Even though the 2023/24 Major League Soccer season in the United States has only been seven weeks long, there is a lot of excitement due to a new TV deal and the upcoming World Cup.
Despite only being 30 years old, the MLS league is currently experiencing a popularity boom. In Europe, football fans often think of a place where great players go to get their last big paycheck before retiring. But right now, the league is getting better season after season, and people are paying attention.
America is notable for having an energy for Baseball, Ball and American Football. Nevertheless, “soccer” still holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. For the first time, an MLS team won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2022. The competition is significant because it is comparable to the well-known European Cup for North and Central America. The Seattle Sounders took home the trophy in May of that year, marking the first time the United States had ever sent a team to the Club World Cup in Morocco that year. That sent a major message to the world that the game is filling quickly in the country.
With the interest for additional MLS games higher than any time in recent memory, the association has tuned in. The league’s playoff system will be different this year than it has been in previous seasons because it will allow for more postseason games before the Grand Final in December. Fans will be able to watch more important games, and teams will face even more of a challenge if they want to win the MLS Cup.
Seattle will probably be in the blend to win the cup, as will last year’s champ, LAFC. LA won their first MLS Cup with a dramatic 120th-minute goal from Gareth Bale at the conclusion of extra time. Additionally, it was Bale’s final club game. In January 2023, the former Welsh international retired.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) has been gradually adding more teams to the league since 2017 in order to create more fixtures and cover more of the country. In the past seven years, nine new teams have joined, bringing the total number of teams from 20 to 29. The most recent team to join is expansion team St. Louis SC. They have had a great start to life in the league and are making a big splash early on this season. They are currently second in the Western Conference and have won five of their seven games.
Tom Timmerman, a writer for the St. Louis Dispatch, provided the following explanation: “The team’s addition to the league was delayed a year because of COVID, which really worked in their favor.”
“It enabled the owners to sign the players they desired nearly a year in advance and finish building the stadium in plenty of time. In most cases, expansion teams sign players before the league begins in February, but these players have been together since June of last year.”
The league will be more accessible to casual viewers than ever before thanks to the new teams, new playoff format, and TV deal. Apple recently introduced their “MLS Pass,” which allows fans to watch all of the season’s games for $99. Customers who are already Apple TV+ subscribers will only have to pay $79. Fans have been pleased with the platform and its pay structure thus far.
“The response from the fans has been great,” uncovered MLS touchline columnist Keith Costigan.
“It makes it possible for fans who are going to the first game to get home and watch the other games later in the day.” The input on the norm of inclusion has been great. Fans are content with it.”
Therefore, football, or soccer, as it is known in the United States, is truly gaining popularity. The nation is in line to have the FIFA 2026 World Cup competition in a little more than three years’ time. That may be a long way off, but it will soon start to happen. The Major League Soccer league is home to many of the first-choice players for the USA national team. The expectation is that this will give the national team a competitive advantage and ensure their success at the World Cup.