Major League Soccer needs to rethink its MLS Is Back tournament

The Major League Soccer PR hype machine went into top gear with the announcement of its MLS Is Back tournament.

The tournament represents the return of the league, thus the unimaginative name. We’ve seen soccer leagues around the world return over the past weeks. The German Bundesliga is nearing its conclusion while Spain, Italy and England are just starting up again.

Domestically, the NWSL and MLS are set for returns soon. The NWSL is headed to Utah while MLS recently announced its tournament will be in Orlando.

MLS and the NWSL both face similar issues at their events. Utah is not doing so great in terms of the coronavirus outbreak at the moment. Meanwhile, Florida is downright spiking in terms of cases.

Both leagues will face tough decisions in the weeks ahead as things unfold regarding the virus. For now, Utah is less concerning than Florida although MLS has more time before its July 8 restart. The question everyone involved has to determine is what the breaking point is? What would need to happen to cause a cancellation of these events?

It’s arguable that these events shouldn’t have been scheduled in the first place, but with very concerning trends in both locations . On top of that, it appears neither league made great choices in their locations, albeit with limited options to begin with.

Expecting a big business to make a decision with health ahead of profit is a big ask. They don’t do that sort of thing. However, we are nearing a point where they may have no choice.

Of course, these types of discussions are happening regularly behind the scenes. They are aware of what is going on and are monitoring it closely. To be fair to MLS, they don’t need to rush a decision. They can wait a while before canceling, and waiting longer allows them to have more information before making a decision.

Things could get better or worse and make the decision easier, either way. Until then, we wait.

Germany has been playing for weeks and has avoided major incident. So far, Spain has avoid catastrophe in its first week. Italy has played two matches in the Coppa Italia. England restarted today. None of those countries are playing in a centralized location though.

The United States has not done well with the virus and that is a big reason why the American leagues are picking one city to play all matches. It is, in theory, safer to minimize cross-country travel. However, if that city is experiencing a major outbreak, then what?

Let’s see how this unfolds in the coming days and weeks.

Filed under: MLS

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