The coronavirus pandemic has affected leagues from all around the world, and it has forced owners of leagues to think outside the box to stay afloat. Major League Soccer and Liga MX of Mexico are two of the biggest soccer leagues in North America, and at least one owner is proposing the idea of joining forces. Alejandro Irarragorri owns Santos Laguna and Atlas in the Liga MX, and his league has seen plenty of tough decisions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Irarragorri argues that Major League Soccer provides an example of sustainable growth, and the Liga MX could learn plenty from the league in the United States. He also argues that the creation of a super league will benefit both the MLS and Liga MX in the long term.
The Liga MX just announced that they would be suspending promotion and relegation for the next five years, and lack of growth in the league is a major problem. Liga MX has also had a tough time attracting new ownership groups, but that has not been a problem in Major League Soccer. Even though MLS and the sport of soccer, in general, is not as popular as other sports in the United States, the league has still seen tremendous growth over the last few years.
Major League Soccer runs a sustainable operation, and it can attract new investors as well. Irarrogorri worries that Liga MX will not be able to sustain their current business model over the next decade, and he is looking for some help.
Even though the creation of a new super league seems like a very radical idea, these two leagues have formed a partnership over the last few years. Liga MX and MLS entered into a partnership in 2018, and by all accounts, it has been a success. The two leagues compete in the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup each year, and they combine on several other initiatives.
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has also mentioned this is a possibility in the past, and it would help MLS compete with the other major sports franchises and leagues in the United States. Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla has expressed that both attendance and TV revenue have declined over the last few years, and the coronavirus pandemic is making things even more complicated. Even though this partnership could be seen as a way to bail out Liga MX, there is still plenty to gain from the perspective of MLS.
Rooney: MLS Taking Advantage of Star Players
Even though Major League Soccer has seen tremendous growth and success over the last few years, the league has still been unable to draw some of the top soccer stars from around the world. Wayne Rooney, one of the most popular and best players in the world, spent some time in the MLS, but he has voiced his displeasure with the league. Rooney spent 18 months with DC United before leaving the team in January.
Rooney now plays for Derby County, and he says that the way that MLS clubs trade their star players is simply not fair. Players in Major League Soccer do not make as much money as stars in other professional sports, and they are not in a great position financially to move teams. MLS treats trades and free agency like leagues such as the MLB and NBA, but Rooney argues that it is unfair.
Rooney has also pointed out that the current financial structure of Major League Soccer is one of the major reasons that the top players in the world don’t join the league. Rooney went as far as to say that the owners in MLS are taking advantage of star players.