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London in the MLS?

David Beckham is said to be in negotiations to become an owner of the 20th Major League Soccer "franchise". Would a London-baseed franchise work?

MLS teams play in state-of-the-art stadia, to good crowds and every game is televised. Its infrastucture is very much in place and a rival to many other national football associations. The league's clubs should be profitable by 2010. Not, at first an Earth-shattering claim, but can any other league claim that?

Soccer in the US has been blighted by playing about with the rules; and by jokes about the need for American's to witness high-scoring, no-tie contests only. But the MLS has only altered four rules: the clocks count down (to 0:00) instead of up (to 45:00 or 90:00) and the referee stops the counter for stops in play; 35-yard shoot outs replaced penalty shoot-outs; a fourth, goalkeeper-only substitution was allowed; and a ten-minute golden goal period was used to settle tied games. None of these are huge steps away from the IFAB rules and standards. And now, all four of them have been rescinded. Speak it quietly, but Americans now play proper football!

Trans-Atlantic travel is significantly cheaper than a few years ago, so the costs of getting to and from "away" games would not be significant. And, if a sponsorship contra-deal could be arranged with an airline or travel management comapny, travel costs could make no impact to a team's bottom-line.

With the possibility of negotiating for European players entering their "twilight years", does a London franchise work? The MLS season lasts from March to November: in other words only congruent with a full month's football in the English season for three months (April, September and October). Could they fill a London stadium (Twickenham? Wembley? The Olympic Stadium?) fifteen times per season?

The potential revenues could be astronomical; and could earn the London-based team many times as much as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and the like.

Many people would choose to see a London-based team, competing, with (recent) world class players in a spectacular stadium, at a competitive price against, for instance, DC United or New York Red Bulls; especially when contrasted with Fulham scrapping against Burnley or West Ham holding out for a nil-all against Stoke.

Would a David Beckham-owned, celebrity endorsed, media-friendly, summer-time season of competitive football work in London?
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Comments

  • [cite]Posted By: Dazzler21[/cite]yes.
    Thanks for clearing that up for me
  • Travel to USA is cheaper these days - but not to the extent that you could follow your team 8 or 10 times in every 3 or 4 months

    too expensive and for that reason I'm oot!
  • They can sod right off. I couldn't sleep last night and watched a bit of LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake and it was dreadful. Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be. Still, it helped knock the insomnia on the head.
  • Franchise Football should stay stateside IMHO.
  • What an absolutely dreadful idea.
  • I don't think a London based franchise would work, but I am suprised none of the MLS teams have played an exhibition game over here, especially as Beckham has his academy here. Heard Beckham was investing in a new team from Montreal to enter the MLS in about 2 years.
  • [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]No
    [cite]Posted By: BDL[/cite]No
    Any particular reason?
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  • edited November 2009
    Definitely going to happen.

    AEG, the Dome and the Beckham Academy just up the road,

    Already playing Division 3 football so no real drop in class

    Club needs new owners.

    Club was already close to swapping leagues with Rangers so not a new concept

    OohAah will love the away support figures.

    Charlton London Ravens here we come.
  • AEG, The Dome and Beckhams Acadamy could well mean a stadium at the Dome, IF this were to happen.

    So they would be competing for our fans, IF this were to happen.

    I think the Beckhams are happy in California, so could see him getting a franchise in San Francisco or somewhere like that.

    Can't see it myself. Can't see FIFA allowing it, although Canadian teams do play in USA based leagues and Monaco play in France, Berwick in Scotland, so who knows.

    Would kick off times have to be at midnight for the American TV market?
  • [cite]Posted By: Hornchurch[/cite]Can't see FIFA allowing it, although Canadian teams do play in USA based leagues and Monaco play in France, Berwick in Scotland...
    Cardiff play in England...
  • and swansea.

    but it's one thing crossing a close border, another crossing the atlantic...
  • [cite]Posted By: olster[/cite]it's one thing crossing a close border, another crossing the atlantic...
    The London Monarchs were able to do it. All F1 teams have to do it (and that's a bigger logistics exercise than mere pampered footballers). Tennis players, athletes and golfers all have to do it. Brazil have done it (pretty successfully). Jugen Klinnsman did it. Even Man United were forced to do it.

