

"No, we plan on avoiding going directly head to head with the MLS by playing an August to May schedule.  This is more in line with what FIFA would like and this is how the majority of leagues around the world schedule their seasons.  The other members of CONCACAF will be begging for FIFA to certify us and not the MLS because our teams be will in the right conditioning for the CONCACAF Champions League to take place somewhere between August and May like it should.

"Ted Hardwood, The Short Fuse - I'm sorry you said you are going to play an August to May schedule and own the New York Cosmos?  Or actually I'd just like to bring up that you will be operating an outdoor soccer league in the months of November, December, January, and February?  I'm from Chicago and I'm wondering if you are planning on taking a four month winter break or if you are just crazy?"

"Tweed Thornton, Hot Time In Old Town - That's the Chicago wa-- sorry, sor"

I tell you one blog I'm never visiting.  Christ almighty.

"In spite of the Chicago snark on display, I will answer your question.  Every team will have to operate with a domed stadium unless they get the approval of the commissioner's office to do so otherwise.  The Cosmos will have a domed stadium.  We wouldn't rule out a winter break.  It is one of the things we are looking into.  Playing an August to May schedule allows for us to market to current MLS fans while also picking up soccer crazy EPL fans.  The front office will encourage every stadium to have large lounges that show EPL games on gameday.  Fans will be encouraged to arrive early and catch multiple soccer matches - some live on TV, some live and in person. 

Random soccer hater reporter we refuse to give link to - "Good luck making them watch two soccer matches!  I can barely watch one.  Joking aside, how are you going to hope to keep people in your place for several hours?"

The NFL and the MLB have no problem keeping people in their stadiums for four hours.  Two soccer games finish within that time period every game.  There is no fouling at the end of a game turning the last five minutes into 30 minutes in real life.  There's no extra innings or calls to the bullpen.  Soccer clocks start, they run out 45 minutes later, they start again, they run out 45 minutes again. 

You can come to one of our stadiums, join a couple of friends in the lounge watching the game, and you can make a soccer day out of it.  It's not really a big part of the plan, just something that has been tossed around and we think the simultaneous scheduling allows for. 

"Dave Clark, Sounder at Heart - Since you bring up other stadiums and teams, exactly what other cities are you hoping to target?  It seems that most major markets are filled with MLS teams at this point.  Even if you are hoping other factors like better officiating will work in your favor, you have to admit it will be tough getting current MLS season ticket holders to spend any money on another soccer team in this current economic market.

When we were researching this Cosmos opportunity, we were shocked by the fact that the MLS does not operate in all of the top TV markets.  When we were looking for where to locate the Cosmos and used other MLS stadiums as examples, we were shocked by how few stadiums were built in borders of the city where the teams claim residency.  I brought a chart:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Dallas-Ft. Worth
  6. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
  7. Boston
  8. Atlanta
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Houston
  11. Detroit
  12. Phoenix
  13. Tampa-St. Petersburg
  14. Seattle-Tacoma
  15. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  16. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
  17. Cleveland-Akron
  18. Denver
  19. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
  20. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
  21. St. Louis
  22. Portland
  23. Pittsburgh
  24. Charlotte
  25. Indianapolis

Of the top 25, only Houston, Washington D.C., Seattle-Tacoma, and Portland have stadiums in the city proper.  APL teams will be required to operate in the borders of the largest municipality in their area.  Major League Baseball has great attendance numbers in part because the majority of their stadiums are centralized within their communities.  People do not  ideally want to see the Harrison Red Bulls, the Carson City Galaxy, the Bridgeview Fire, or the Chester Union.  They want to see the Chicago Cubs even when the team is horrifically bad.  There are over 300,000 people within reasonable walking distance to Wrigley Field.  That trumps convenient parking every time.  The blip in our country's culture where suburbs were king is over.  The APL will reflect that.

"Daniel Robertson, Big D Soccer - Do you honestly think MLS teams are blind to this?  It's a matter of having the money to invest.  Urban land is very expensive.  Perhaps you can afford to build in New York but other owners will be lucky to find land in urban areas.  How do you think FC Dallas ended up in Frisco, TX?" 

Putting a stadium to the north of Dallas, TX so it takes an hour and 37 minutes to get there in traffic is one of the most comically poor business decisions I've seen in the history of modern business.  When you have the Texas Triangle at your fingertips and you build outside of it by 25 miles, you probably shouldn't be trusted with keys to heavy machinery let alone a major sports organization.  If you are the commissioner for that league, well, just what were you thinking letting that happen?  Stadiums should be located in urban areas but if you are going to build out, at least make it make some sense.  Dallas, TX is one of the main areas we plan on expanding and on that note, I would like to introduce Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Tornado.

Part 3 continues here....