News: Source: Frank Lampard will play for the Los Angeles Galaxy

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by Fiosfan, Jan 18, 2013.

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  1. jond

    jond Member+

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    It's a worrying trend, and I'd say that even if Lampard came as he's one player on one team. I don't see MLS stopping young players from moving to Europe if they get the chance, that's the big show, yet if MLS isn't buying and bringing in good to top end talent, where is the backbone of a top league in 9 years going to come from? I ask that, because a)I don't think MLS is developing players quickly enough to produce the backbone of a top league 9 years out, and the NTers will not only have opportunities to move to Europe, but will be encouraged too. I also think the more MLS players do well in Europe, the more clubs won't hesitate to bid for them at higher prices, and the transfers out of MLS will only increase. Then the DP's you mentioned leaving only adds to it.

    The evidence for young Americans not being produced fast enough to be the backbone of a top league is:

    ESPN recently did a top 25 under 21 Prospects article,and while it might not be completely accurate, if you're not on that list the numbers are against you that you'll be an attraction, draw fans, and have enough talent to be part of the backbone of a top league. But in looking at that list, only six of the 25 prospects are currently on MLS teams(rest in Europe or Mex), with another two in MLS academies and could easily follow the route of Guido/Flores.

    Those six:
    Gil
    Agudelo
    Kitchen
    McInerney
    Villareal
    Salgado

    MLS will have a hell of a time keeping Gil more than two years, already turned down Arsenal but wants Europe. Touched on Agudelo above. Kitchen has Bund interest and turned down Anderlecht. Fulham interested in Salgado for two years now. Point being, if these young "starlets" are the next crop to carry the league, MLS will be hard pressed to still have three of them still here three years from now imo.

    Another gauge would be the U23 NT, guys a bit older. These are the top MLS players on that team not mentioned above or not GK's:
    Adu
    Bunbury
    Okugo
    Opara
    Sarkodie
    Valentin

    Some good talent, but anything which will move the needle? Is that really a wide enough base, prospects and U23's combined? Of course some guys will appear out of the cracks or NCAA, but it's not something you can count on or correctly gauge.

    And I bring all this up because developing top American talent to be the backbone of a top league in 9 years sounds nice in theory, but when looking at the actual player pool I don't see it. MLS will also be fighting increased transfer bids as confidence grows in the MLS market.

    So doesn't MLS need to buy to reach it's goal? Doesn't the transfer window have to be a two way street? And I do like a lot of these young players, the best I don't see sticking around though, and guys like Okugo or Valentin who I'm extremely high on I don't see moving the needle in honesty. And since I only see an increased number of younger "starlets" leaving for reasons mentioned above, I think MLS needs to bring in more players and do it at a much higher rate. Of course the question is how, and it'd be easier without a timeline, but the timeline is 9 years to "go toe to toe with the top leagues quality wise".


  2. NSmith22

    NSmith22 Member

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    And when Beckham was playing for AC Milan during the loan spells he was still in the picture for the NT. Once he goes down at the age of 34 with the achilles injury (lampard is 34) he has to sit out a year and at the age of 35 is not called up again once healthy. I don't disagree that once you hit the mid 30's range you normally don't get called up but DB was playing well in Europe during his loan which was clearly bumping up his chances to join the NT for the 2010 WC. And Lampard is still playing at a very high level in the EPL. Beckham had 14 full caps while playing with LAG. The other 5 that fill out the 19 that he had while under contract with LAG were during his loan spell to AC Milan. Within weeks after signing with Milan he's called up and is consistently called up during his loan spell. After returning to LAG he gets 3 caps as a sub after the 2nd half in all 3 matches. He returns to LAG for the 2009 season then goes back out on loan again and gets the injury and his career on the NT is over after that as we all know.

    My words in the initial post that he didn't have a career were a bad stab at sarcasm and obviously a fatal mistake on this board. I apologize AGAIN for not being more clear. However, I still stand by the fact that Lampard is/was going to use DB as an example with his decision on his playing career at the club and international level. And that Roy Hodgson making a sad excuse about time zones to explain why LAG is a bad move for Lampard to cover up the fact that across the pond MLS is looked down upon. (refer to Blatter's bonehead comments for more proof). What if DB is offered another chance at a loan spell after his injury and he accepts and plays well then gets called up for 2012 Euro? Then we have no need to have this discussion. But that didn't happen and with Lampard turning 35 in a few months he clearly can gain some insight from DB's experience in order to make his decision.

