Monday, February 22, 2010

MLS CBA: Could We Have An American "Big Four"?

Just a thought:

The new CBA discussions for MLS have apparently turned to shit...

It seems that the owners/The Don are terrified of the idea of "fair-market" competition among the "clubs" within the league.  Every official comment seems to come from a reluctance to let teams handle their own financial work, get dirty and fight amongst themselves for contracts, draft picks, incoming talent, free agents, etc.  I have to wonder if the main reason for this is a fear of MLS turning into a top-heavy league like the Premiership where only Man. Utd. and Chelsea have an honest shot at winning the title, and only Arsenal and Liverpool ever make a real threat.

Think about it...
Let's say by some random stroke of a pen, MLS opens up its economic rules concerning the above mentioned matters.  Wouldn't that HEAVILY favor a small number of "big" teams?  I think so.  If the league were to drop, or even greatly alter its single-entity practices, I could see a situation where LA, Chicago, Seattle and New York (now that RB is fully committed to money ball) run away with the league for years, leaving teams like Kansas City, Cowtown Columbus, San Jose, etc with no real chance at success.  No success, no fans.  No fans, no money.  No money = folded MLS franchises.

Some of the roster rules and regulations of the league seem oppressive and heavy-handed, but is MLS really ready to open the system up?  Would we be happy with a Premiership situation where the same few clubs share all the glory?  Am I wrong in thinking that this would be the outcome?


Brian said...

I really do not want a top 4 type of league, however I don't think allowing free agency within the league would cause that to happen. Why? The salary cap. Player salaries wouldn't go up that much, and if anything it would force the lowballing teams in the league to spend some money. I'm looking at you Mr. Kraft and the Revs you don't really care about, KC (Hartman situation), San Jose, Dallas (VDB situation), etc.

Faux Fur and Soccer Shirts said...

I don't think free agency on it's own would lead to a Big 4, but I could see it if it were combined with major changes in all roster/financial restrictions like "contracts, draft picks, incoming talent, free agents, etc."

I think that's what the league is afraid of: Free agency being Step 1 of the process that turns MLS into a predictable Euro-style league.

As far as free agency forcing cheap clubs to spend more...don't bet on it. If an owner is reluctant to spend "some" in a league of parity, he damn sure won't spend "lots" to compete with the big dogs who are more willing/able.