Are you a fan of Major League Soccer (MLS)? If so, then you’ve probably noticed that the sport is growing in popularity throughout America. But just how much has MLS grown? In this article, we take a comprehensive look at the league’s growth over the years and what it means for soccer fans across the country.
We’ll examine everything from attendance figures to television viewership to get an accurate picture of MLS’ current state in America. So if you’re curious about how far this American soccer league has come — and where it’s headed next — read on!
Major League Soccer (MLS) has grown dramatically since its inception in 1996. It currently encompasses 27 teams across the United States and Canada, with a 28th team set to join for the 2022 season. MLS has seen surging attendance at games and increasing viewership on television networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision. Additionally, MLS’s digital presence continues to expand significantly each year, with millions of followers across their social media platforms. With continued investments from some of the biggest names in sports business, it is clear that MLS is firmly cemented within American culture today.
The History of the League
The history of Major League Soccer (MLS) in America can be traced back to the early 1990s, when the United States was awarded the 1994 FIFA World Cup. In order to successfully host the tournament, the country needed to have a professional soccer league in place. Thus, the concept for MLS was born.
The first season of MLS took place in 1996 with 10 teams, including the Columbus Crew, D.C. United, and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. The league struggled in its early years, facing financial difficulties and low attendance numbers. However, MLS persevered and continued to expand, adding new teams and improving the quality of play.
One major turning point for MLS came in 2007 with the arrival of David Beckham to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham’s celebrity status helped to bring attention and credibility to the league, and his presence helped to boost attendance and merchandise sales.
Since then, MLS has continued to grow in popularity and now consists of 26 teams, with more expansion on the horizon. The league has also made significant strides in terms of player development, with the creation of the MLS Academy system and the establishment of partnerships with top European clubs.
Overall, MLS has come a long way since its inception in 1996 and is now considered one of the top soccer leagues in the world. While it may not yet have the same level of popularity as some of the more established sports leagues in America, it is well on its way to becoming a major player in the American sports landscape.
Popularity Of MLS on a Global Scale
The Major League Soccer (MLS) is the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, and it has seen tremendous growth in popularity in recent years. In fact, the league has gained a significant global following, with fans tuning in from all corners of the world to watch their favorite teams and players compete.
One of the main factors contributing to the global popularity of MLS is the increasing quality of play.
As the league has grown and developed, it has attracted top-tier international talent, including well-known players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This has led to a higher level of competition and entertainment on the field, which has, in turn, attracted more fans.
Another factor in the global popularity of MLS is the league’s expansion into new markets. In the past few years, MLS has added teams in cities like Nashville, Austin, and St. Louis, giving fans in these areas the opportunity to support their own local team.
The league has also formed partnerships with international clubs, such as the one between the LA Galaxy and Manchester United, which helps to bring the global soccer community together.
In addition to on-field factors, MLS has also done a good job of marketing itself globally through social media and other digital platforms. The league has a strong presence on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, allowing it to reach a wider audience and interact with fans worldwide.
Overall, the popularity of MLS on a global scale can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the increasing quality of play, expansion into new markets, and strong digital presence. As the league continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that its global popularity will only continue to increase.
FIFA Rankings of Major Soccer Leagues in the World
The FIFA rankings of major soccer leagues in the world is a system used to rank the strength of professional soccer leagues around the globe. The rankings are based on the performances of the clubs in each league, as well as the national teams that are made up of players from those leagues.
The rankings are updated on a regular basis, and are used to determine the seedings for various international tournaments, such as the World Cup and the European Championship.
When it comes to the most popular soccer leagues in the world, there is no denying that the top leagues in Europe, such as the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, and the Italian Serie A, are at the top of the list.
These leagues have a global reach, with millions of fans across the world tuning in to watch the matches. They also have some of the biggest and most successful clubs in the world, such as Manchester United, Barcelona, and Juventus.
However, other leagues around the world are also gaining in popularity. For example, the MLS in America has seen significant growth in recent years, with more and more fans following the league and attending matches.
In terms of the FIFA rankings, the top 12 most popular soccer leagues in the world are:
- English Premier League
- Spanish La Liga
- Italian Serie A
- German Bundesliga
- French Ligue 1
- Portuguese Primeira Liga
- Brazilian Serie A
- Argentine Primera Division
- Dutch Eredivisie
- MLS (USA)
- Mexican Liga MX
- Russian Premier League
It is worth noting that the FIFA rankings are not necessarily a definitive measure of the popularity of each league, as they are based on the performances of the teams and national teams within those leagues.
However, they do give us a good idea of which leagues are considered the strongest and most competitive in the world.
Comparisons to Other American Sports Leagues
In comparison, the National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920, the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1946, and Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1903. Despite its relative youth, MLS has made significant strides in terms of both attendance and television viewership.
In 2019, MLS saw an average attendance of 22,000 per game, which is comparable to the NBA’s average attendance of 17,000 and the NHL’s average attendance of 17,000. Additionally, MLS has seen a steady increase in television viewership in recent years, with an average of around 400,000 viewers per game in 2019.
It’s also worth considering the level of competition within each league. MLS is a single-entity league, meaning that all teams are owned by the league itself rather than individual owners. This allows for more equal distribution of talent and resources, which can lead to a more competitive league overall.
In contrast, the NFL, NBA, and MLB all have a salary cap, which can lead to a wider gap in talent between teams. While MLS may not have the same level of superstars as other leagues, it can offer a more evenly matched and exciting brand of soccer.
Finally, it’s important to consider each league’s cultural impact and global reach. MLS has a strong following in the United States, but it’s worth noting that soccer (or football, as it’s known in the rest of the world) is the most popular sport in the world.
This global reach allows MLS to tap into a vast pool of international talent and bring a unique, diverse atmosphere to the league. In comparison, the NFL, NBA, and MLB are primarily American sports with a more limited global reach.
While MLS may not have the same level of history or cultural significance as other American sports leagues, it has made significant strides in attendance, viewership, and competition.
Its global reach and diverse atmosphere also set it apart from its American counterparts. As the league continues to grow and evolve, it will be interesting to see how it compares to other American sports leagues in the future.
In conclusion, Major League Soccer (MLS) has come a long way in its relatively short history. From its humble beginnings in 1996, the league has consistently grown in terms of attendance, television viewership, and competition.
While it may not yet have the same level of history or cultural significance as other American sports leagues, it has proven to be a viable and exciting option for sports fans. Its global reach and diverse atmosphere also set it apart from its American counterparts, making it a unique and enjoyable league to follow.
As MLS continues to grow and evolve, it will be interesting to see how it compares to other American sports leagues in the future.