    I think it would help to add that I was posting in the beginning of this thread defending his continued success and talent at the age of 34 and would be just as excited as the next guy if he did make the move to the US.
  3. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I'm with you, and I thought the article was right on point too. It's interesting that this issue seems to be under the radar now, probably because it doesn't fit the narrative of either the "MLS can do no right" or "MLS can do now wrong" camps. The fact is, MLS is producing some very good young players, as you note in detail. But MLS literally needs at least 100 high quality young players to upgrade the talent of the league to a top level (IMO), and when you sell them off young, as a league you need to produce even more players so you can replace them too. It's a big ask, and MLS isn't close to that level yet IMO. If you look at the list of incoming players, there isn't a lot of experience or known quality there.

    To me, foreign players, DPs included, can help bridge the talent gap and buy the league some time, but I agree with the author that MLS' reluctance to pay transfer fees is hampering the league, I think. For younger players, I can see why teams don't want to pay transfer fees that turn the players into DPs -- that's a rule that should change IMO -- but for players who are already at the DP threshold I think its a mistake to only look at aging stars available on a free.

    I also appreciate that MLS usually doesn't buy players in January, but it has just seen a runoff of DP salary dollars that is unprecedented. The league knew this was coming. I'm very surprised that the league didn't add a single name player, even if it meant signing them to a contract for a move after the season began, as the Galaxy appear to have tried to do with Lampard. Of course, Kaka was available too, but he would cost a fee.

    You have to wonder what the broadcast partners are thinking.

    Shortly after Florentino Pérez re-assumed the Presidency of Real Madrid did an interview with the Financial Times IIRC. They asked him about the Los Galacticos era and his current plans for the club, which wasn't doing all that well financially. He replied that even Real Madrid was fundamentally in the business of entertaining, and, just like making a movie, you needed stars to drive revenue. Not just shirt sales, but really every facet of the business. Look at the Deloitte Money League reports, and Real is printing money right now. Maybe he has a point.

    I know the purists and defenders of all things MLS don't like it. I know the frugal owners of MLS don't want to hear it. But MLS isn't going to get where it says it wants to be in 2022 without significantly more investment, and it won't generate revenue to warrant that investment if it isn't more entertaining. Yet, at First Kick, for the first time in a long time, I think MLS payrolls will have actually declined by millions of dollars compared to 2012, thanks to the exodus of DPs and the player sales.

    It's very hard to reconcile that with the league's stated ambition IMO.
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  4. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

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    Of course name players and quality aren't always the same thing. Is MLS quality really going to miss Kris Boyd for example? Odds are that one of the no-name signings will provide as much if not more quality than a number of the name players that left.
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  5. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

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    I agree. If you look at Triplet's list, with a few exceptions, these guys were not big successes. I care much more about the loss of Shea and Najar.

    I'm thinking that this is part of a pullback on DPs. Only two teams, NY and LA are in the market for "name" DPs, and who they get depends on who happens to be around and interested. I think the rest of the teams are realizing that buying one or two low-level DPs ($400k-$1,000k) doesn't help your chances all that much and so you might as well try to build like SJ or Houston.

    Toronto and Seattle are the teams I would watch closely. They have the money to spend on DPs but do not seem to be in the market for the biggest names. I thought the Chicago would be part of this group, but I think they're not.
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  6. Baysider

    Baysider Member+

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    Here's the just announced u-20 roster

    I'll brag a little and point out that three of the players were associated with the Galaxy Academy (Torre, Villarreal, Rodriguez).

    I may be optimistic, but I think that the Galaxy Academy is capable of producing a top-half-of-the-first-round and a bottom-half-of-the-first round player each year. Over time, this should result in a set of better starters and better depth. What it doesn't produce is stars. But really, how many american stars are there?

