I know all about the fantastic synergy between the NFL desks and the MLS desks of the Seattle sports empire. That is an ownership arrangement that clearly works, where an MLS team functions smoothly, never suffering from younger brother status next to NFL in the family.
But I also see the New England Revolution – and we all know how pro soccer in New England and formerly in New York has suffered as a result of shared arrangements. At other places, too. Generally speaking, when NFL and MLS get partnered up in any way, shape or form, we know who calls the shots and who frequently must tolerate the inattention.
The NFL is king-daddy in domestic sports, so the deciders have every right to do as they please. Who could possibly argue with NFL success?
Major League Soccer does have a say in this. The obvious choice here is not to be in league with NFL. The best chance for soccer’s top professional tier to protect itself here is by crossing the street to avoid any unnecessary interaction.
Specifically, MLS should decline overtures that would create any situation where an MLS club is just a place holder.
I just read a good interview in IMSoccer News with Lester Bagley, VP of Public Affairs and Stadium Development for the Minnesota Vikings.
If they are just talking about making the facility compatible with soccer, that’s fantastic. But past that, just hearing an NFL team talk about MLS makes me queasy. The cynic in me says this is one of two things: More spin to help keep as much public trust on the organization’s side, or;
An NFL team covering all its bases on filling up the event calendar once a pretty new palace is built.
Clearly, Major League Soccer should be well past the point of getting in bed with money men who reduce a soccer team to a “holding” or see the exercise as a component in a real estate deal.
But that’s just me; I care about the sport and the league.
Other than all that, it really is a swell looking football stadium.