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MLS succeeding in this economy?

Sure, the attendance numbers for MLS aren't that strong, down about 700 per game. But it is still the 4th best season for the league by any attendance measure.

No it doesn't compare strongly to the NBA (slightly up) or NHL (also slightly up), but does to MLB (down 6%) and NFL (in danger of 20% of games being blacked out).

But that isn't what is showing that MLS is remaining relatively strong in the down economy. I am also not going to point out the continuing demand for American businesses to expand into soccer in the USA/Canada, be it by jersey sponsorship or through buying into the league. We know these stories.

The stories you likely don't know are that clubs around the world are so debt laden that they are failing to pay their players. This includes Premiership side Portsmouth who were just bought by al-Fahim. Their players were not paid last month. While the blame doesn't lie with the new owner, as he hadn't completed the take over, this isn't the only English club with significant financial issues. The story around Newcastle is fairly well known, but did you know that two clubs currently sit in Administration? And that Southhampton teeters on the edge and has all summer? Clubs throughout the English pyramid are suffering during the economic crisis. Attendance is trending down for the Premiership, down 9% at this early point in the season.

But that's just England, the troubles are actually much larger. Recall the delayed start to the Argentine season, and the Setanta drama as relates to the Scottish Premier League. The A-League down under just announced that they would be delaying expansion by a year. Even players in La Liga go unpaid at times, and TFC gained the best active Canadian player due to it.

The fact is that the glory days of international football rested on spending huge amounts of debt, and now that debt has gone nearly worthless. It is a burden that is dragging foreign ownership into every major European league, and it is dragging teams with long histories from the top divisions.

There are large amounts of criticism in America and Canada towards Don Garber and his slow & steady growth plan, but the fact is that while other leagues are losing huge amounts of money (Argentina and Scotland) from TV, or teams are just not paying their employees in the USA the league is strong. The league is growing in scope, and likely even in quality.

The worst financial crisis in the modern era barely dented MLS, while it has hammered many other leagues around the world.

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