    I think it comes down to what you think draws fans. Stars? Stylish play? A local team? I think academies will help a lot with stylish play, but I think it's mostly the local team that is the draw.
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  7. Schapes

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    I don't think Lampard comes to the Galaxy. He stays at Chelsea.
  8. superdave

    superdave Member+

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    IIRC, the 2009 season wasn't so great, DP-wise, because of the World Cup in 2010. I'm guessing you'll see aLOT of players coming here next July.
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  9. MLSFan123

    MLSFan123 Member+

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    Latest news, from Lampard's agent.


    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepag...ll-not-be-offered-a-new-Chelsea-contract.html
  10. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I think you're probably right. Now, one could argue, as the article jond posted does, that MLS' reluctance to pay transfer fees limits the DPs it can attract -- these guys are out of contract for a reason typically -- but either way I think fewer teams seem to be in the market for them. That still means millions of payroll dollars are coming out of the system and that investment isn't being replaced.

    ESPN has estimated the cost of running these acadamies at between $500k - $1M. I am guessing that's where these dollars are flowing for many teams. Many fans will cheer that, I know, but I think the league needs some balance between marquee player designated signings and promising kids developed in house, and LA and NY can't be the only teams to provide that.
  11. profiled

    profiled Moderator Staff Member

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    Lampard scored again for Chelsea. He now needs 4 goals to tie and 5 goals to beat the all time Chelsea record... I wonder if that fact will play a part in his decision to leave or not?
  12. looknohands

    looknohands Member+

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    Although I can understand the desire to see marquee players coming to MLS, there are very, very few that can offer any sort of return on investment when you factor in the amount of money it takes to sign them. Beckham and Blanco were hugely successful for their clubs, Henry somewhat less so far. Marquez was a complete bust. BUT, work your down a little bit farther and come across the JPA's and GBS' who, despite a much smaller salary and far less marquee value, arguably outplayed their more expensive counterparts. If I'm an owner, why pay $5mil/year for a player that might bring in some fans on name alone if I can find a player that can match/exceed his production for half (or less) the cost? Does merchandise revenue make up for the lack of production, ala Marquez?

    In my opinion, the league is actually outgrowing the need for using DP contracts to bring in high-salary players, and will instead focus on signing youngsters (that are DPs due to the transfer fee involved) or rewarding established players (for example, would SJ fans object to making Wondo a DP and paying him $5 or 600k a year?) with more lucrative contracts to keep them in the league, if only for a year or two longer.
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  13. jond

    jond Member+

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    A question I'd have then is will that please tv executives who decide how much money to shell out for the next tv deal(s)? If MLS goes away from the big names and star power, will the bids for the next tv deals be as high as hoped for? Part of LAG's tv deal was the expectation they'd continue bringing in big name players. TV executives understand star power and that's generally what they want.

    Aside from that I read an article the other day which made a point I agree with and something MLS can capitalize on down the road. MLS is slowly becoming a feeder league and will continue to do so as the confidence in the American player grows as well as improved academy development down the road starts producing more top 4 league level players. Europe will come calling and the transfers bids will only increase in price as confidence grows in the investment in MLS players.

    However, where MLS can capitalize is not so much on Latin Americans, although there are a few young good ones who'd help teams, but some of the better young South American talent might look at MLS, see it's becoming heavily scouted and Europe values the level of play and players, MLS is feeding young talent to Europe and they consider coming here for a few years. If a few years from now MLS can start getting some U23's from Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay/Paraguay, especially attacking talent, that would only be a good thing.

    If you're a young attacking mid for Flamengo for example, and aren't guaranteed first XI minutes, coming to Hou and getting 90 every week might be a better way to showcase yourself at some point. Young Brazilians are going to leagues all over Europe, 2nd-3rd tier Eastern Euro leagues and Japan. There's so much talent down there and nowhere near enough roster spots and that's why they're going elsewhere. MLS has to find a way to get some of them. MLS is short on creative, attacking talent, and that'd be a way to get some. Probably a route you need to take as well if you don't want to splash millions on big name players either.
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  14. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I'm not as optimistic, I'm afraid.

    I don't know if everyone saw it, but the Salt Like Tribune article on Dave Checkett's selling the rest of his interest in the team to Del Loy Hansen had two interesting tidbits. First, Hansen, who has real estate holdings in excess of $1 billion, said ""We now know we’ve got more opportunities in the acquisition world," Hansen said. "... It’s always been difficult to look at the cost of competing with an L.A. or New York or Chicago. I think we open that door."

