Happy international break everybody. Yours truly totally forgot to put this together Sunday night but rest assured, your favorite place to start (Friday and Monday) mornings is back up and running.
A story I missed last week but which our fearless leader Atlantis96 sent my way is the ongoing push to expand the Club World Cup. The plan would transforming from the dinky, UEFA-dominated tournament that it is currently into a 21-team behemoth that would replace the Confederations Cup and become an honest-to-God major tournament.
The problem is UEFA doesn’t want a major tournament that even closely resembles the Champions League. They’ve taken what would normally be considered a strange decision by asking FIFA to reduce the number of slots allocated to European teams. That push seems to have failed and, under the current proposal, Europe would provide 8 teams, CONMEBOL 6, 3 each would come from CAF, AFC and CONCACAF and Oceania would provide the token final club.
Now we’ll leave the financial scheming involved out because it isn’t exactly breaking news that FIFA and UEFA chase the almighty dollar. Let’s look at the theoretical impact on CONCACAF and, in turn MLS, and, in turn, Vancouver.
It isn’t exactly clear how CONCACAF would divide up the spots allocated to it. But given the influence that the USSF and FMF have over the organization, it wouldn’t shock me if a system like this were divised: the champions of MLS and Liga MX in a given year would earn automatic berths, as would the CCL champion (they could figure it out later if there was overlap). This is more of less how things are decided now; the CCL champion the year before the Club World Cup earns the berth. Doing it this way would ensure representation from the confederation’s most lucrative leagues and while it would undoubtedly screw every other member league, CONCACAF doesn’t have a documented record of caring so much about that.
Given that Vancouver has lost each of its first three matches, the notion of even making the playoffs might seem like a dream, much less winning the playoffs or the CCL. So let’s set aside a possible Whitecaps appearance in any continental or global competition for awhile.
But the Caps would still stand to benefit from such a deal. At the moment, MLS TV contracts are fledgling but there is evidence that that’s a growing revenue stream. Sky Sports shows 2 MLS matches on air in the UK and Ireland per week, EuroSport airs 5 a week in continental Europe and BeIn Sports airs a plethora of MLS offerings throughout Austrasia.
Now are there a lot of people in Thailand tuning into MLS (outside of insomniacs and expats)? Probably not. But MLS teams making regular (and competitive) appearances in a presumably more prestigious, presumably more lucrative CWC would help that. MLS is negotiating its next global rights deals as we speak and one would imagine it will be more profitable than the last, which was presumably for pennies on the dollar. Further improvement to the league’s international brand (whether via an expanded Club World Cup or literally anything else) would drive that even higher. And given how TV revenue is distributed it would mean more dollars in the pocket of Caps’ ownership to be spent (or not spent, depending how cynical you want to be to start the day).
Let’s get link-sy shall we?
Shameless Self Promotion
We have some good content (TM) coming from yours truly and a couple other writers on the current defensive woes. In the meantime, enjoy Caleb Wilkins taking the piss out of Toronto FC here.
Best of the Rest
Tough injury news for former Caps Marcel de Jong and Erik Hurtado. Get well soon lads!
He may have scored his first Bundesliga goal but it sounds like Alphonso Davies will officially miss Canada’s critical Nations League match against French Guiana at BC Place :(
A good look at the Caps’ academy efforts from Sam Stejskal
And in a similar vein, JJ Abrams takes a deeper dive on the developmental squad’s tour of England
Happy weekend everybody and I hope it is filled with happiness, relaxation and March Madness basketball.