Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 1/10/13
How important was David Beckham to Major League Soccer? Was he so big that the sport will suffer without him? During the offseason, MLS has made almost no noise to get the attention of sports fans. It’s just been crickets.  (One exception: huge credit goes to MLS for hosting Soccer night for Newtown, Ct. children.) It seems that every offseason, MLB, NFL, and the NBA are making all kinds of moves and are somewhere in the media spotlight. Whether it’s baseball’s winter meetings, football’s rules committee meetings, or basketball free agency, something seems to always be going on for fans to relate to. American soccer fans have to be disappointed to have reached the end of the line with Beckham. He was producing and he made a significant difference in attracting fans to MLS. So, with Beckham’s time with MLS done, what is there to look forward to from a national standpoint? Fans in Seattle are going to be excited every time there’s a home game. This is a given. And there are some fun American players to watch around the league, including Zusi of KC and Wondolowski of San Jose. Landon Donovan may come back and prove yet again he is still relevant and exciting. Also, Thierry Henry can be downright brilliant at times with quick and unexpected plays. But how far will MLS sink without Beckham? The 2013 season will be a season of adjustments. Life after Beckham will probably mean a dip in attendance and in TV ratings. It would be hard to believe MLS TV ratings could go further into the abyss, but it is likely to happen. The league wants the public to think it is stable and can take a punch/kick to the gut, like Beckham leaving. But reality and past history are hard to ignore. The reality is that MLS still is on the cusp of becoming mainstream. It hasn’t made it yet. And the NASL from the late ’70s and early ’80s went defunct shortly after Pelé and other stars had retired from the league. Sports in America are built on star power. It’s just how it is. MLS needs more stars. It did well with Beckham. Now, it must make bids for others. This is a recurring theme. Lessons will be learned in 2013, and if the product can’t be improved, 2014 will provide one more chance to figure things out. ***** Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com The post Will David Beckham’s Departure Mean Decline in MLS Relevancy? appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.
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