NASL adopts Spring/Fall seasons for 2013

Discussion in 'NASL' started by WhiteStar Warriors, Sep 5, 2012.

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  1. Mikey mouse

    Mikey mouse Member

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    I don't see how this is a cost saving measure. Player contracts are extended and Front offices will have to be fully staffed much longer.

    they would have to be on the roster (and under contract) to play in the USOC.

    I understand travel cost during the playoffs, and as much as I hate to bring it up here, the USL implemented a travel pool this season for playoffs. All the teams paid into a travel fund this season and the travel cost were covered by that fund so no unexpected, last minute airfares for the club to pay for.

    Is the Board of Governors just the owners because I can't see Ottawa or Minnesota being happy with playing in March and late October and November.



    As an outstider looking in, it seems like the cons out way the pros (or at least the pros they mentioned in the press release)
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  2. RAL_United

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    I like it. Although, my change would be to have a two game finals where the spring champ hosted the first match and the fall champ hosted the second match. Combined aggregate score wins the championship.

    The negative that I see is that towards the end of each of the regular seasons 5 or 6 or 7 teams will not even be within shouting distance of being relevant for the championship. Maybe there will be some disinterest in the form of attendance dropping for those teams? Just a change from the current 'almost everyone makes the playoffs and has a shot at the championship' format. I guess just a side effect and something to account for now.
  3. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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    Well with more teams, extending the season was going to happen, so I know people in Minnesota and Ottawa are not happy about that, but the season has to be around 8 months long to accommodate more teams.

    I do not think the split season will last more than 2 or 3 years.
  4. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    Okay, the idea that Kenn prefers USL Pro over NASL is perhaps the absolute dumbest thing Whitestar Warriors has ever posted.

    And also: Nope, no playoffs. Each "half" is straight top-team-takes-all, with the Soccer Bowl being between each half's champion.

    But here's something better to chew on: Why is Orlando City, of all teams, asking people's opinions on this new format on Facebook?


  5. Smoke & Mirrors

    Smoke & Mirrors Member

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    You're not reading what I wrote. How invested are you in your local lower division team? Do you actively try to grow your team's fanbase by trying to get people to come out and give a game a try? I do this because I think it's important. Our clubs need every little helping hand they can get given the economics of lower division soccer here. My point on this particular item was about trying to explain to a casual sports fan (something we need to attract more of to continue growing our sport) this whole half champions thing. It's not the biggest point, but to me it's even more about willingness of an average American sports fan to accept as credible than it is about actually understanding all the nuances of the set up. Your buddy who loves the NFL and you're trying to talk into coming to a game is going to say, "ok, let me get this straight, two "half seasons champs" play in a final to see who the "real" champ is? Huh? WTF is that?" Someone tell me I'm wrong....
  6. Smoke & Mirrors

    Smoke & Mirrors Member

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    They are? Just for shites and giggles I posted on IMS that the first ever loan of a player between Orlando City and the NASL league owned Stars was a subtle clue as to which league the Lions would be in next year. LOL For even more fun I've now posted it here as well! LOL
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  7. RAL_United

    RAL_United Member

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    You're not reading what he wrote. The system was compared to a current minor league baseball system, and casual fans seem to get the concept just fine. (Without getting into the whole comparison between minor league baseball and soccer, the fan understanding should translate in this case.) Thus the 'confusion' of a championship final between half season champs should not be extremely difficult to grasp.
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  8. Permanent4

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    Right. I'm feeling a distinct urge to counter this argument. Clearly, I have nothing better to do...

    Let's examine how this format might apply to the games played in 2012. (We'll set aside, for the moment, that the first 14 games were not a perfect round robin.) Here is how a spring season would look:

    HTML:
                    G  W  D  L  Pts
    San Antonio  14  8  4  2  28
    Puerto Rico    14  7  3  4  24
    Minnesota      14  6  5  3  23
    Tampa Bay      14  6  3  5  21
    Ft. Lauderdale 14  5  4  5  19
    Carolina      14  4  5  5  17
    Edmonton      14  3  3  8  12
    
    Scorpions have this thing wrapped up early, it would seem. Puerto Rico, Minnesota and Tampa Bay were competitive close to the end, but came up short. Slow starts by the bottom three doomed them.

    Now here's how a fall season would look with roughly four weeks to go:

    HTML:
                      G    W    D    L    Pts
    Tampa Bay        10    5    3    2    18
    Carolina          9    5    2    2    17
    Ft. Lauderdale  11    4    3    4    15
    San Antonio      10    4    3    3    14
    Atlanta          10    4    2    4    14
    Puerto Rico      10    3    3    4    12
    Edmonton        10    2    4    4    10
    Minnesota      10    1    4    5    7
    
    While PR is slipping, it seems to me that about five or six teams still have a real shot at winning the fall title in this scenario. In an 8-team league, that certainly reduces the number of "meaningless" games at season's end, doesn't it? Maybe San Antonio has nothing to play for because they're already hosting the final -- still my primary gripe with this format -- but it sure looks like everybody else does. Maybe it won't be like this every year, but with 8 teams and a lot of parity, it certainly could be.

