Major League Soccer Passes the Six Million Mark

31 Oct

Give up comparing soccer to the nation’s dominant sports. Baseball and Football don’t do comparisons – they exist alone. No point in soccer warriors climbing the walls of their impenetrable castles chanting, we’re going to be bigger than you one day! Forget it. They’ll throw their balls at you and knock you off.

Climb down and compare soccer to the world instead. MLS now ranks eighth in the world for attendance. Not bad for a league formed in 1996. This year, over six million went to MLS games. The five million barrier was broken last year. Place MLS above France, Argentina and the second division in soccer loopy England.

MLS is conservative in its approach, wisely so. Its pioneering efforts of new stadium barn raising and strong fencing preserves the inchoate soccer settlement. There are plenty of hungry mavericks out there who wish to see MLS accelerate to templates such as promotion and relegation leagues, a free market for wages, the end of the franchise concept. But who can see over the horizon?

Those high up in the Baseball and Football castles can. And all they see is more of America. Sure, they play the American sports in other parts of the world but few care. This might explain the interested number of baseball and football owners who are stretching their visions and wallets and getting into the global soccer game. Soccer has the wider horizon.

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