    I don't see distance being much of an issue.

    Porto and Rubin Kazan play in the Champions League - they are 2,746 miles apart (a five hour flight). London might have to play against New England - 3,316 miles away, 6hours by air. Not a huge differene.
  • edited November 2009
    [cite]Posted By: Hornchurch[/cite]I think the Beckhams are happy in California, so could see him getting a franchise in San Francisco or somewhere like that.
    I doubt another franchise in California would be allowed.
    [cite]Posted By: Hornchurch[/cite]Can't see it myself. Can't see FIFA allowing it.
    Very interesting point. In fact, I can see FIFA being the reason that it does happen. Currently FIFA run one big international tournament (The World Cuo) and one, ridiculous, maligned club pre-season friendly tournament (the World Club Cup Championship of Clubs or something). A wider, franchise-based "interntationalised" club tournament, run fromsunny California, in the "off-season", with teams in big European cities, would be right up their strada.
  • [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite] Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]No
    [cite]Posted By: BDL[/cite]No
    Any particular reason?
    Yes.

    We already have a successful league structure with 100+ years of history, they have no chance of competing against it.
  • I don’t see how this could work at all.

    No one would go… Maybe the odd game when nothing else is going on but for 3 months they have to compete with the normal English Season. Then every 2 years they have to deal with World Cups and European Championships. Not to mention Cricket, Rugby and the Olympics, which our football doesn’t have to deal with during the summer.

    I can see and hope that London gets its own team for the NFL and NBA as these have proven that there is demand by selling out each time they come, but I don’t see it happening with MLS.
  • I think a London FC franchise would get support especially if Beckham was involved.

    We fans who go on a regular basis or stand in the ran at Yeovil are the exception not the rule.

    Many more people follow football on TV and make very occasional "tourist" visits to live games at the big clubs.

    Some names and some razzmatazz plus plenty of plugs from Sky and the fans would come for the day out. I doubt regular fans would desert other clubs but the less committed would pick up on the buzz and start to follow them. Look at the sudden interest that the England football or rugby (when they are winning) generate from non-regular fans.

    Nice clean stadium, US style food and drink, cheer leaders etc and none of that nasty violen rivalry stuff so all perfect for the family. It's not partisan either so quite safe to wear the shirt uniform in the street and let's be honest all that "we hate the other team is so last century".

    Roll up, roll up, I have seen the future and it works.
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  • the airline deal would need to include bringing the away support...
  • [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
    It would work if a small proportion of "traditional" London club fans turned up to watch them play, not instead, but as well. If just one-tenth of the fans of Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Palace, QPR, Millwall, Orient, Watford, AFC Wimbledon tipped up, they would have enough spectators to compete in the MLS. That's without the US ex-pats, tourists, courious, passers-by and the 12 away fans.
  • [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]No
    [cite]Posted By: BDL[/cite]No
    Any particular reason?
    Yes.

    We already have a successful league structure with 100+ years of history, they have no chance of competing against it.
    Yes, the same argument that was used against the setting up of the Premier League in the 1990s and the Champions League. They failed too, didn't they?

    I think you're missing the point. It wouldn't try to compete against the incumbent football. It wouldn't attempt to replace the football that's already being successfully run in England. It would run alongside it and at a mostly-different time of year.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
    It would work if a small proportion of "traditional" London club fans turned up to watch them play, not instead, butas well. If just one-tenth of the fans of Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Palace, QPR, Millwall, Orient, Watford, AFC Wimbledon tipped up, they would have enough spectators to compete in the MLS. That's without the US ex-pats, tourists, courious, passers-by and the 12 away fans.


    It's expensive enough following one team never mind paying out for MLS rubbish. Most of the players are no better than league one standard.
    If it happened then they might get a couple of sell outs for the early games or in June when there's no other football but no way will enough people go to 19 home games.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
    It would work if a small proportion of "traditional" London club fans turned up to watch them play, not instead, butas well. If just one-tenth of the fans of Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Palace, QPR, Millwall, Orient, Watford, AFC Wimbledon tipped up, they would have enough spectators to compete in the MLS. That's without the US ex-pats, tourists, courious, passers-by and the 12 away fans.


