Argument: Owners of American soccer teams will not accept pro/rel.
Response: Has anyone asked the owners? If so, please point me to it. I haven’t seen it.
Actions speak louder than words. Several owners also own teams in pro/rel leagues elsewhere. This tells me that they are not all opposed to the idea. I also know of several owners of American soccer clubs, like Rocco Commisso, who would welcome it.
Let’s stop reading their minds.
Argument: Fans want to watch elite players, pro/rel doesn’t matter so much.
Response: Pro/rel does a better job at filtering up the elite players to watch, since clubs compete with each other to get that talent rather than colluding with other clubs to spread the talent for the sake of parity.
To understand this, it’s good to understand the difference between a league operated on open collusion amongst owners for talent and one with independent clubs competing to attract that talent.
Argument: TV networks wouldn’t want a NYCFC to be replaced by Ithaca United.
Response: First, NYCFC is owned by the Manchester City ownership group, which knows how to stay away from relegation zone.
Second, this perpetuates the myth that the main driver of ratings is the size of a team’s home market. This neglects a basic observation in the world of soccer: why so many people around the world who do not live in Manchester, London, Barcelona or Madrid, love to watch clubs based in those cities.
Ithaca United in its current state may not attract a lot of tv viewers, in our out of its market. Neither does NYCFC. Either team, built around the incentives to put, dollar for dollar, the best team possible on the field will be far more interesting to watch by more folks.
For the mediocre-by-design parity sports model, size of home market is a factor. But, even in soccer hasn’t proven out to be nearly the factor it is for the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL.
For the ‘may the best club win’ sports model, it has been proven around the world that the top level can draw eyeballs from beyond their home territories, while still drawing considerable native support for lower division clubs.