Interesting. Here's part of it. The most intriguing aspect to me, whether or not we ever have pro'rel, is the effect it can have on development, where our system is severely flawed. http://footiebusiness.com/2012/11/20/what-american-soccer-can-learn-from-japan/ As a foreshadowing of what was to come under the Plan, the J. League decided to create a lower “J2” league in 1999 to go along with the top league, now called “J1”. With this, they also instituted promotion and relegation. One result? Better marketing opportunities for the sport, with fans’ passion being upped a notch, and relegation battles being contested and publicized as much as championships. Take the example of Kashiwa Reysol (a team with 70-year-old roots as Hitachi’s corporate team, located in Chiba, roughly east of the capital city), which was relegated from J1 in the 2009 season yet was promoted back the next year. Incredibly, Kashiwa won the J1 championship in 2011. That’s what dreams are made of – the key reason people follow sports. Nothing like it exists in North American sport. This promotion/relegation idea is alive and growing in North American soccer circles. If soccer in North America adopted an approach similar to the J. League, then in addition to the marketing potential of the MLS Cup, the MLS Playoffs, the Supporters Shield, and the US Open Cup, we would add yet another tantalizing and unique concept to the sports scene here: the Avoid-Relegation Scrap. The Avoid-Relegation Scrap would be a true market differentiator for soccer in the crowded American sports market. Unlike any other North American sport, the idea of relegation/survival could captivate fans on this side of the Pacific too. It is generally understood that the American economy is more “laissez-faire” (i.e., less regulated) than other economies – for example, it is easier to fire someone from their job in the United States than in Europe. Like our more free-wheeling, fire-your-employees-at-will employment system, subjecting sports teams to the ravages of the promotion/relegation system (i.e., a freer market) would be uniquely American. Any American would be captivated by the idea of a AAA minor league baseball team being able to play at Fenway or Yankee Stadium after being promoted. It’s a tough leap to make for MLS, but they did it in Japan. Any visitor to Tokyo will tell you that you’ll never find a rice paddy in this huge concrete-and-glass metropolis. A key part of the Hundred Year Plan, introduced in 2004, is what I might call the “grass roots” movement. In other words, promoting the development of soccer clubs and fan support throughout the country, to every small city, town, and village – i.e., to where the rice paddies are. At the end of the 1998 season, a relegation “playoff” was created in the J. League, with two teams joining the newly created J2 league and the size of J1 shrinking from 18 teams to 16. One goal in creating J2 was to allow teams that couldn’t afford the financial burdens of maintaining a J1 team to perform better in the lower league. Sponsors’ investment commitments would be lower in J2, as would the salaries of players. Another goal was an “upward” movement: giving smaller teams from the third-tier Japan Football League (a hybrid amateur/semi-professional league) the opportunity to move into the professional ranks of J2 by meeting various financial and technical requirements. The result: encouraging the development of more professional soccer teams throughout the country. The model is similar to MLS’s financially cautious business plan vis-à-vis the old NASL, albeit at a lower-league level. North America can surely move toward such a multi-league model.