Future MLS Demographics: Canada and West Coast In, Latino Out?

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by woodlands, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    The history of MLS success has been credited to immigrants from "soccer-loving countries", particularly the Latinos, specifically Mexican-Americans. At least until now. Is MLS shifting course?

    Canada: Is soccer the "perfect sport" for Canada? A sport that has been undeniably considered "foreign" by most in the US for generations?
    • Toronto's sellout crowds of 20,000 for 3 straight seasons, with 14,000 people on a waiting list for season tickets, shows a potential attendance that is double that of almost every other MLS market that came before it.
    • Vancouver has already been named as an expansion city.
    • Montreal was recently named at the top of the list by Garber for future expansion cities, and their USL team drew an average of 11,000 fans per game in 2005 and 2006.
    • The NFL, NBA, and MLB have always had a weak presence in Canada, currently combining for only 2 teams.
    • Canada has always had a deeper Angophile sentiment than the US, currently being part of the British Commonwealth, and not becoming independent from England until nearly 100 years after the US did.
    • They've have had some tense differences with the US throughout history: the War of 1812, slavery in the 19th century, and American independence from England in the 18th century.
    • They've always been extremely strong supporters of their sports exports hockey and lacrosse. And these sports have often traditionally been considered "foreign" in the US.
    West Coast Liberals: The west coast has been the progressive ideological leader in much of America's history, spearheading everything from environmentalism to gay rights. Are the west coast liberals now spearheading America's conversion to a soccer nation?
    • Seattle's inaugural season attendance numbers of around 30,000 so far this year are a record in MLS history, and nearly double that of every other market.
    • Portland has already been named as an expansion city.
    • San Jose recently became the only MLS city to ever regain a franchise after losing it, and they did so within only a few years.
    • Until recently, the Los Angeles Galaxy has always been the MLS attendance leader throughout its history, averaging over 21,000, and they now have 2 MLS teams in their city, which is also unique. The Home Depot Center has the largest capacity of any stadium built for MLS.
    • Many fans in the Pacific Northwest talk about big attendance numbers for NASL games back in the 1980's and USL teams before MLS entered the market this year.
    Latinos: Are Latinos, the traditional bread-and-butter of MLS, losing ground? Are some of these blue-collar immigrants more sensitive to the recent economic downturn? Or like their predecessors throughout US history, are they raising new generations of Americans that embrace not only our English language but also baseball, basketball, and American football? Are they turning out to be fickle fans of MLS, as some have suggested, staying loyal more to their home soccer teams?
    • Houston, a city where Hispanics are the largest ethnic group, the soon-to-be 3rd largest city in America, and a city that has been one of the last to enter the global recession, has seen flat MLS attendance numbers around 16,000 since their inaugural season. They're struggling to get a stadium deal. And this is an MLS club that has won 2 championships in the past 3 years.
    • Chicago, a city with a strong Mexican-American presence, is also averaging only around 16,000 attendance, despite acquiring Mexican superstar Blanco in 2007 and opening a new stadium in 2006.
    • Florida, a state with a traditionally strong Hispanic presence, saw the death of MLS clubs in Miami and Tampa Bay in 2001 and 2002, and MLS has failed to re-enter the Florida market since then.
    • MLS continues to look past expanding in Southwest cities like Phoenix, San Diego, and Las Vegas.


  2. BHTC Mike

    BHTC Mike Member

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    Interesting thesis; expect to get flamed.

    I'd love to see MLS really start working in the Northeast. All the anecdotal evidence I've heard here talks about the early enthusiasm in New England and New York, DC has always been a flagship, and hopefully Philly can be the next Toronto. What's disappointing though is that the Revolution and Metro/Bulls may have effectively poisoned their markets for a generation or more, DC can't get a stadium and still lose money, and Philly's "suburban" stadium will make it harder to replicate what has happened in Toronto in terms of the halo effect that draws the casual and business crowd to experience the TFC atmosphere.

    The United States is changing and as a next generation sports league maybe MLS doesn't need to be "major league" in the Northeast but there's still a hell of a lot of people who live in the Boston-New York-Philly-DC corridor. Being taken seriously there may no longer be a prerequisite to being taken seriously as a national league (see: Nascar) but if MLS were really to become a cultural force in those markets I think you'd see a dramatic change in its television numbers.
  3. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    Seeing that New York is building new stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets for over $1 billion each sobered me up about the new Red Bull Arena next year and possible expansion of a 2nd MLS team into the New York area. We'll have see what happens next year with Red Bull attendance.

    The one thing the Northeast has deeper than any other region in the US is tradition. Generations and generations of fans of traditional American sports. While every other stadium is selling naming rights, Yankees Stadium and Fenway Park are historical icons that are turning down the hundreds of millions of dollars they could earn in naming rights.

    And the NHL has deepest US roots in the Northeast. About 1/3 of NHL clubs are in the Northeast right now.

    And the fledgling pro lacrosse leagues seem to be concentrated in the Northeast as well.

    But it could be worse. It could be Southeast. :)
  4. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

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    One aspect about Florida: aren't a lot of its Hispanic immigrants from traditionally baseball-loving countries?


  5. Yankee_Devil

    Yankee_Devil Member

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    1. Canada, YES, The main reason for the rise of soccer in Canada has something more to do with the fact this is often a country that is ignored by the rest of the world. The only thing the typical Canadian has to look forward to is Hockey and the abomination they call Football over there.