    Right now, the top six in the NASL are playing for playoff position and little else. The games aren't meaningless, but they don't have quite the same impact, because we all know our seasons won't end after the last game. In this scenario, there's only one winner, so everyone is going to fight to finish first. I think I prefer it that way. Let's raise the stakes on the regular season.

    [EDIT: Tried to fix the tables. Decided they were good enough and gave up.]
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  9. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    Should've included a troll face just for fun. U MAD BRO?
  10. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    No, it's not even close to the dumbest thing. Everyone knows my background. What few seem to grasp is that I don't have a relationship with USL anymore. But my views are the same on a lot of things because those are my freaking views and they're not dependent on whether or not I'm getting paid by somebody.
  11. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    That's because almost nobody goes to minor-league baseball games in this country because of the team's playoff chances or how the season is set up. They go for baseball. Baseball is popular here. Going to the ballpark, in and of itself, is something people will pay to do, whether their local team is awesome, if it sucks, is in between, plays in a split-season, an independent league, whatever. None of that stuff matters to the vast, vast majority of people who go to minor-league baseball games, because winning the Midwest League is nice and all, but, really, that's not the raison d'etre of minor-league baseball.

    As for this not being confusing, I'm right with you. People can figure out NFL division tiebreakers and two-legged playoffs and the Modified Stableford System, this is not a big issue. As Dema Kovalenko famously once said, "Is numbers! Is not hard!"
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  12. Orlando Rays

    Orlando Rays Copy editing is now my hobby.

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    And you just learned why the MLS attendance analysis threadkeeper now posts text files instead of posting his data directly into the board anymore.
  13. drSoFlaFan

    drSoFlaFan DEFEND THE FORT!

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    Minnesota played on October 29th last season in the 2nd leg of the championship. Don't think they were sad about that. Also the release says "late March" I believe, so probably the last weekend there. The season would start/end one week earlier/later than it does now. That's not the problem with this.

    It's the arbitrary awarding of the home game in the final to the winner of the first tournament. It's playing that game at all if the same team wins both. That makes no sense. There is no incentive whatsoever for the winner of the first to try and win the second.

    The break in the summer is not a terrible idea. It's quite good actually. But why not keep the points going and then play the title between teams 1+2 at the end?
  14. TheJoeGreene

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    Here's the only way I could see it working. You can do the round robin with 10 teams, though 36 + 1 is a bit much for the NASL, but the moment team 11 or 12 becomes reality you have to move to something more along the lines of Liga MX.

    Let's just assume that Cosmos, Ottawa, and NoVa show up for the 2014 season without the current teams being lost. That gets us to 11 teams and it would make sense to go to a 10 game schedule with the top 4 or 6 making a short playoff. If it were to be the top 6 then 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 in a home and home followed by 1 and 2 hosting the winners in single eliminations and a final game between those winners. That would max a schedule out at 14 per half which would be doable up to something around a 16 team league (which would be a good size for NASL).

    Obviously it may not work, but it could be worth taking the chance. There may even be some advantage to having two shorter, fixed seasons to market with potential playoffs for each.
  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Minnesota would still have to have its opener in the Metrodome (as long as that stays up) and back-load its home schedule. Not insurmountable, but not ideal.

    Awarding the final to the team that wins the first half rewards a good start and gives that team months to sell the Soccer Bowl (instead of a week). That's got to be worth something. There being a second half (with the carrot out there) gives the other seven or eight or nine teams in the league something to shoot for in the second half and renews the fans' faith that, despite a bad spring season, the year can still be redeemed with some changes during the break and a fresh 16 or 18 or 20 games. I can't for the life of me see how that's outweighed by the first-half winner not having to kill themselves in the second half.

    Also, you want to have a championship game. This is America (and Canada). This is what we do. To say if you win both, no game, could keep everyone wondering "Is there going to be a game? Is there not going to be a game?" potentially up until the last weekend, if the second half goes down to the wire. If you want to get a showcase game on TV, good luck with that scenario.

    Could it potentially be anti-climactic? Surely. But ask Orlando how chalk goes sometimes. Or the 2007 Patriots.

    Because then there's no point. It's just a four-round round-robin that takes eight months. You want to take a break, take a break (even though the reasons laid out for it are specious). But then it's just one long slog and some teams (like Atlanta) lose hope by June.

    They're trying to create a point of differentiation, and bless their hearts for that. No one else is doing it, and there's no better place to experiment with stuff than at the lower levels. It certainly isn't the worst system ever devised, and might be fun. [Sheehan]We'll have to see how it plays out[/Sheehan].

    (The actual worst thing about this announcement is it gave Tinfoil Ted a big blue veiner today, I'm sure.)
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  16. TheJoeGreene

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    That might actually work as the first half winner gets all that time to promote the first leg while the second half winner gets a little more time to try and sell their leg of the final.
  17. Permanent4

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    Yeah, pretty much.

