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Relegation in North American sports


Jezus_Ghoti

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Could we ever see a major North American sport instituting some sort of relegation rule?

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, in European soccer leagues, the team(s) who finish last in the league have to go play in a crappier league the next year, while the team(s) who are at the top of the league that is one step below the elite league get to join the elite league the next year.

I don't really know how or if this could work at all, but it just seems to me that it would add so much. Can you imagine teams at the bottom of the NBA fighting until the last game of the season to avoid getting relegated? It would make a bunch of games that right now would mean nothing into games that mattered (maybe) as much as the games involving teams that were vying for playoff spots.

I realize that there aren't really leagues that would be a good fit to relegate into (is the NFL really going to send a team to NFL Europe?), but what if there were? Would this be too huge of a rule change to even consider adding to a major North American sport?

This is just stuff that I have been pondering, and I was wondering if you guys had any insight or opinions.

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baseball would have the best chance of this due to the system, however the minor league clubs wouldnt make as much money, and the team that dropped would make far less money than it did in the majors, essentually breaking it.

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I don't know many leagues that could pull it off. Maybe the NHL with the AHL, and MLS with the A-League (is that even an affiliate)?

I doubt it would happen, even the worst teams at the top level are better than the top teams at the next level down. I think the Carolina Hurricanes would beat the Milwaukee Admirals over a best of 5 or 7 game series.

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I always thought this could work for MLB. Except the MLB isn't really broke IMO.

But you split the 30 clubs into 3 10 team levels. Throw away American League and National League.

Expand by 3. Portland, Las Vegas, Monteray.

Now you have 3 'leagues' of 11 to allow travel days.

Works like European Soccer. Top 2 and Bottom 2 move up or down respectivly.

This however would probably distroy baseball in the bottom 11 cities. To combate that, the you'd play teams in all "leagues". So the Devil Rays still get the Yankees a couple times a year.

Its a dumb idea but I put some thought into it so humor me!

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A Relegation/promotion system has no chance of being adopted by North America's top-tier professional sports leagues.

1) The owners in MLB, the NBA, NFL, NHL - even in the likes of the CFL, MLS and Arena Football - have far too much money invested in their franchises to gamble on their teams being relegated to a lower level of competition... a level that would be considered "minor-league" by North American sports fans, thus depressing the value of the franchise. They are not going to operate these "businesses" with any more uncertainty - financial or otherwise - than they already must deal with in a volatile entertainment marketplace.

2) It is not a system that has any history in the century-plus of modern North American sports. Given this unfamiliarity, fans are not going to embrace a system that they have no ties to. They're not going to patiently sit around and wait for their favorite franchise to climb back into the top level of its respective sport.

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We've talked about doing it in Viperball. I know, who cares.. but that's the thought anyway.

We think it's a good idea and a nice way to attract cities with an incentive to host teams or otherwise. Plus, it would give even bad teams and their fans something to at least "fight for," their standing in the top division.

I think it would be a hard sell for most American major sports for that particular reason, mostly like you all have said - money.

But still, I think it's an interesting thought.

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There's too much of a gap between top-level teams and second level teams. In soccer, the bottom-placed clubs aren't usually much bigger than the top-placed second tier sides. So they can be interchanged easily.

Doesn't work in any other spotrs competition in the world.

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Stadiums would be the number one reason this can't work. How many current minor league teams have a stadium that could handle the attendance needed to a major league club? The Expos already proved you can't stay competitive on minor league attendance numbers.

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It'll never happen due to the money involved and their affiliations, but in baseball at least, it probably should.

Personally with baseball, I'd expand (yes, I said expand) MLB to 32 teams, then split into 8 divisions of 4 teams each. At the end of each season I'd give the 8 playoff teams a week off and have the last-place teams in each of the 8 divisions square off in a best-of-3 or best-of-5 series.

The 4 series winners get to stay part of MLB, while the losers are relegated to AAA to make room for the champs and runners-up of the IL and PCL.

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It wont happen in North America, because North American Sport and the Rest of The World's sport is alot different. In North America there are 4 major leagues. Fans are usually fans cheer for 2 teams if not 3 or 4. In the rest of the world, fans live and die by one team. No matter what that team does they will follow them. If a team in North America gets relegated there are only a small number of people that will still follow them, while the rest will just move to a different sport.