    2. West Coast Liberals, NO. Yes they may preach a lot of things but much like the typical liberal they do not follow through. They like the "idea" of soccer yet have not passion for anything except destroying the country.

    3. Latino, NO. The Latino bread and butter thing is a myth. It has always been a myth, the sad thing is that most of the time when the league says Latino, they are specifically talking about Mexicans. The league uses the word in order to not appear racist. Here is the breakdown:

    Mexicans: Will not watch MLS in mass because they have no trouble catching games from their home country in Spanish speaking channels plus most think very little or hate American soccer. Of course you need to take in to consideration the border rivalry that in many aspects are not just sports but culture and nationalist too.

    Central Americans: Most will not watch MLS because in most of those countries the big sport is Baseball.

    South Americans: Some will not watch MLS because the South American immigrant is more like the Irish and the Italians that came to the US during the turn of the century, though they have a strong tie to their culture for the most part they are eager to adapt and assimilate in to the US society. Sadly in many instances that means not doing things that do not appear to be American (soccer being one of them).
  6. BHTC Mike

    BHTC Mike Member

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    Nothing I see leads me to believe that they'll have a median over 20,000. I could be wrong but the new stadium effect hasn't doubled crowds anywhere else that I know of and with a team that crappy this year I don't see how they're going to sell significantly more season tickets this off-season. I expect a lot of potential customers will take a "wait and see" approach or "small sample" approach which will result in a vicious cycle as all the "wait and see"ers wait for everyone else to show up and the "small samplers" get turned off by the still empty seats around them.

    Hope I'm wrong though.

    Hah, don't even get me started on the Southeast. Living where I do I'm far too culturally disconnected from that region to have any idea about what could work and not work down there; Columbus sometimes feels too Southern to me! If they ever figure out a way to get soccer selling down there I suspect it'll be with a totally different model pushing different cultural buttons than anywhere else on the continent.

    Awesome! I should make that quote my signature.
  7. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

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    I generally agree with the premise (and indeed, posted on the same idea before). Soccer is perceived as foreign in this country and so you have to ask, what parts of the country are more welcoming to foreign ideas?

    In the election before last, there was a map that circulated on the internet that divided things into the "United States of Canada" (the coasts, the great lakes region, Canada) and "Jesus Land" (the central and southern parts of the country). The new additions: Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Toronto, Philadelphia, are all USC cities, and with the somewhat exception of Philadelphia, tend to be white and liberal.

    Following this logic, Minneapolis should be the next expansion city :)
  8. BHTC Mike

    BHTC Mike Member

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    Where's triplet?
  9. jvilla07

    jvilla07 Member

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    Not sure where you got the idea of Central and South America. You couldn't be any further from the truth about baseball in Central America, case in point Panama. They are becoming stronger in the sport and this from coming from them. So I guess 2 former (strong) baseball countries out 6 makes most?
  10. HSEUPASSION

    HSEUPASSION New Member

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    Baseball is the biggest sport in two of the seven "central american" countries. Soccer is first in four, athletics in one.
  11. asoc

    asoc Member+

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    I find that comment/idea insulting to be honest.
  12. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    This thread started off dumb and has managed to get even worse.
  13. MD-Law-

    MD-Law- Member

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  14. MD-Law-

    MD-Law- Member

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    They don't support their MLB clubs either.
  15. BringSoccerToIndy

    BringSoccerToIndy Member

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    Instead of dividing it into huge regions like West Coast and Canada, I would use the nine nations format.

    [​IMG]

    That is a better cultural map than what you were talking about.
  16. Sounders78

    Sounders78 Member+

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    I've seen this before. All I get from this is:

    1. Dixie is large but has only 1 team (Houston)
    2. The Empty Quarter has 2 teams (Colorado, RSL), meaning it isn't as empty as they think
    3. Ecotopia will have 4 teams (San Jose, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver), all of which retained their NASL names, while no one else does. So apparently Ecotopians are more nostalgic than everyone else and are geographically overrepresented based on area
    4. The Foundry is the heart of the MLS with 6 teams (Toronto, Chicago, Columbus, New York, DC, and Philadelphia to come)

    5. I don't find any real or true significance in the first 4 points - other than the already obvious: soccer is popular in the northwest (but only west of the mountains in the population centers), not so much in the center of the country, and the major North American cities are located in the northeast.:rolleyes:
  17. footballfreak

    footballfreak Member

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    Them's fightin' words.
  18. Ganapper

    Ganapper Member

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    Rename the subtitle of this thread : Hasty and uninformed generalizations about populations in North America.
  19. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    Did you mean to say the Caribbean instead of Central America? Dominican Republic, etc.
  20. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    At least you can admit it was free, unlike the last abomination you paid to see at Pizza Hut Park. :)
  21. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    The 2-0 win vs. Comunicaciones or the 2-1 win vs. the Red Bulls?
  22. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    My apologies.
  23. woodlands

    woodlands New Member

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    Edited your post for you.
  24. WhiteStar Warriors

    WhiteStar Warriors BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    Pacific Northwest has best soccer support...PERIOD
  25. Vindo310

    Vindo310 Member

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    Since when have liberals been spearheading gay rights? The liberal president won't even do anything about it. The people in California who are championing gay rights come from every walk of life.

    I don't think my support of gay rights and my NRA avatar would like being called a liberal... thank you very much. :)

    By the way these generalizations suck.

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