Soccer Business

English Premier League

West Ham’s problem

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By J Hutcherson (Mar 13, 2018) US Soccer Players - On a clear day, it's easy to play count the stadiums as you fly in or out of London's Heathrow airport. There are a lot of them in that city, all built with territory in mind. Even the rugby stadiums and the cricket ovals mark space.

The European Super League in 2018

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By J Hutcherson (Jan 23, 2018) US Soccer Players - It's not just since Deloitte started doing the work and showing us how much money European soccer clubs make. It's not the idea of clubs as brands capable of generating worldwide revenue. It's not the lobby group the biggest clubs in Europe once ran for their own benefit.

Major League Soccer

Where should MLS be playing?

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By J Hutcherson (Feb 6, 2018) US Soccer Players - The Austin Statesman's Kevin Lyttle reports that USL expansion to Austin will happen in 2019 using a stadium at the city's F1 track the Circuit of the Americas. The Columbus Crew's proposed relocation to that city slowed talk of the USL team along with questions over the stadium plan.

LAFC and YouTube TV

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By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Feb 7, 2018) US Soccer Players - Los Angeles Football Club has always seemed an interesting venture. With a slew of high-profile deep-pocketed owners, the club's operations and marketing pathways seemed exciting. Money and a means to gain exposure were always assets in LAFC's favor.

Pro soccer bets on Las Vegas and Atlantic City

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Feb 5, 2018) US Soccer Players – Many North American cities are lining up to put on their best faces to win the soccer expansion sweepstakes. The recent addition of Miami, spearheaded by David Beckham, brings to fruition a promise MLS had made years ago.

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Barca, and the MLS model

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Jan 26, 2018) US Soccer Players - Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla is 18 years old. In 2017, he played 21 times for the Montreal Impact and scored twice. Tabla is a native of Cote d'Ivoire but moved to Quebec as a child and played in the Montreal Impact academy system.

Uh oh.

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Yeeeeah, this legal collision course is locking in, as Cyle Larin, Beşiktaş, Orlando City and MLS certainly appear headed for a rough and tumble court fight. Cyle Larin training with #Besiktas!! — (@turkishsoccer) January 23, 2018 So @CyleLarin says he's not under contract with @OrlandoCitySC and that he's signed with @Besiktas.

Orlando City and the option for Cyle Larin

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Jan 17, 2018) US Soccer Players - Orlando City striker Cyle Larin is still Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, no matter what the Twitter account of Turkish champions Besiktas might say. Of that, at least Orlando City is certain. Whether Besiktas accepts Orlando City's version of the truth is still, as of yet, unknown.

Looking forward to North American soccer in 2018

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Dec 26, 2017) US Soccer Players – The final week of December is a time to look forward to a new year. It is also a time to look back on the last 12 months. American soccer came to a crossroads in 2017. There was some negative, but plenty of positives to emerge from a sport that continues to gain in popularity.

MLS and the expansion message

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Dec 22, 2017) US Soccer Players - Three years ago Major League Soccer changed their logo. The progressive "brand identity" was built in particular around three stars arrayed in the upper left corner. The league let us know that the stars "represent the pillars of our brand: For Club, For Country, For Community.

Nashville and the Southeast MLS footprint

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By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Dec 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - On Wednesday, Major League Soccer confirmed that Nashville would be joining the league as an expansion side. The announcement concludes a year-long formal pursuit for the Music City.

At first, Nashville seemed like a total longshot to get the nod.

Waiting for the MLS expansion announcement

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By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON DC (Dec 15, 2017) US Soccer Players - Thursday was supposed to be a big day in the race for the next two MLS expansion franchises. The cities of Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville and Sacramento remained standing after a nearly year-long process that winnowed a dozen cities down to four.

Lifting trophies in Toronto

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By J Hutcherson (Dec 12, 2017) US Soccer Players - Toronto isn't exactly title town in any sport. The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series back-to-back in the early 90s, the high point for trophies their southern neighbors would care about. The NHL's Maple Leafs are a marquee club that hasn't skated with the Cup since 1967.

What if Seattle gets a hockey team?

