One step away from collapse

Everyone knows that football has never been very popular in the USA. It has always been overshadowed by America’s three main sports: baseball, American football and basketball.Therefore betting on this sport was not very popular. Thus football in America was constantly in a state of survival.

The first attempt to create a pro football tournament in USA was creation of the North American Soccer League , which was created from 2 Leagues : the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer Leagues . This one had connections with US national television from television and radio network CBS itself but due to low ratings and criticism of the broadcast, broadcasting of football matches on television was stopped. In its best years, group had 24 clubs fromUnited States and Canada, but towards the end of its existence in the mid-eighties, it consisted of 9 teams. The popularity of betting on this sport was also declining. All this points to the stagnation that took place in football in America. Although the league ultimately did not work out ( it was shortened in 1984), it first introduced football to American sports life on new grand scale and became key element in the incipience of football as one of the most popular sports among American youth.

And then a miracle happened

November 19, 1989. Team USA unexpectedly defeats Trinidad and Tobago and qualifies for the World Cup for the first time in almost half a century. Eight month before, in July, 1988, FIFA gave the opportunity to organize the 1994 World Cup to United States. Football opened new page in its American history.

One of the terms, when transferring the right to host the World Cup to the Americans was to create a coherent structure of the country’s football groups instead of the scattered ASL, WSL, MISL and others.

The need to create such a league has matured even without instructions from FIFA. The US team has clearly progressed: in friendly matches before the 1990 World Cup, they beat Finland, Iceland and Poland. The home game against the USSR attracted 61,000 spectators at Stanford Stadium. And although at the World Cup itself, the Americans lost all three matches, the next summer they already took the first CONCACAF Cup, at the World Cup they left the group altogether, and a year later they sensationally reached the semifinals championship of South America. Interest in sports increased as did fans’ desire to bet on it.

Creation of Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer was created with teams existing as franchises and legally owned by the league . Initially, it was assumed that the league would start in 1995 with 12 teams, but eventually , MLS started in a year , and there were only 10 clubs.

The league was interested in having the most famous American players play in the MLS. The 1994 FIFA World Cup USA squad reached home. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel moved from Galatasaray to Columbus Crew, joined by Paul Caligiuri, who returned from Germany. Marcelo Balboa interrupted a short trip to France. Tab Ramos (later acting coach of the US national team) moved to New York from Spain in transit through Mexico.

Efforts aimed at gathering all the big American stars and a couple of world-famous footballers in the league were aimed at solving the main task of increasing attendance. Along with this, the number of bets that fans make on football matches began to grow. Bookmakers quickly realized that there is an unfilled niche and a great demand for betting on football. So, they quickly began to develop the market for betting on football in America.

Over time, all these efforts resulted in making MSL the world’s fastest developing championship.