    Which suggests that RSL didn't acquire big name DPs in part because of a lack of resources.

    But there was also this: "Hansen said RSL has restructured and consolidated its loans on the $110 million Rio Tinto Stadium, creating a savings of $1.8 million annually. That’s money that could be used to improve the on-field product, the new owner said. The club is still a year away from operating in the black, but Hansen said he believes RSL and Major League Soccer are trending in the right direction."

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/55693417-77/checketts-rsl-hansen-owner.html.csp

    I was very, very surprised to see RSL still wasn't operating in the black.

    Well, come to think of it, maybe I'm not that surprised.

    I still think most MLS teams struggle to operate profitably. Again, that's not a popular opinion and I have only my own guesstimates to support that so maybe they're rolling in cash for all I know, but if a high attendance team with both a stadium and shirt sponsor and no big name DP to fund can't make money, it makes you wonder how others are doing.

    And while I think it would be great for MLS if some of the DP money was re-directed at new deals for young home grown stars, my guess is that the best young players will continue to be sold, perhaps at an accelerated rate, and outside of NY and LA, the DP over $500,000 is going to become very rare, Hansen's comments notwithstanding. If I had to guess -- it's obviously too soon to draw conclusions -- I see the salary structure compressing much like it did before the rule change simply because, absent some allocation money, most owners who aren't making money (or, at least, aren't making much) aren't going to shell out the money for DPs if it means taking it out of their own pockets to do so.

    What that means for TV and attendance, I'm not sure.
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  15. OleGunnar20

    OleGunnar20 Member+

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    they have good attendance but not high ... not top 5.

    their tickets are some of the cheapest in the league.

    their shirt sponsor is one of the lowest in the league.

    i am guessing there is some accounting trickery going on with the stadium getting revenues that don't count towards the team.

    they are barely losing money, nearly breaking even.

    i am not that surprised.
  16. jond

    jond Member+

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    And that's the catch-22 and the million dollar question. Would attendance be higher and would clubs generate more revenue if they first invest in bigger name DP's? Going the other route, will they generate enough revenue and high attendance prior to funding bigger name DP's, in order to fund those DP's?

    Looking at tv deals and the league as a whole, can MLS count on a significant increase in the next round of deals to fund improved talent, or will MLS need to first invest in improved and bigger name talent to be rewarded with the bigger tv deal?

    I'm not at all as confident as others that this next tv deal will be enough to boost the quality league wide. I tend to think the investment will need to come from the owners first in the product on the field, then they'll get the bigger tv deal. And this doesn't even touch on the 2022 goal.
  17. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I think it's possible some channel may be so starved for content that they'll pay a lot of money notwithstanding the ratings. That's my hope anyway. But "a lot" is in the eye of the beholder. I too don't expect the next deal to transform payrolls or the league.

    But those negotiating the rights might get a bit of help yet. I'm not sure about the rest of the league, but LA, NY and Seattle have all at least made noises about filling their empty DP slots. If they do it this summer, maybe that's good enough.
  18. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    Top five or not, I'd still expect if they are averaging over 19,000 they should be able to turn a profit.

    As for the jersey sponsor, RSL got a nice bump when the deal was extended in 2009. It now reportedly pays them between $4M - $5M per season, which is pretty good by MLS standards.

    http://www.brotherlygame.com/2011/1/17/1938619/current-jersey-sponsors-in-the-mls

    It sounds like the team had very high debt service costs which kept them from making money -- unless paid attendance is much lower than announced, the revenues look decent to me.
  19. jond

    jond Member+

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    True, it is in the eye of the beholder. But looking at the tv landscape, I don't see where a huge deal will come from. When I refer to huge I mean something which will effect the quality of play across MLS, which I don't think 40-50M does. And many here have said for awhile the next deal is when we'll see the salary cap open up somewhat and the quality across the board will see a noticeable bump.

    FSC is re-branding and might fold. Gol TV is almost gone. NBCSN plunged into their new EPL deal and just looking at the money that will take priority. ESPN I don't see playing more than their "game of the week" for at least a few more years, and therefor any bid from them would be somewhat limited. BEIN is a wildcard, but their production is terrible, many people still don't get them and they're already committed to multiple leagues. When thinking about a huge tv deal there needs to be the ability to showcase MLS frequently, and I don't see which network has that room or will make MLS the top priority.

