Friday, October 26, 2007

EPL should play matches in US

That is the idea being put out by West Ham non-executive chairman Eggert Magnusson.

With the NFL set to play a meaningful game in London this weekend, at least a few people in the EPL are wondering if they could do the same in America. The reason for this is simple, money. If they can expand their brand in the US, money will follow.

I have little doubt that most fans in England would not take a liking to this idea and see it for the gimmick it is. Plus with most teams already holding a very full schedule, the players might not take to the idea of flying to the states (even if it were just the East coast) instead of traveling across town to play a game.

But money has a way of making problems like these seem not so major. I don't see this happening anytime in the next couple years but as American influence grows in the English game, so might the push for this idea.

So if it did happen, what kind of effect, if any, would it have on MLS? Since any game would probably happen outside of the MLS season (I would think they would wait till after the Super Bowl to maximize exposure and due to stadium issues), I think the impact would be little. If the game was tied in with ticket sales to a MLS club (like the Revolution), it might give a slight bump, but overall, I think it would be a wash. They would get soccer fans out to watch such an event, but I don't think this would act as a catalyst to turn those fans into MLS fans.

Now where this could go many years from now is a much more interesting possibility. What if EPL and MLS clubs competed in some sort of 'SuperLiga' type event? Obviously, this idea is at least a decade away from even being taken seriously, but if the two leagues could play competitive matches against each other and if the MLS sides did not look like crap, then there could be a direct benefit to MLS as well as the EPL. Now this is a lot of 'ifs', but it is fun to speculate.

In the end, I think at some point in the next 10-years, an EPL match will take place on US soil. It will be sold out and probably even carried on ESPN or ABC (or maybe Fox). People will hype it up and the ratings will be okay, but in the end it will serve more to line the pockets of the owners then advance the game in the US.

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Blogger Sanjeev Singh said...

Gr8 Post ..

6:57 PM  

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