Reports in the English press suggest that the Premier League is once again considering playing a round of matches in the USA in late November or early December, a scenario that Toronto FC president Tim Leiweke is not impressed with.
The Premier League is looking to expand its brand, and bring in more money, and they look at the attendance numbers from this summer’s game and they want some of that revenue.
This is not a new proposal from the Premier League. Six years ago, Premier League chief Richard Scudamore was widely criticized for his ill-fated ‘Game 39’ proposal, an extra match added to the League season to be played abroad, But this new proposal would seemingly be worked into the existing 38-game League format.
But a weekend of live, Premier League matches, across the US, could be devastating for Major League Soccer and its continued growth.
Leiweke, speaking at Leaders in Sport at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home, said:
“Is that good or bad for MLS? Is that a pioneer vision or a pirate move? Therein lies the debate.
“Are those competitors our partners or do they see that North American landscape and want to take money out of that landscape? Therein lies the challenge for Major League Soccer.”
The Premier League, as the NFL and NBA does, sees overseas games and expansion as the future, as a way to tap into a new fan base and revenue streams. The Premier League will point to the growing number of NFL games in London, and ask, why cannot we do the same in America?
American fans have shown a strong appetite for the Premier League. But what will be the cost to MLS of another British Invasion?