    BTW, this note came from Neil Morris of the Independent Weekly on another board:

    So perhaps in addition to saving some cash for the clubs, the NASL is setting itself up to get on TV in 2013. What other reason to bring aboard a team in NYC with a familar name, right? The only question is whether they can get enough sponsors lined up to pay for a game-of-the-week and/or the "Soccer Bowl" on TV, because let's face it, networks aren't lining up to give this league money.
  18. Jossed

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    Which counters any belief that this was done with television in mind. And networks love playoffs.

    Again, it all goes back to this being a cost cutting move. Although I wonder how much they will even save? The cons seem to out-weight the pros. I agree with Kenn that the minor leagues should be where you experiment. MLS can then watch and study. But I fear this might end up hurting the NASL and they will be forced to return to the old schedule in a year or two. The NASL cannot afford any screw ups.

    Back to TV. I understand that knowing the location of the Soccer Bowl months in advance is easier to sell. But there has to be some national interest in the game. And there isn't. There is barely any national interest in MLS. So forget about the NASL. You'd still have to pay GolTV or a similar network to air it.

    Television is the last thing the NASL should worry about.
  19. Permanent4

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    I'd wager that those players making $12K to $24K a year would have plenty of incentive to play well and win games in the fall season. Scouts from MLS and other countries will be keeping an eye on the team that won the spring title, and they're not going to waste their time on a bunch of lazy bums resting on their puny laurels. (Not to mention players on loan from MLS will have incentive to play well so that they can move back up to MLS.)

    Rich teams rest million-dollar players in these scenarios. NASL is poorer than a stack of dead beggars. Let's not forget that.
  20. speedcake

    speedcake Member

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    You've got a point.
  21. Chowda

    Chowda Member

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    Well, this will help scheduling conflicts at the Hound Pound, or whatever that yet to be built stadium in Northern Virgina will be called.
  22. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Making TV logistically more feasible doesn't - and wouldn't - necessarily mean someone would pay for the game. I do not see this league getting paid for TV. But what I think "being done with television in mind" can mean is date and site certainty and a virtually-guaranteed better atmosphere so it looks better on TV. Not that it will, in and of itself, land the NASL a paying TV contract.

    Well, unless you structure contracts so that they're two separate things (one for each half), you're going to be paying players (and paying for their housing, usually) during a month break when you won't be playing many games (if any - USOC, not for everybody and friendlies? Really?) and generating revenue from them. No games = no revenue but paying players anyway (on a monthly basis) isn't doing you much good financially.

    It WILL save you money on short-notice playoff travel. There's that.

    I don't think it'll make a huge difference, and won't be a big detriment. If they're "forced" to go back to a traditional schedule, it's more likely it'll be because they went to 11 or 12 teams (which they will have to, per USSF) and it became unwieldy.

    And, again, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But at least you'd be able to lock in resources, know when and where the game would be played, and market it locally. Nobody's going to pay you either way. But I think you have to be on TV to put forth the image of gravitas.

    As for interest....well, CBS Sports Network is going to televise the UFL this fall. Who cares about that? You can get on TV.

    Not the very last thing, but I think you are believed to be less legitimate if you're not on TV somewhere.

    Fixed that.

    The MLS season will be over by the time the NASL season is. And guys who get loaned down don't always (I'm sure Hertzog will, Bright Dike was) come right back up in the same season, even if they do play well.

    I'm not sure that's a legitimate league-wide generalization. San Antonio claims to be profitable, and, obviously, The Cosmos are going to break the bank because everybody will want to buy a Cosmos jersey. But Minnesota has no owner, Edmonton's guy means well but is in a money-losing scenario and Tampa Bay can't be making it work in St. Pete. I wouldn't go so far as to characterize the whole league as paupers.
  23. Permanent4

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    Not if there's money to be made there. Yes, NASL paid GolTV to air the final last season, but did it pay out of its own pocket, or did it find a sponsor willing to put up the money for it? Chances are it was the latter, and it's not so ridiculous to think that the NASL could do this again -- and maybe even make a little money from it.

    Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone will), but isn't that how USL made its way onto FSC a few years ago? Didn't they find sponsors willing to buy the airtime and foot the production costs for them? FSC surely couldn't have paid for those games themselves.

    National interest in this league is miniscule, sure, but it certainly won't grow if Ustream remains this league's lone media partner. A television presence can only help here.
  24. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

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    Who ?
  25. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    No, chances are it was not the latter.

    The potential is there. It would have to be realized, but I'd rather have that in my marketing arsenal than not.

    FSC did not. The league did. At first, the teams that were on the game split the cost (1/3, 1/3, 1/3) with the league. In 2011, the league paid for everything. There was no airtime bought. The problem was they never really found enough broadcast sponsors to make it profitable.

    It is simply not as easy as waving your hand and having sponsors show up willing to help you get on TV. It's not hugely expensive to get on TV, but it is expensive to do it well. If you dedicated someone to it, and were intent on making broadcasts either pay for themselves or get to an acceptable level of loss (writing the rest off as a marketing expense), sure.

    THAT, I think, is true.
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