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By J Hutcherson (Dec 5, 2017) US Soccer Players - We all know the Seattle soccer success story. As the vanguard of the Pacific Northwest MLS expansion movement, the Seattle Sounders are the team that draws the biggest crowds. Portland might want to argue that they've got the best atmosphere in Major League Soccer, but Seattle has the stadium capacity.

The MLS expansion message

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By J Hutcherson (Nov 30, 2017) US Soccer Players - MLS has moved from a dozen to four expansion candidates with two spots available. The league confirmed on Wednesday that they'd pick those two expansion teams probably by the end of the year. It's the conclusion of a compacted process that started with ten cities and added two more.

Is MLS a selling league?

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By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Nov 30, 2017) US Soccer Players - On Wednesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber spoke as part of the Sports Business Journal's Dealmakers conference. He covered a wide range of topics. That included confirming a potential, SUM-organized tournament next summer for non-World Cup participants.

10 years to now in MLS

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By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Nov 27, 2017) US Soccer Players – Major League Soccer has had its ups and downs over the years. From national TV ratings that have struggled to grow to stadium attendance that has, MLS can point to many failures and successes.

Focusing on North America’s other soccer leagues

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By Jeff Rueter – SAINT PAUL, MN (Nov 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - To say that Major League Soccer is in a better place than it was in 2011 would be a massive understatement. MLS has seen its talent pool become far more impressive, with roster rule changes and advanced metrics and scouting partly to thank.

Clearing The Racks

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Do forgive me for situationally sending you to a shop link, but I thought you might like to peruse a list of the top 25 jersey-selling players in MLS this season. It's interesting to see nearly half of the guys on the list play for either Atlanta United (five mentions) or Seattle (six). New York City FC and Portland were the only other clubs with as many as three players in the list.

Should pro soccer in America be business first?

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Nov 3, 2017) US Soccer Players - Anthony Precourt's confounding machinations about the present and future location of the Columbus Crew. The NASL's momentous antitrust suit against the US Soccer Federation. We find ourselves talking and thinking a lot about the business of the beautiful game this fall.

What MLS leaders keep missing

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By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 20, 2017) US Soccer Players - Some readers will be familiar with my occasional tendency to sift through developments from seemingly disparate quarters of the American soccer scene in search of deeper meaning.

So far October has brought us stunning World Cup qualification heartbreak, and a resulting tidal wave of anger, recrimination and soul-searching.

News Update

Borussia Dortmund and Bundesliga money

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Thursday's soccer news starts with Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. In an interview with local newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung relayed on the club's official site, Watzke described the financial situation at Dortmund and the broader issues with the biggest clubs in Europe wanting their players.

Will the Premier League change its calendar?

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The soccer news starts with reports that England's Premier League is considering a winter break as part of their next TV deal. BBC Sport's Dan Roan has the news that the league might take time off in January. That's the pragmatic response to the only top league in Europe where loading up on games around Christmas is a tradition.

Is European soccer already the money league?

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Friday's soccer news starts with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asking a basic question about what we're watching. As relayed by BBC Sport, Wenger links spending with predictability. We're watching the clubs spending the most running away with the titles in the top leagues in Europe, with Italy the only unlikely outlier.

Borussia Dortmund closes the January window by moving Aubameyang

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The January transfer window is now closed in Europe's major leagues, with the last gasp major move impacting two leagues and one club with a USMNT player. Christian Pulisic's Borussia Dortmund transferred Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal in exchange for almost $80m dollars.

MLS expansion continues with the Miami announcement

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with MLS expansion. Miami is now officially an MLS team while we wait on details like the name, badge, and colors. We do know that 2020 really is the start date, with Miami joining the league along with... uhm... Nashville? We've yet to get a start date for Nashville.

The 2018 Deloitte Money League makes a familiar point

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Tuesday's soccer news starts with the latest release of the Deloitte Money League table. That's where we learn that Manchester United barely hangs on as the biggest money making club in world soccer. €676m euros in total revenue, €1.7m more than Real Madrid and it shouldn't be lost on anybody what that means in practical terms.

