Trending Topics: NASL – And Salvation From Within

IMAGE, NASL.COM

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Columnist

The suspension and all-but-certain termination of the North American Soccer League’s business relationship with Traffic Sports has created a budget deficit and a power vacuum for the league. With the league suddenly stripped of its main benefactor and marketing arm, there is an opportunity for the league’s current investors to redetermine the future of the NASL.

With Traffic President and Chairman of the NASL’s Board of Governors Aaron Davidson’s indictment and the guilty pleas of Traffic Sports & Traffic Sports USA to wire fraud charges (both unsealed), the NASL needs to assume control of the Carolina RailHawks and sever all ties to Traffic as soon as possible.

For the league, the only issue with following common sense is that it would require a significant increase to its operating expenses while cutting itself off from their sugardaddy.

The league that prided itself on the independence of its clubs now needs them to be co-dependant in order to survive its biggest crisis. That may not come very easily, especially with so much power up for grabs. Two-thirds of the B shares in the NASL can now become available and while those shares do not carry voting power, they do carry veto power over the league’s budgeting and in the acceptance of new expansion teams. While Northern Pitch reports that Traffic may have never exercised that power, that does not devalue its importance.

We only know that the Fath brothers, the founding and current owners of FC Edmonton, also have B shares in the NASL. The B shares in the NASL are actually shares of NASL Team Holdings LLC, a corporation founded by the founding owners of the NASL in 2010. Although Traffic is at the center of a federal investigation, that does not necessarily prevent them from receiving compensation for its shares if it is forced to divest from NASL Team Holdings. It is also not known for a fact if the B shares were transferred to the new owners of Minnesota United, Fort Lauderdale Strikers or the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Therefore, it is uncertain who will have to decide what to do with Traffic’s shares in the NASL.

If that decision is ultimately left in the hands of the Fath brothers and the current owners of the founding teams, we are left with more uncertainty. The most unlikely scenario involving both the shares and the compensation would involve the aforementioned parties paying Traffic for its shares and splitting them amongst themselves. The Fath brothers are operating at too much of a loss and Dr. Bill McGuire is going to be reluctant to make a major investment in an entity that he is not going to be a part of for much longer.

It is much more likely to expect these owners to look for more investment from Sela Sports. When the New York Cosmos’ owners opted to join the NASL, they celebrated joining a league that promised them the moon. Now, that league needs their money now more than ever to fulfill that promise. Sela can afford to further its investment in the league and help it handle operating costs in turn for Traffic’s shares and commercial rights to the NASL.

Almost everything about this potential arrangement makes sense for the NASL and the Cosmos. The NASL addresses its need for long-term financial backing and finds a new marketing partner. The Cosmos get a chance to influence the league’s budgeting and expansion decision making and steer it in a direction that helps them secure footholds in New York and American soccer. That means searching for owners that are willing to spend and show no inhibitions about entering large markets that already have MLS teams.

All that being said, if the NASL enters an arrangement of this sort with Sela, they will be making a massive mistake. The NASL is in this crisis because of its deep rooted connections with Traffic. Traffic was the league’s exclusive marketing agency and primary financial backer. If the NASL replaces Traffic with Sela, it leaves itself vulnerable to the same sort of crisis it is in right now. The lesson for the NASL to learn from all of this is that if it is going to be forming relationships with outside entities, it cannot form one exclusive relationship with one outside entity.

Enter Riccardo Silva.

One of the takeaways from the creation of Miami FC is that Silva would broadcast the team’s games around the world with the help of his media distribution group, MP & Silva. The NASL needs a partner that can effectively manage its broadcast rights while steering clear of unethical and illegal conduct.

So far, MP & Silva have shown that they are capable of doing that.

It would not make much sense for the NASL to look for MP & Silva to provide the additional financial investment that is going to be needed. Miami FC has to get off the ground first. It would also not make much sense to ask Sela Sports to provide the money needed and handle the league’s marketing — we already saw what happens when North American soccer deals with mysterious entities.

In fact, the league would be wise not to be beholden to any single entity (no pun intended). A split between Silva and Sela will offer the NASL a partnership with a global reach and funding from a pair of multi-million dollar organizations literally invested in the growth of soccer in America — and with the experience of breaking through emerging markets around the world. With Traffic on the ropes and SUM firmly taking root in America, Sela and Silva offer the only logical funding and marketing experience to laterally move the league away from controversy — and onto a new day.

