Why A Successful World Cup Is Huge for Major League Soccer


There are few planned events that manage to captivate the entire world at once. Outside of the Olympics, The World Cup may truly be the only other planned event that brings together billions of people who, outside of the monumental event every four years, wouldn’t know the other existed.

There’s much more at stake during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil than just National pride. There’s the long-term sustainability and success of Major League Soccer, a growing American soccer league looking to bring top national talent to American soil in hopes that the borrowed European-based spot of soccer will become a mainstay event in the United States.

"Major League Soccer’s commissioner Don Garber, in a recent interview with the New York Daily News said “We have been saying this for quite some time: America is quickly becoming a soccer nation.”"

With record-breaking numbers flooding ESPN from the American side, there’s substantial proof that we are, as a country, growing into a soccer-hungry country. The World Cup is a 32-day event that when over, will be forever forgotten by the casual fan. Americans may be fair-weather fans as of right now, but a successful Cup run by the US Men’s National Team, and there could be an influx of new soccer friends ready to cling that same Outlaw passion to their local MLS team.

Just for reference, the US vs. Portugal match, had a higher combined rating than the 2013 World Series and the NBA Finals. Now is the time for MLS commissioner Garber to strike while the iron is hot and build a brand worth watching on American soil.

With nearly half of the USMNT’s roster being MLS players (10 out of the 22 total players to be exact), and 22 total MLS players throughout the entire World Cup, the ever-growing American-based soccer league MLS is growing a product that hopes in the future can be a notable competitor to leagues such as the English Premier, or La Liga. One could wonder, though… Does MLS want to mirror those leagues? Does MLS want to be a brand of it’s own?

That type of thinking is attractive. The thought of MLS being a league that’s so attractive in the future, that major players, elite players would be more inclined to come play on American soil than in their own home countries, or major markets in Europe.

MLS has added nine teams since their inaugural season in 1996, when they started with 10. The league is also expecting a 24-team league by 2020. What’s important for MLS is to stop mirroring player salaries to that of the WNBA and capitalize off the new TV deal, reportedly worth in excess of $90 million with ESPN, FOX, and Univision.

Where the MLS can continue to infiltrate their growing brand and product is social networking. Twitter alone is a common viewing party for disconnected fan bases to come together and cheer their native country or club on with a simple hashtag. Major League Soccer has the ball in their court, or the ball on their pitch…if you dare. The time is now, the time is coming.

Soccer in America can either die slowly like a once beautiful rose, or .. maybe, just maybe… we can be the rose that grew from the crack in the concrete.