Rochester Rhinos join NASL

Rhinos New Logo

In the latest back-and-forth battle between the new NASL and USL, the new league received a boost today when the Rochester Rhinos announced that they were going to make the switch from USL-1 to the NASL.

“We evaluated the situation very carefully and decided that the best decision for the future of the Rhinos and soccer in Rochester was for us to join the new NASL,” said Rhinos CEO Rob Clark in a press release. “Soccer is maturing before our very eyes.  We are joining a family of team owners who are committed to investing in our league and their teams to further the development of players and support the future growth of the sport in North America.  The NASL is a new beginning for soccer in Rochester.”

The move leaves the USL Division 1 with just five teams — Portland, FC New York, Puerto Rico, Cleveland and Austin — and bumps the total of teams in the NASL to ten. The new league is still waiting on official word from the U.S. Soccer Federation to legitimize its status.

Questions about the future of USL are now significant, with the top two divisions comprised of just 13 teams. It wouldn't be surprising to see the two levels merge as one, especially with Portland scheduled to make the jump to MLS in 2011.

What do you think of Rochester's move? Will the situation ever be resolved? What will happen to the USL?

Share your thoughts below.

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72 Responses to Rochester Rhinos join NASL

  1. Kevin in Denver says:

    All USL-1 teams should join the NASL, we can make it the second division, and there needs to be promotion/relegation between USL-2 and NASL.

    Every 3 years, the top 2 teams from NASL should play in a playoff, and the team that wins a home and home should be invited to the MLS, if they meet certain requirements on stadium size and payroll. This should be done until there are 20 teams in the MLS table.

  2. gunner04 says:

    whats the difference between the two leagues? why are teams jumping ship to leave usl and join NASL?

  3. einar says:

    long story that u need to catch up on buddy.

  4. Steve says:

    This is devastating for the USL. Rochester has been a mainstay of the USL for years now. Loosing them to NASL seems like a deathblow for the USL in my eyes. Also Cleveland has been rumored to be making a move back down to USL-2 due to financial reasons and complete suckness.

    My Aztex are out here in Texas with no one to play. I hope the front office is leaving the door open to NASL. It may be the only real option now.

  5. Jamie Z. says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever been proud to say I’m from Rochester.

  6. seth|NYC says:

    All the rumors, I’ve heard say that if Rochester bolts, USL-1 is dead. Puerto Rico was waiting on Rochester, and they’ll probably bolt tomorrow. NYC doesn’t exist. Cleveland goes to USL2.

    That leaves one team.

  7. CHJ says:

    I have only partially focused on the USL issue but am now realizing this is actually kind of a big deal with potentially significant repercussions for the development of players. Gunner 04, all I really know is that USL was not owned by the teams, but rather by a non-team entity. My understanding is that the teams wanted more say in league matters. I wish someone would write a longer piece actually going into a bit more detail about substantively what teams concerns where. If that piece was written somewhere, can someone please post a link. Was it simply a power thing? Was it financially motivated (divying up money, etc?)? Was it something about long term vision for the league? Was it about soccer development in the states? And with all due respect to the promotion/relegation voices out there I think the NASL-USL issue is important beyond that topic and warrants a conversation void of it. And for the record, I really wish there was promotion/relegation. Puerto Rico is the only team left in USL 1 that I have every really heard of or seen play.

  8. Z says:

    Kartik Krishnayer (Kartik Report) and Brian Quarstadt ( have been covering it well. Check out their archives for lots of info.

  9. brant says:

    Buh-bye USL. It was nice to know you. Hello NASL and see you at WakeMed Soccer Park next Spring :)

  10. George Ethier says:

    The only question now is how long before Puerto Rico, Portland and Austin announce they are quitting for the NASL? At least the fight between the 2 leagues is resolving quickly.

  11. oranjebleeder says:

    What will happen to the Aztex?
    Hope we will be in the NASL. Already have my 1979 Dallas Tornados autographed ball ready for action.