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There are a nyumber of pronblems with the promotion/relegation system in the american set up.

1 Owners aren't gonna risk voting fopr a system that would risk them severly reducing there revenues.

2 The players unions won't support a system that would ensure wage reductions for some of there members at the end of each season.

3 Its impractical with the draft system. Who gets to join in the draft?

4. The quality of mionor league venues.

To name but 4 of them.

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it's a good idea, but for reasons stated it would never work here, at least in the pro ranks. I think some of the high school leagues in the big cities have some sort of relegation (example, one Chicago league has a red and blue division, and though I forget which is the higher division, one's champ is promoted to the higher division, replacing the last place team.

otherwise, what CC said.

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There are a nyumber of pronblems with the promotion/relegation system in the american set up.

1 Owners aren't gonna risk voting fopr a system that would risk them severly reducing there revenues.

2 The players unions won't support a system that would ensure wage reductions for some of there members at the end of each season.

3 Its impractical with the draft system. Who gets to join in the draft?

4. The quality of mionor league venues.

To name but 4 of them.

First of all, most new leagues don't have players unions. I know Arena Football almost had a labor snafu a few years back over that.

The owners might not want it at the top level, but if it gives them an incentive to keep their teams good, then I don't see any reason why they'd oppose it.

Plus, I don't think we're talking about a major league with 30 teams and another "2nd division" with 30 teams as the relegation league. I was thinking more like, a league with 22-24 teams at the most..maybe just 16-20, with a minor league that has 12.

This would make it clear that the top division was the place to be. You could share the TV contract across the board, like currently happens, with say, all the teams in the league.

Because the presumption would be, you'd have so many games going on - and tournaments and other matches - like soccer does in Europe - that there would always be something to cheer for or whatever.

As for the draft, perhaps you'd just drop the draft concept all together. Instead, just have open free agent bidding for teams. Players on top-division teams that get relegated, could have automatic triggers in their contracts that gave the team an option whether to keep or release them.

After all, you figure that those teams would have at least or two players worth keeping at the top level.

Maybe the draft would only happen at the bottom division level, not the

"major league" level, with teams being able to say, make trades or whatever for those players.

Or perhaps, you could have a dispersal draft. Each team would protect a certain number of players at the end of the season, with the rest being entered into a pool, with the new teams entering the top division getting first crack, followed by the rest of the top division.

Then, the bottom division would get their chance to pick from the rest, starting from the bottom, to the new teams that are entering. So, in some ways, they get doubly screwed for getting demoted. But then, oh well. That's why you don't get demoted.

As for rookies and such, you could set a cap on salaries for those players, meaning one team with NY Yankees money, couldn't sign all the rookies available. They'd be limited either to a certain amount of money total (rookie salary cap) or you could restrict the numbers of rookies - again to be entered on a league-wide posting list - and give a certain period of time these players can be signed to top division teams, otherwise, they have to sign with 2nd division teams and cannot be traded until a certain date during the season.

This would ensure both divisions were taken care of and ultimately, survive.

I think it's doable, but again, it'd have to be a league that implemented it from the start. I also think fans would like it, because even if their team is bad, they usually have something to cheer for - and owners would have an incentive to put good teams together or lose their investment.

Imagine that, bringing the true free market to sports!

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It would never work at the level in NA. It works with High Schools because you root for the school you go to. But with pro sports you don't have the affliation as you do with high school sports. In North America fans like to root for the team to become the best. If you put teams in a relegation league you have no chance of building a fan base because the team has no chance at winning. Fans aren't going to get pumped up about winning the relegation league championship because they still no there is still a full league better than them.

Let's just say MLB gets split up into 2 leagues, a top tier league and a relegation league. Now your a fan of the Cleveland Indians, a team on the rise, under todays system they could contend in the central. However if there was a relegation system in place they would be in the lower league and would have no shot by rule of winning the real championship. Why go to the games that year, they can't win? It takes the hope for a magical season (like the royals had 2 years ago) away. It would never work in North America.

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