    If a network is going to show more than say, 2-3 MLS games per week, which would be a mian reason for splashing down a lot of cash, I just don't see who has that room in their programming, and if it's only the current 1-3 MLS games per week, not sure why the price of the new deal(s) would increase significantly enough, especially if there's not 3-5 pretty big name players in MLS by 2014, and by that I'd mean a name like Henry/Lampard being the minimum.
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  20. OleGunnar20

    OleGunnar20 Member+

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    uh. that was 4m for 4 years. their deal is worth 1-1.5 a year ... on the very low side for MLS.

    and yes, last year they got 19K ... very good ... but their tickets are dirt cheap ... which keeps the revenue from attendance down.

    add a bit of stadium accounting trickery and it isn't too hard to believe that they "don't quite break even" ...
  21. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There's no stadium accounting trickery. In RSL's case, the stadium debt is owned/owed by the team rather than a separate entity, meaning the debt service comes off the bottom line. The restructuring is going to change the equation big time.

    The shirt sponsorship was a big deal at first since it was the first in the league, and it has been in place since the 2007 season. But it's up at the end of the year. Even without the change in the debt service, a modest bump in the sponsorship dollars would probably be enough to push the team into the black.

    One point from other posts in the thread focuses on the unprecedented exodus of DPs and DP money from the league this offseason; this is only possible because of the recent "unprecedented" influx of DPs. This is more like a resetting to the earlier numbers of DPs in the league.
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  22. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    That's not what the report says though.

    "A four year worth between $4 and 5 million annually was extended in 2009."

    The report may be incorrect, but that's clearly what it says.
  23. triplet1

    triplet1 BigSoccer Supporter

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    I don't think people are disputing that. But if indeed a "re-setting" is occurring, the larger question is whether the money that went into players like Boyd or de Guzman is going to be re-invested somewhere else, or are MLS owners simply concluding those mid level DPs ($500k - $2m) aren't worth the cost and they'd rather just keep the cash.

    In other words, are they just dumping DP salaries to improve the bottom line with no intention of re-investing this money in new DPs?

    Again, my guess is that LA, NY and Seattle will fill their open DP slots, but I suspect we may be at the end of an era and we won't see DC United, Chicago, Dallas, Portland, Vancouver etc. shelling out big money on name DPs for the foreseeable future. (Not sure yet about TFC).

    With the academies now online, my sense is that read together the big stories of this off-season -- the sales and the exodus of DPs -- suggest an acceleration of the trend toward younger homegrown players who command much cheaper salaries (that require no additional cash from the I/Os), at least until they become established players, at which time they can be sold.

    I know many people will cheer this development, but I still think more "two - way" transfer traffic would be healthier for the development of the league.
  24. OleGunnar20

    OleGunnar20 Member+

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    the guy is either wrong or it was a typo ... here is a sports business journal claiming $1m per year after the extension (previously 750K).

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/...Renews-Jersey-Deal-With-Xango-Through-13.aspx

    4-5M a year doesn't even make any sense for a small company like Xango ... not to mention a small market like SL isn't going to garner that much cach.

    only the Galaxy and Sounders and Whitecaps and TFC are in the 4M plus range of kit sponsorship.
  25. looknohands

    looknohands Member+

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    If Beckham and Henry couldn't move the needle in any significant manner, no one will. Hell, bring in Messi and Ronaldo and, after the initial novelty wears off (three or four games, tops) you'll be right back to the same old tv ratings. Would they boost attendance? Sure- so long as they went to a team that isn't close to capacity. RSL for instance- if (hypothetically) they average 19,000 fans a game in a 20,000 seat stadium, how much money are you going to spend to get that extra 1,000 fans per game? How many of those would come if the team was performing well (as opposed to coming solely to see a marquee name?)

    I'm not one of those that believes the next TV deal will be a huge one. It'll likely be bigger than the current one, but I'd be overjoyed if it was anywhere approaching a doubling of it. Though the soccer-specific channels are dying out, there's still going to be plenty of competition amongst the various sports channels for programming.
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