  12. gerald says:

    Agreed it looks like the 2 levels of USL will have to merge

  13. Matt in SF says:

    David Fellerath also has been covering the TOA/NASL story and has conducted some nice interviews with Selby Wellman, one of the Railhawks owners, that describes their point of view and some insight into the NASL’s objectives.

    link to

  14. Sterlinho says:

    This is turning into a disaster. I really feel like MLS missed the boat on this one. They could have bought the USL when it was for sale and carefully and slowly instituted promotion and relegation. Then, Montreal could have eventually moved up because they were the 2009 champs, etc…

    I really enjoyed hearing what Don Garber had to say at the Supporters Summit, but this was an opportunity missed.

  15. Martek says:

    If you Aztexans don’t jump to NASL and soon, you guys are back to PDL land.

  16. CHJ says:

    Even if MLS had bought the league their would not have been promotion/relegation. Owners who have put down millions for an MLS team are never going to threaten the value of their franchise with the possibility of relegation.

    While as a soccer fan I understand the argument for MLS having bought the USL, but I really don’t get how it was in the MLS’s interest to invest money into a lower level league when they are still expanding, trying to secure more soccer specific stadiums which is key to the development and growth of the league, and have dreadfully low salaries for the bottom of team rosters.

  17. fischy says:

    Your argument doesn’t square with the facts of the situation. In effect, you’re arguing for for much of what Jimmy Conrad has written in his “opus” on ESP Soccernet — at least insofar as his recommendations for the lower leagues. He wants MLS to buy out the whole soccer hierarchy in the country, and run the next tier as minor league affiliates/reserve teams for MLS franchises.

    While I dont entirely buy into his argument, there’s some merit to it…in theory. However, it ignores what’s happening out in the world. Most especially, it ignores hwa’ts happened with the USL the last month. The reason the USL franchise owners are all bolting is because the didn’t like the fact that the league was sold to an outside company with no input from the individual teams. Their problem isn’t just with the new league owner — they are chafing at the whole idea of owning franchises in a league owned by an outside company. They have no say in the running of the elague. The want control — they want investment in their future. If the MLS tried to take over the league, most of the owners would have the same problems with it.

    Then, there’s the other idea running through Conrad’s proposal — which would separate MLS into two tiers, with relegation and promotion within MLS 1 and MLS 2, but would not have any relegation from MLS. In that respect, Conrad is nodding to the reality that MLS owners would never agree to be relegated out of MLS. However, he doesn’t appreciate that they would feel the same hostility to carving MLS into a smaller first and second division. They haven’t bought a franchise in a top-flight league just to see their team get bumped out fo hte league, even for just a year. Promotion/relegation? It ain’t happening, buddy.

  18. fischy says:

    Well — it would make it even easier for MLS to control salaries, especially for younger players who might want to sign with higher-paying USL teams. You’re right, though — relegation and promotion aren’t going to happen. Also, if MLS had bought the league, most of the USL owners would be just as furious because they’d have even less control of hteir destiny.

  19. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Ugh, you just had to go there, didn’t you? The MLS did not “miss the boat”. Why would they do such a thing when they don’t want pro/rel in the first place? Pro/rel will NEVER happen in MLS. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year…….never going to happen. End…..of……story.

  20. guy with ball says:

    MLS wouldn’t/couldn’t buy the USL because the USL wasn’t/isn’t just USL-1.

    They have USL-1, USL-2, PDL, W-League, Super-Y to name a few.

    MLS has enough problems not being profitable on its own before getting into the chaos that is lower league football.

  21. jloome says:

    Ugh, you just had to go there, didn’t you? The MLS did not “miss the boat”. Why would they do such a thing when they don’t want pro/rel in the first place? Pro/rel will NEVER happen in MLS. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year…….never going to happen. End…..of……story.
    A foolish sentiment. This league already has provisions for revenue sharing; what makes you think it coudln’t put in provisions to share revenue with relegated teams to help offset losses?

    People can’t look beyond owners’ egos; it’s not stopping American investors from buying teams in leagues that do have relegation and promotion.

    In MLS, the teams control the league structure; as long as there’s any profit there, they can manipulate the revenue stream however they want. So if New York went down for a couple of seasons, their losses would be offset by the more profitable teams in the top division, a la baseball. Easily workable.

  22. Hincha Tim says:

    For the Timbers sake, I hope there is only 1 2nd level league next season so they can make the smooth transition.