    It's expensive enough following one team never mind paying out for MLS rubbish. Most of the players are no better than league one standard.
    If it happened then they might get a couple of sell outs for the early games or in June when there's no other football but no way will enough people go to 19 home games.
    Interesting. So your point is that most players are no better than League One standard and they would sell out a couple of home games at the start of the season. In other words, they would be about as good as Charlton, yet with more fans. Doesn't stop any of us going to Charlton though, does it?

    Would you say that a couple of early-season sell outs would constitute a success or a failure? Because Charlton haven't some close to selling out this season. Nor have most of the London teams, outside the Premiership.

    For me, with the kind of budgets they would have at their disposal, they would be looking at far more crowd-pulling players than "League One standard". As much as I like him, I can't see Deon Burton pulling on an MLS "jersey". But I can see michael Owen wearing one.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
    It would work if a small proportion of "traditional" London club fans turned up to watch them play, not instead, butas well. If just one-tenth of the fans of Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Palace, QPR, Millwall, Orient, Watford, AFC Wimbledon tipped up, they would have enough spectators to compete in the MLS. That's without the US ex-pats, tourists, courious, passers-by and the 12 away fans.


    It's expensive enough following one team never mind paying out for MLS rubbish. Most of the players are no better than league one standard.
    If it happened then they might get a couple of sell outs for the early games or in June when there's no other football but no way will enough people go to 19 home games.
    Interesting. So your point is that most players are no better than League One standard and they would sell out a couple of home games at the start of the season. In other words, they would be about as good as Charlton, yet with more fans. Doesn't stop any of us going to Charlton though, does it?

    Would you say that a couple of early-season sell outs would constitute a success or a failure? Because Charlton haven't some close to selling out this season. Nor have most of the London teams, outside the Premiership.

    For me, with the kind of budgets they would have at their disposal, they would be looking at far more crowd-pulling players than "League One standard". As much as I like him, I can't see Deon Burton pulling on an MLS "jersey". But I can see michael Owen wearing one.


    A couple of early season sell outs would constitute initial success but this would be purely down to the novelty of it. And your point about Charlton isn't comparable, we've all grown up with charlton and followed them through the years. 30-40K aren't suddenly going to go and watch this London team every other week. I just don't think a MLS franchise in London would be sustainable over a 19 home game season let alone over 2/3/4 years.
  • [cite]Posted By: Blinkant[/cite]I don’t see how this could work at all.

    No one would go…
    In the same way no-one goes to see rugby at Twickenham (more fans there this month than any football ground in Britain); or Wimbledon (sellouts); or Test matches (three tests a year in London - all sellouts); Rugby League at Wembley? Even the 02 sold out this week for a pretend tennis tournament.
    [cite]Posted By: Blinkant[/cite]Maybe the odd game when nothing else is going on but for 3 months they have to compete with the normal English Season.
    Then people would have to make some tough choices during those three months: do I go to watch London, with some of the best/most-famous players in the world, playing a well-hyped fixture against, say New York, in a magnificent, clean stadium (say, Wembley), full of "home fans", with my family, good catering, all the beer I need, close to hand, at a sensible time (say 6pm on a Sunday), well presented, in a comfortable atmosphere? Or do I go to see Fulham grind out a draw against Wigan?

    You might not go. I might not go. But I don't think it's fair to say no-one would go.
    [cite]Posted By: Blinkant[/cite]Then every 2 years they have to deal with World Cups and European Championships. Not to mention Cricket, Rugby and the Olympics, which our football doesn’t have to deal with during the summer.
    Interesting use of "our football", by which I assume you mean the Premier League teams up and down the country, as opposed to a specific London-based team.