  • slowleftarm

    Uh oh, somewhere Leo Glickman’s head is exploding.

    • slowcleftarm

      I AM OBSESSED WITH THE COSMOS.

      I SAY I HATE THEM BUT I CAN”T HELP COMMENTING ON EVERY PIECE ABOUT THEM!

    • fastrightleg

      Probably not as fast as how you devour each and every Cosmos piece within a second of publication, but whatevs.

    • slowleftarm

      Is this the best you guys can do?

      • Realist

        You are very obsessed with the Cosmos. You need help.

        • Shia LaBeouf

          They’re right, dude. You are, and you do…

  • Mike

    Given that Miami FC will likely be a flop in that makret and get crushed by Beckhman FC, I would not want my eggs in that basket. Nor would I want the league to be run by the Cosmos. I have no clue if the NASL is going to survive this. They attacked MLS so no help there. MLS is probably laughing at their demise.

  • OpenCupFan

    To EOS and the author,

    Why no articles about Glazer and his connections to MLS? I believe he was honored by MLS as man of the year or something akin to that in 2006 or so. Also, reports are he is the one that has kept FIFA off of MLS’ back – any knowledge if there is any truth to that?

    Seems there are many angles here worth examining aside from the countless attacks on NASL and its demise which are nothing but conjecture. This entire “article” offers zero in factual support for anything it claims. For example, there are numerous references to NASL’s monetary reliance on Traffic, except there is no basis for this and no sources cited. The only source is the Northern Pitch article which has a completely different tone to it than this article and unlike this gibberish it actually did some research to support what it says – for example it only mentions that Traffic lent money to NASL to get off the ground. A loan which the article cited clearly says is being serviced – so unless the author of this piece here has some additional knowledge he should refrain from the blanket statements he makes here. Statements which amount to nothing but biased attacks against a business.

    Certainly, NASL is newsworthy and worthy of critical examination, but the uneducated opinion pieces attacking NASL, passed off as factual pieces, do a disservice to readers looking for edification and even more unfortunate is that these sad excuses for journalism represent missed opportunities for some really interesting and thought provoking writing to come from this venue.

    Is there anyway to indicate to the reader that this is an opinion piece with no actual research behind it so those interested in actual news and developments could avoid anti-NASL “articles” like this?

    #clubbeforeleague
    #greentideworldwide

    • Anonymous

      Shut the hell up fanboy.

    • Ulrich

      You truly are misinformed.

      Chuck BLAZER was indicted for corruption. That’s Blazer with a *B*.

      The Glazer family owns ManU.

      Nowhere has it been referenced that Blazer (if that’s whom you’re actually referring to) kept “FIFA off MLS’ back” – that is pure conjecture on your part to stir the pot, and frankly it makes no sense in the grand scheme of FIFA being corrupt.

      If you want real news, go read Reuters. EOS is a blog, and as such the reader (you) should not expect Pulitzer Prize winning writing or citations to every source of information.

      • OpenCupFan

        Are you saying this blog just publishes opinions attacking NASL with no factual support?

        • Ulrich

          Never said that, and if your reading comprehension was up to snuff you’d know that.

          Then again, your factual support for “reports are he is the one that has kept FIFA off of MLS’ back – any knowledge if there is any truth to that?” is non-existent. There have been ZERO reports of this, and if there were you’d have been able to link to it.

  • Chuck Blazer

    I once had a 3 some with Gulati and Garber and let’s just say i was the caboose.

  • Diablo

    I think Mr. Araos needs to stop talking thru his rectal cavity. How about facts instead of opinions? This article is nothing but toilet paper.

  • Sam U El

    What more could you expect from Bill Archer Lite?

  • OpenCupFan

    EOS,

    Still no article regarding 2006 MLS man of the Year, USSF executive, and FBI informant Chuck Blazer?

    Seems an odd thing to skip over.

  • jspech

    Do we really expect any of these soccer bloggers to be critical of MLS. Google Garber & Blazer. Do we really think MLS, owner of SUM, which competes business-wise w/ Traffic sports to be clean?