  23. FusionRefugee says:

    Getting back to the actual subject at hand, how will this improve or damage the American soccer structure? It sounds like these teams are really looking to build a second tier that will produce and develop players for MLS and lower leagues abroad. Is that really good for MLS? will fringe draftees see the NASL as a better option than a crappy rookie contract with MLS? I bet the competition will be good for MLS and the Open Cup

  24. JohnC says:

    Some major questions to be answered:

    1: What is the vision of the owners buying into NASL?
    – do they one day desire to rival MLS?
    – do they hope to form a sustainable and profitable tier 2 league?

    2: What will Vancouver and Montreals’ role be considering they are jumping ship for MLS?

    3: What happens to USL-2 and lower leagues? Is the fallout of USL-1 going to hinder the new ownership so much that the other leagues are affected in a negative way?

    4: Is US Open Cup still played? If I am the owners of USL I am going to be very spiteful to NASL.

  25. Colin says:

    There won’t ever be a promotion/relegation system between the USL 2 and NASL, mostly because NASL is in many ways a ‘spite’ league. The only hope for relegation/promotion would be between NASL and MLS, although I doubt that would happen either.

  26. gunner04 says:

    thanks for actually trying to respond. I went back through and read Ives archives and thats about as much I understood too. It just seems strange to me that every single team can just up and leave and start a different league without any repercussions. If its all the same teams as USL and all the same owners it seems odd that they can get out of their obligations I assume they owe the third party owner.

  27. JR says:

    I’m not so sure Puerto Rico is headed for the NASL. The Islanders may head to the PRSL or an expanded Caribbean Football Union competition instead.

  28. TheDude says:

    Ummm there is already a bunch of talk of having a better working relationship between the NASL and MLS then there ever was between the USL and MLS.

    I wouldnt be surprised to see some talent sharing etc start to happen once the dust settles legally here.

  29. TheDude says:

    1) No desire to rival the MLS from what I can tell they firmly want to be a second division that the owners control rather than a non responsive entity of USL.

    2) Vancouver and Montreal will setup teams that will continue to play there after they leave from what I understand (lot of this is rumor at this point)

    3) USL2 etc seems to drop down to tier 3 league what happens from there I dont know.

  30. Dave says:

    I’ve also heard the reports that Cleveland is headed back to USL-2, though at this stage, you’d have to think the USL-1 is done and the remains will be rebranded as “USL Professional League” and “USL Development League,” or something similar.

    I can’t imagine Puerto Rico wouldn’t join the NASL at this stage. They’re too big a club not to be involved in this somehow. I’m also very curious to see what FC New York does.

    BTW, when exactly is Montreal joining MLS? I’ve heard no formal announcement from the league for such a thing. You’d think they’d have some big unveiling for clubs #19 & #20, yes? And if Montreal is #19, who’s #20?

  31. MLS are you listening? says:

    It sounds like the owners of the departing teams finally got sick of Fernando Marcos (USL owner) and his selfish decisions. He controlled everything and let them have no say. For years he took their franchise fees and waited for them to fold and he walked away richer. The owners finally stood up to it and decided they could do it better and formed NASL.

    Sounds like the same thing that has happened to soccer in America in the past and will happen in the future (are you listening MLS?).

  32. jake says:

    Not that anyone cares about it much, but I wonder how this will affect the rounds when teams start playing in the US Open Cup

  33. HM says:

    Who cares about the argument? At the end of the day, both of these leagues are going to fail.

    The USL was losing 2-3 clubs per year due to finance, and have seen 90% of their clubs fail (literally)since the mid 1990s.

    The new NASL is comprised of financially troubled clubs that do not have dedicated corporate sponsors to help the balance sheet. Nike isn’t walking through that door… and you really think FSC or Gol are jumping at the chance to pay for that crap? At best, the NASL is looking at $0 right fees with ad sales shared with a network. All 6 minutes of ads that air during a 2-hour broadcast.

    Unified, these clubs in USL and NASL had extraordinary difficulty; divided they will fold.

  34. CSD says:

    If all the teams leave USL-1 and you still have USL-2 teams I think USL-2 by default would then become USL-1 or “The USL”.

