I’m an American soccer fan. But soccer has growing America problem.
European soccer is being knocked on its ass by American money. The English Premier League, powered by big TV contracts and American interest, now dominates all European leagues. The competitive balance that was the hallmark of European soccer is gone.
American owners are increasingly dominating the English game. Todd Boehly, who also controls the LA Dodgers, recently bought Chelsea, and is maintaining the free-spending ways of Roman Abramovich. Americans now own nearly half the league.
Then there’s MLS. The league has yet to realize its potential, but that potential is huge. Most clubs still play in 20,000 seat bandboxes. The ratings are garbage. But nearly all the clubs make a profit, thanks to strict revenue-sharing and salary caps. Apple is going to send a flood of money into the league starting this month. Sellouts are now common. My Atlanta United drew 47,000 fans per match last season, better than the average Premier League team.
We can afford soccer. Other countries can’t. Soccer is now America’s 4th leading sport, ahead of hockey and right behind baseball. Soccer is growing, baseball is not.
Harry Kane is the Premier League’s best paid player, at 10.4 million UK pounds, about $13 million, per year. Max Fried, an average Atlanta Braves pitcher, makes $13.5 million.
All we need to do is get the average salary up. In MLS it’s $300,000. Make MLS salaries competitive with those Europe and MLS is competitive. Even with its ridiculous schedule and lack of relegation.
The average NBA salary is $9.6 million. The average Premier League salary is $6.5 million. The average Major League Baseball salary is $4.4 million. The average salary in Germany’s Bundesligais $2 million, in Spain’s LaLiga $2.5 million.
Over time players go where the money is. The money is here. Once Americans realize that the sport is moving west. This is great for me, but it’s going to stoke anti-American sentiment around the world.
It’s something we need to be ready for.
Coventry City has won the football cup.
And a Scotsman has won Wimbledon as well.
As a long time fan of Sheffield Wednesday I salute you.