USMNT 25th in January 2018 FIFA Rankings

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The soccer news starts with the January FIFA Rankings. The USMNT fell one spot to 25th in a month where there was no movement in the top 14. The USMNT played no games over the ranking period. Germany spends another month in the top spot in the FIFA Rankings, ahead of Brazil in 2nd and Portugal in 3rd-place.

Manchester United, Mourinho, and the Alexis Sanchez transfer

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The soccer news starts in the Premier League with reports that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is close to signing a five-year deal. That would bring to a close speculation that Mourinho might be considering his options, mainly because of concerns over United's transfer budget.

Feilhaber to LAFC

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The soccer news starts with another USMNT player traded between MLS clubs. This time, it's Benny Feilhaber making the move from Sporting KC to LAFC. Feilhaber joins the MLS expansion team in exchange for $200,000 in general allocation money and $200,000 in targeted allocation money, once again putting a dollar figure on an MLS player.

Playing the January transfer game

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Anytime a club decides to "part ways" with a coach we hear the same thing. The replacement refuses to have his performance judged until he gets one or two transfer windows. That's when a coach makes his team his own, even when he's brought in to salvage the current season. For the January window, the question is whether or not it counts enough.

Watching sports for the holidays

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It's an interesting time for sports businesses across the world. They're being told by anybody with a stake that the only thing that matters anymore is their live programming. That means pushing as much of that as possible. In Europe, it's the Premier League most associated with the holidays.

MLS in Nashville

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The soccer news starts with the news breaking across multiple outlets that MLS is expanding to Nashville. An MLS public event scheduled for Nashville later today would be a bigger surprise if it wasn't welcoming the city as an MLS expansion franchise.

Nashville will join a league that has made it clear that there's no expectation of struggling in an expansion market.

The Club World Cup repeats the obvious

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The soccer news starts with Real Madrid lifting the Club World Cup for the second year running. Surprising no one. Cristiano Ronaldo was the difference, scoring in the 53rd minute in the 1-0 shutout of Gremio. In the 3rd-place game, Pachuca had no problem beating Al Jazira 4-1.

ESPN FC's Tim Vickery makes a point about what the Club World Cup really says about the state of soccer.

Miami takes another MLS step

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Friday's soccer news starts with the latest from the ongoing saga that is MLS expanding to Miami. We now know that the league is fine with the changes to the investor/operator group that will back David Beckham's MLS expansion team. With that settled and a stadium plan in place, the expectation is a quick conclusion to what has been a lengthy process to officially award a Miami MLS team.

CONCACAF’s Club World Cup run ends early

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We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the Club World Cup, at least as we know it. FIFA is reportedly considering a revamped summer tournament held every four years with 16 clubs. It's in part a response to the unlikeliness of the Confederations Cup continuing since they can't reasonably hold it in Qatar in the summer of 2021.

Barcelona doubles down on the buyout clause

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Lionel Messi will remain a member of Barcelona. In what isn't at all a surprise, his new contract contains a buyout clause. Also not surprising considering what happened to Barcelona over the summer, it's quite large. €700m euros, with Barcelona doing all it can to keep another Neymar scenario.

MLS is a soccer business

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Major League Soccer isn't likely to make the future of the Columbus Crew clear on anybody's schedule but their own. What the league is willing to do is remind everyone that this is a soccer business operating in a soccer nation and not anything else. That's a single-entity business model reminder to fans that comes at a tough time.

What happened to Serie A?

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Friday's soccer news starts with what was once a marquee game for American soccer fans, Milan vs Juventus in Serie A. The questions over Serie A's international appeal aren't new. Depending on the source, Serie A is either in a little bit of trouble or a whole lot.

Amplifying Serie A's problems is Juventus taking the biggest cut of Champions League money last season.

The Rest

CONCACAF introduces League of Nations

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CONCACAF officially announced the new League of Nations competition, set to begin in September, 2018. The press release confirmed an earlier report that the confederation was set to follow UEFA's example and form a league structure for their national teams.

Though the specifics won't be released until early 2018, CONCACAF confirmed that all 41 nations in the region will play across three leagues with promotion and relegation.