    For the record relegation/promotion is a stupid idea and no one ever seems to say what is good about it except they say “they do it Europe”. I really don’t care if they do it in Europe. Cause it is still stupid in Europe. The same teams win titles every year and the same teams hope they don’t get relegated every year. That is a stupid system. Wow, awesome my team was not good enough this year to have a chance of winning a title but good enough to stay at this level and get the crap beat out of them by the same teams next year. Where do I get my season tickets so I can spend my hard earned money on that crap.

  35. DC Josh says:

    The USL is going down, down, the USL is going down, down, the USL is going down, wodn, down, down…

  36. BellusLudas says:

    NASL will be MLS2 within 5 years…it’s going to be fun to find out how Garber managed all this :-)

  37. gerald says:

    I doubt the owners of Liverpool, Man U, Villa are worried about relegation

  38. Poulet says:

    Now I’m more excited than ever about the new NASL. Let’s bring Austin, Portland and Puerto Rico too, and the future of 2nd division will look brighter than ever.

  39. MH says:

    I’m excited to see what the new NASL will do. I’ve been encouraged by their outlook and hope they can market the league well enough to see regular matches on TV.

    Marketing for the USL was pitiful. USL did well to maintain lower level soccer during it’s run, but it’s time for a new direction. And after they pulled the rug out from under the Wilmington Hammerheads (current champions of USL-2) I would love to see the team re-emerge in the NASL! That would be fitting.

  40. Matt Snyder says:

    GFolks….the “relegation / promotion” system is NOT a system that will EVER be allowed to exist in pro sports leagues in the U.S.

    Owner/Investors have figured out that the risk, safety & thus value of their franchises is preserved & promoted by not allowing “relegation/promotion” into their leagues. The MLS is only copying the other US leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, etc…) who don’t allow it. Relegation is a European league idea. Not happening. Money, money, money…..

  41. Chris says:

    right, but the owners would not want it because the innate value of the team (the amount they could sell it for) would be lessened. Their revenues might remain constant but the value of the franchise they own 49% of would be lowered, and therefore it wouldn’t get passed.

    Also, i’ve always tried to wrap my head around this. Why do we need relegation/promotion in the US? What are the major benefits? That teams can’t become complacent? They already can’t do that or their attendance will go from little to zero.

  42. Knuckles says:

    It’s only easily workable to those sitting on the sidelines who don’t own teams. It won’t happen here. Get over it.

  43. chuck says:

    I don’t think I can really take this new version of NASL seriously unless they manage to land the Puerto Rico Islanders.

  44. Gene says:

    Is there statistics available on the level of support / profitability of the lower division football in the U.S.?

  45. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Hey Dave,

    It seems like a pretty much done deal that Montreal will be the nineteenth team. But it won’t be official (and there won’t be the “big unveiling” you’re looking for) until the folks in Montreal (the Saputo family) present confirmed financing for upgrading their stadium to MLS standards. Still, 2012 is a distinct possibility.

    Garber has said repeatedly that there are no current talks regarding team #20. As always, the rumors are St. Louis or something in New York proper. Remember that when Beckham’s contract is up he has the right to own a team, so it’s possible we’re waiting on that (which would certainly lead one to think Big Apple—can you imagine David Beckham in Missouri?!?).

  46. swoot says:

    Why not give the 20th MLS spot to the NASL. Every year the winner of the NASL get to play in MLS. This makes winning the NASL worth something and gives MLS exposure around the NASL. It also lets teams who have paid the MLS fee assurance of not being relegated.

  47. seth|NYC says:

    Because in 20 years you’d have MLS as a 40 team league. Most with substandard stadia and zero support.

    Or are you suggesting that it’s a one-year promotion? What if they finish mid-table?

  48. Win says:

    This could work well if the NASL moved to a winter schedule as has been rumored. This might not be possible, but idealy the NASL could fit their whole season into MLS’s winter break. Then the “promoted” team could potentially win back to back NASL titles and stay in the MLS for an extended period of time.

