Major League Soccer, or the MLS as it’s commonly known, has been one of those footballing divisions that is arguably seen as part of the best of the rest group.
Of course, it’s not one of the five traditional big leagues, but it’s come a long way to say the debut season was only twenty-five years ago.
The audience is constantly growing and they are found to be extremely dedicated in following the MLS. And now the league is aiming to break ground to go global.
We’ve already mentioned how the MLS is still relatively new compared to other leagues and soccer systems. It hasn’t got the history or the reputation, so to see that the MLS has come to the fore quickly is remarkably impressive.
But, it was always a case of hitting a plateau, with a need to find that impetus again to continue moving things forward, with a global reputation the target.
As everyone will know, the MLS comprises twenty-five US teams, with three from Canada. So, you can see how the league has initially branched out, which is evidenced by major Canadian sportsbooks covering MLS betting.
However, the aim has always been to have that more extensive reach, and the powers that be have been clever in how they’re making it happen.
Of course, the players that come into the league in terms of transfers have been massive for that global appeal.
The likes of David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Kaka and more have all plied their trade in the MLS, and megastars are always going to work wonders when it comes to getting more eyes on the competition. And you could suggest that this trend continues to this day, with Xherdan Shaqiri heading to Chicago Fire recently after a short spell with Lyon in Ligue 1.
But, while people may look and feel that the players arriving and playing in the MLS will prove massive for the division’s reputation, there is a lot to be said about those who depart too. And the money that swells the coffers as a result.
Examples of this are Ricardo Pepi heading to Augsburg of the Bundesliga from FC Dallas for $20 million and Daryl Dike, who joined West Brom in the English Championship from Orlando City in a rumoured $9.5 million deal.
When players head to some of the world’s top divisions from the MLS, it immediately creates that buzz and interest in the US’s top tier.
People will recognise that talented players are coming out of the league, and it also means they’re more likely to check games, teams and so on out, be it on social media or via live broadcasts.
And this brings us nicely onto our final point, and it’s the last piece in the jigsaw and masterplan. The MLS is shown worldwide via leading broadcasters such as Sky Sports. Sky Sports in the UK is arguably the place a football league needs to be to take things global, which again shows the giant strides the division is taking.