BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger is ripe with theories and hot sports takes.
This one might top the list.
The ratings for this Brazil World Cup have just been astronomical, topping Stanley Cup, NBA Finals and World Series games — second only to NFL broadcasts. Call it national pride, or the “it-only-happens-every-four-years” factor, but it’s evident for all to see that the World Cup in the United States has arrived.
Major League Soccer, or the sport of soccer in general? Now that’s a different question entirely.
Marc Bertrand, filling in for Tony Massarotti Monday afternoon, and others have noted that Americans will not take to MLS because we know it’s not the best soccer league in the world. In fact it’s not even close. Felger counters that La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga are all inferior leagues to the English Premier League, but that doesn’t seem to bother the Spaniards, the Italians or the Germans.
So if Americans are truly ready for soccer, as the ratings have indicated, and we’ll only get behind the sport unless we have the best of the best in our own backyards, why not have the best of both worlds? That is, the English Premier League in the United States.
The NFL has already discussed bringing an expansion team to London, so why not the other way around for soccer?
“Here’s my idea: the United States, not necessarily a city, but the United States is given a team in the English Premier League. We pay an expansion fee, a franchise fee or whatever. We can’t be relegated for the first couple years. You have a US team in the English Premier League that plays in a half dozen cities around the country where soccer is big, and now all of a sudden we’re in the best league in the world. Doesn’t that solve everything?”
Following so far? Felger expounded on that premise even further.
“What if you make that team an MLS All Star team? The MLS team is our entry into the EPL. If it’s got ‘USA’ on the sweater we’re all going to watch it — that’s been proven. We’ve all got something to root for, we’re now in the best league in the world and then those guys sort of fracture and go back to play for their club teams, and that improves their exposure on the club level. I love it!”