  49. Beer-man says:

    Unless there is some strange requirement in MLS that says you have to live in the city where you own a team, I don’t believe Beckham would have to live in St.Louis. Besides, just like KC, St.Louis isn’t like the rest of Missouri. There’s even an airport to go along witht the 2 million people living in the metro area! Wow!

  50. Joamiq says:

    Why are any USL-1 teams not moving to the NASL at this point? It would be nice if whatever remains of USL could just function as an MLS reserve league…

  51. Goose says:

    Kickers are the current USL-2 champions.

  52. Rob says:

    Ummm… I think that’s what he was trying to do. But your comment was certainly very helpful.

  53. PRO/REL People are Dumb says:

    Not foolish at all.

    The ‘offsetting of losses’ rationale you propose for supporting pro/rel is total garbage.


    – Relegating good teams makes ALL OWNERS POORER: It is because of the revenue sharing that owners don’t want to see relegation. Imagine this; FC Dallas doesn’t want to see Seattle relegated because, due to revenue sharing, Seattle is making money for FC Dallas. Knowing that Seattle has shown that it only draws like 3000 fans per game in the 2nd divisions, FCD owners know their own team’s revenue would be significantly impacted if Seattle went down. This puts FCD in the odd position to actually want to lose against Seattle if FCD was in a position to relegate the Sounders.

    – “offsetting” is not good enough: it is designed to keep relegated teams from losing too much money, but owners aren’t in this league to lose money or just break even. All business owners hope for more than a 10% return on their investment and they do this through multiple revenue streams. You have to do better than just covering losses to make team owners want to vote for this idea.

    – What revenue streams are you going to offset? Ticket revenues only?: Let’s say the Galaxy are relegated as would have been the case in ’08. Sure their gate is affected, but what about sponsorships and merchanidse sales? Those are HUGE chunks of money that would have to be offset to mitigate the effects of relegation. The Gals make so much money off of merchandise and sponsorships – perhaps more than all the other teams combined, so if you told the MLS owners that they had to cover LA’s merch sales losses as well, not only would they give you a big FU, but the league COLLECTIVELY might not be able to financially do it. Your offsetting model is based on the assumption that losses due to relegation can be fully offset by revenue sharing but that is not a valid assumption.

    There are so many reasons we will NEVER EVER SEE PRO/REL in North America including the added risk it creates for sponsors, owners, etc.

    Stability is the friend of business and relegation is the enemy of stability. Follow the money!

    You people who continue to believe we will ever see PRO/REL in MLS are living in an alternate universe. You’re like the intelligent design crowd, living on faith and ignoring the patent realities that surround you.

  54. chg says:

    It isn’t only St. Louis.

    Everything’s up to date in Kansas City.

  55. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Your own itty-bitty airport? Wowzers! Do the A-ro planes run on moonshine, or Budweiser? And do y’all have that ‘lectricity too?

    David Beckham will never own a team based in St. Louis. Move or get over yourself. Or, you know, both.

  56. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Do some research on Pitch Invasion. It’s a good site that has covered this topic well.

  57. keep says:

    BellusLudas……..I was thinking the same thing. Gotta admit its starting to look like he does have a master plan

  58. Seriously? says:

    Again, enough about MLS and promotion/relegation, it’s just not going to happen here, full stop. Also, promo/releg is not a “soccer thing”, it’s how other countries run their sports leagues (just like pitch is not a “soccer term” as some American fans insist, it’s the Brit equivalent of field, that they use for grass sports, such as rugby, hockey, etc).

    If there is any movement on the matter of promo/releg, it will be a league (or a new pan-Euro league) getting rid of it, seeing as the big clubs with all the power would prefer to not have it.

    I’m not against promo/releg, I can just accept the reality that it’s not going to happen in MLS, my acceptance stemming perhaps my thinking it’s not as important or imperative to the sport as many here insist it is. It’s just not how American pro leagues are run, and there is no credible argument that can be made why a league HAS to have it.

  59. ERic says:

    As if there wasn’t already talent sharing? We saw several MLS players here in Austin last year, loaned from Houston, Salt Lake and Colorado.

  60. Andy says:

    I have to chuckle a bit at all of the “Pro/Rel will NEVER happen here” naysayers.

    A few facts for you.

