It never ceases to amaze me how willing professional athletes are to strike. Do they not realize how lucky they are to be able to play a game for a living?
The 16-year-old MLS (Major League Soccer) is in danger of a work stoppage with the way that contract negotiations are going. On January 31st, the existing labor contract expired. As of yet, the two sides have not been able to agree on a whole lot.
Players are demanding that free agent rights be expanded and that there be more guaranteed contracts. Owners say that they cannot afford to do so at this time.
While I am all for players getting their just piece of the pie, in this case they may be acting just a little unreasonable. According to a report in Business Week, from the founding of the league through 2004 teams lost an estimated $350 million. The Los Angeles Galaxy was the first to turn a profit in 2003 to be followed two years later by FC Dallas. Toronto FC would join the ranks of the profitable in 2008.
League officials like to think that all teams would be able to turn a profit in 2010. However, they also thought that the Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids would be in 2008 along with Toronto FC.
Owners have expressed a desire to keep the league active and have pledged not to lock out the players for the 2010 season, electing to continue working under the expired contract. However, the players have not reacted in kind and are instead leaving a work stoppage as a possibility if their demands are not met.
Are these guys nuts? Your league is not making money, yet you want to have more of it? I understand that the talent deserves to be compensated, but when you are in a league without a big following that has yet to make any money it would seem that the worst thing possible would be to go on strike.
The NFL, NBA, and MLB were able to strike for one reason- there is no worthy substitute to the product that they offer. Soccer, on the other hand is actually of a higher quality and competitive level overseas and in Latin America.
Fans already gravitate to every other soccer league in the world because the game is better. Were the MLS players to go on strike there is no telling if the fans would even be willing to come back if and when a new contract could be agreed upon.
MLS players need to be glad their league is still alive. Get to greedy (that goes or players and coaches alike) and the MLS will stand more of a chance of falling to the wayside like the Arena Football League did after 22 years of play. Be glad you guys have this opportunity. It sure would be a shame to see the league fail and the opportunity for feature stars to shine because players wanted too much now.
Like any fledging business, it needs time to grow.
Beer: Cutthroat Pale Ale from the good people at Uinta Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah (home of reigning MLS champion Real Salt Lake) – the number one selling craft beer in Utah, Cutthroat Pale Ale is one beer that is pleasing to the palate of even the most picky of beer drinkers. With a clean, crisp feel to it your taste buds will love the malty flavors in the beginning and savor the somewhat fruity, hoppy overtones that it finishes with. At only 4% ABV, you will spend too much time running to the bathroom for the alcohol to get to you.