    The World Cup and European championships could be accommodated easily. FIFA could dictate when MLS matches are played and the World cup/MLS season shuffled to accommodate (if the MLS was an international, FIFA-run tournament, it would be very simple to do that). As for the European Championships, that's even easier: London would just play "away" games throughout the tournament. (But it would be interesting to see the conflicts if some European national teams were deprived of players who were contracted to the MLS - a bit like the issues surrounding the IPL).
    [cite]Posted By: Blinkant[/cite]I can see and hope that London gets its own team for the NFL and NBA as these have proven that there is demand by selling out each time they come, but I don’t see it happening with MLS.
    So you can see the point of "minority" "sports" like "American football" and netball getting "franchises" in a country with no history of professionalism in either of those passtimes, but you can't see it happening with football, in the capital city of England, the home of football?
  • edited November 2009
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chris_from_Sidcup[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: InspectorSands[/cite]Beckham looked one tenth of the player he used to be.


    He was basically playing on one leg though after having 3 painkilling injections in his ankle. He could barely stand on it during extra time.

    Anyway, it's a stupid idea. Who would support them anyway? Would fans of other London clubs not support their team and go and see London FC instead?! Not going to happen.
    It would work if a small proportion of "traditional" London club fans turned up to watch them play, not instead, butas well. If just one-tenth of the fans of Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, Palace, QPR, Millwall, Orient, Watford, AFC Wimbledon tipped up, they would have enough spectators to compete in the MLS. That's without the US ex-pats, tourists, courious, passers-by and the 12 away fans.


    It's expensive enough following one team never mind paying out for MLS rubbish. Most of the players are no better than league one standard.
    If it happened then they might get a couple of sell outs for the early games or in June when there's no other football but no way will enough people go to 19 home games.
    Interesting. So your point is that most players are no better than League One standard and they would sell out a couple of home games at the start of the season. In other words, they would be about as good as Charlton, yet with more fans. Doesn't stop any of us going to Charlton though, does it?

    Would you say that a couple of early-season sell outs would constitute a success or a failure? Because Charlton haven't some close to selling out this season. Nor have most of the London teams, outside the Premiership.

    For me, with the kind of budgets they would have at their disposal, they would be looking at far more crowd-pulling players than "League One standard". As much as I like him, I can't see Deon Burton pulling on an MLS "jersey". But I can see michael Owen wearing one.


    A couple of early season sell outs would constitute initial success but this would be purely down to the novelty of it. And your point about Charlton isn't comparable, we've all grown up with charlton and followed them through the years. 30-40K aren't suddenly going to go and watch this London team every other week. I just don't think a MLS franchise in London would be sustainable over a 19 home game season let alone over 2/3/4 years.
    Well that's an entirely fair and reasonable stance to take. I just happen to think it would! And if/when it happens, I would far sooner it happened in London, than Edinburgh, Cardiff or Dublin.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]No
    [cite]Posted By: BDL[/cite]No
    Any particular reason?
    Yes.

    We already have a successful league structure with 100+ years of history, they have no chance of competing against it.
    Yes, the same argument that was used against the setting up of the Premier League in the 1990s and the Champions League. They failed too, didn't they?

    I think you're missing the point. It wouldn't try to compete against the incumbent football. It wouldn't attempt to replace the football that's already being successfully run in England. It would run alongside it and at a mostly-different time of year.

    That's a completely different argument as existing teams were used in those competitions with no major rule changes which weren't implement in to the rest of the league.

    Most players will be away during the summer and there's the small matter of the World & European Cup, how long is this season going to be? I can't see there being enough time for 15 home matches.
  • [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Chizz[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: Friend Or Defoe[/cite]No
    [cite]Posted By: BDL[/cite]No
    Any particular reason?
    Yes.

    We already have a successful league structure with 100+ years of history, they have no chance of competing against it.
    Yes, the same argument that was used against the setting up of the Premier League in the 1990s and the Champions League. They failed too, didn't they?

    I think you're missing the point. It wouldn't try to compete against the incumbent football. It wouldn't attempt to replace the football that's already being successfully run in England. It would run alongside it and at a mostly-different time of year.

    That's a completely different argument as existing teams were used in those competitions with no major rule changes which weren't implement in to the rest of the league.

    Most players will be away during the summer and there's the small matter of the World & European Cup, how long is this season going to be? I can't see there being enough time for 15 home matches.
    Players will play when they are told to play - if it means missing Summer holidays, tough! The season lasts from March until November - the 2009 season is just being completed now, in fact. And yes the World Cup and European Championships would be small matters, as above.
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