    Besides owning ManU, Arsenal (almost),Liverpool, and Villa, Americans also bought Derby County THE YEAR IT WAS RELEGATED, and own Sunderland (which will likely get relegated within the next 5 yeas). Yes, these are those same AMERICAN investors you think would never go for the risk…

    The USA is the largest market in the world (financially) and includes sufficient markets (metros, etc.) to support at least 50 top flight teams (Rochester is not even a top 50 market, by the way and has a solid 2nd tier team). FIFA will never let us go the route of the NFL, with a 32 team league so financially, for the league as a whole, it is better to get teams in more markets and then rotate those teams in a manageable fashion – hence promotion/relegation (which is also, btw, something FIFA is pushing for in this country).

    Think about the NFL. Would anyone outside of Detroit and Cleveland be upset if those teams went to NFL2 next year? If the dyamic NFL2 winners in San Antonio and Las Vegas joined the league would we really be upset? We Americans deal with teams moving cities and getting new names. Is pro/rel any different for the audience?

    For the owners, they get to be part of revenue sharing of a bigger overall league and if they get relegated, they not only get a parachute payment for a couple of years, they get to reduce their expenses (salaries, etc.) significantly. Most professional soccer contracts involve cuts in pay for players if the team gets relegated.

    Do I see it happening in the immediate future? No.

    Do I think we’ll have at least some form of Pro/Rel by 2020? Absolutely.

  61. ciscokid says:

    “Do I think we’ll have at least some form of Pro/Rel by 2020? Absolutely.”

    Man, I want some of that action! I plan to retire around 2020 and this could fund my retirement. I’ll even give you 5-1 odds, just name your price.

  62. CHJ says:

    Woohoo St. Louise! I hope that they get the 20th franchise soon so that all those rumors about DC United moving to the city with the big arch will finally sink to the bottom of the Missisippi.

  63. CHJ says:

    Comparing American ownership of major European teams is simply CRAZY. For one thing, does anybody truly believe that Aresenal, Liverpool, etc with all the money they get from international merchandising alone, are ever going to get relegated? The economics in England are completely different and even more different for the big four. So we are comparing apples and oranges. The value of the tv rights also gives the EPL an ability to offset some lose when a club, say West Ham, or dare I say (gulp) Newcastle or Everton where to get demoted. I have no thoughts about 2020 other then I can only dream that football on this side of the pond will have European type money by then. This is such an absurd and annoyingly ongoing discussion in American soccer circles. Shame on me for even engaging it. My apologies.

  64. nate says:

    I wish those in favor of pro/rel would actually sit down and think for a second before demanding something just because it’s done in European leagues. What this comes down to is understanding the differences between America/Americans and Europe/Europeans. There are significant differences, too many to list, that mean that our league _shouldn’t_ be identical to others, or it will not prosper. For one thing, with pro/rel, the teams in Europe have solid fan bases that will support their team regardless (though surely attendance takes a hit when a team is relegated.) The same is not true here. In many cases, MLS relies on star power – think of the big AWAY crowds drawn when stars like Blanco, Beckham and Adu travel(ed). Besides, it would confuse the hell out of all the casual fans, who make up most of the audience – “When does Beckham come this season? Wait, the Rochester *Whats*??”

    An excellent question that another poster raised: why pro/rel? give us a single good reason. here are some bad reasons: 1) to make MLS like the European leagues – if it would hurt the league and provide no benefit than this is a silly argument. 2) to give the worst clubs something to fight for at the end of the season – here’s another way MLS is different from Europe, we have playoffs. At the end of the season (look at this season!) all but the two or three worst teams are still in playoff contention, and still have something to play for. That’s more than you can say about most European leagues, where save for the bottom three and top four or so, fighting for cup places, most teams have nothing to play for by the end of the season.

  65. dhines says:

    what is it with people’s desire for promotion and relegation? PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT EUROPE. in the USA, teams are moved between various reasons for economic reasons, it has always been that way and will always be that way.

    why don’t you guys focus on something that can be achieved?

  66. dhines says:

    meant to say ‘moved between various leagues for economic reasons’

  67. jloome says:

    “Do I think we’ll have at least some form of Pro/Rel by 2020? Absolutely.”

    Man, I want some of that action! I plan to retire around 2020 and this could fund my retirement. I’ll even give you 5-1 odds, just name your price.
    Reply December 01, 2009 at 01:24 PM

    Yeah, I heard that from the “no single table” crowd as well. Then Ives polled his readers and it became obvious single table is more popular that divisions. It’s just assumed not to be the case because Americans will want something “uniquely American.”

    Again, that’s not a rationale argument. Neither is “they won’t want to relegate a profitable club”, as a) generally profitable clubs don’t get relegated and b) it’s meaningless when most of the league still loses money. So your net loss is marginally higher? It’s a write-down league; most of the owners benefit more from write downs than direct operating profit. So relegation would actually help some of the teams’ business models.

    People have preconceptions they just can’t seem to see past. “It’s not American” seems to be the principle argument here, as the financial ones generally don’t hold.

    As for people deserting their club in droves if they were relegated? If you think a fanbase like TFC or Seattle would after relegation just because Seattle’s USL club drew poorly, you don’t understand football culture. People don’t support the team based on its potential to win, they support it as a community entity. And besides, a relegated team is capable of winning something — promotion!

  68. MH says:

    Uh…. Newcastle has already been “demoted” and are now playing in the second-tier of English football. (gulp)

  69. MH says:

    My bad. I think they finished the regular season in first place.

  70. alex says:

    i don’t see what advantages a promotion/relegation system would bring. the state of soccer in north america is too fragile for it. imagine if the red bulls were relegated. all the hard work done to establish the club in local awareness would suddenly be wiped out.

  71. Seriously? says:

    Seriously Andy? So because a few Americans bought teams in leagues where promo/releg is looooong established, then you infer that team owners might want to start it here? Do you honestly not see a difference between taking a risk by buying a team in a league where you have no choice, and choosing to take the same risk when there’s no (or a miniscule) call for it, restructuring a league in a country where the VAST majority of fans and potential fans would think the new setup was strange and unnecessary, if not stupid and wrong?

    As for your question of would anyone be upset if the Browns and Lions were to drop, the simple answer is, none of the owners would like to even think about playing in a 2nd tier league. As it is, while revenue sharing is pretty well established here, the biggest earning teams do not like having to share their money with the smaller earning teams, so they would never want to add a succession of even smaller market teams, enough to make a 2nd league, who would make even less money. Adding new teams to create an NFL2 might bring in more money to the organization as a whole, but would it bring in more money per franchise? Unlikely.

    And while it’s not likely that Man U, Arsenal or Liverpool would get relegated, it is possible. As has been pointed out, Newcastle is a very big club, but the money they have has not translated into a top tier guarantee. Sheffield Wednesday is a pretty big club, much bigger than many in the Premier League now, yet they dropped and have not been able to get back in for years. It is a FACT that the biggest and therefore most powerful club across Europe would much rather play in a league where being relegated was impossible, not just improbable, because they know that money is not a stone cold guarantee against dropping.

    Again, while I do have some affection for the promo/releg idea, I don’t think it’s an end all be all, and I just don’t get this ‘we have to copy Europe’ mentality, having a league and a playoff champion is not a blasphemy to the gods of soccer. There are other countries with different league structures, but I doubt there are groups of fans there clamoring to change their leagues to match the only legitimate league structure, that of European leagues. I don’t follow it closely, but are there Mexican fans who rail against the clausura/aperture/playoff structure down there?

  72. Michael Goggins says:

    It certainly is a much bigger city than Seattle. The city that can only support one major sports team a season. The Cardinals draw twice the crowds of the Mariners!! How are the Supersonics? Oh wait they moved to greener pastures in Oklahoma City!! Really a cow town took your Basketball team. Isn’t it about time the Mariners and Seahawls move as well. Get over yourself because nobody with half a brain wants to live in that sewer of city. I would say the puddle jumpers that fly into that hole in the ground run on something produced there, but there is nothing!! Even the beer produced there, Red Hook, is an AB product. The only thing they produce is RAIN!!! If you want moonshine then head towards Spokane where all the gun nuts and unibombers like to hang out!!!