In Europe, most soccer leagues don’t run in a playoff system to determine the winner of the league, but whoever finishes first in the standings. But there’s a penalty whoever finish last, or in the bottom three. Whoever finish in the last three spots get demoted to the second division. And whoever finished in the top three in the second division gets promoted to the first division.
Not only the consequence of getting demoted to the second round, but there is a loss of money as well because of television revenue.
So how would it look like in America? The best sport to apply it is to baseball. Major League Baseball is the highest level in baseball in the United States. The second highest level or second division is Triple-A Baseball. The Sacramento River Cats were champions of Triple-A, and Columbus Clippers finished second. Those two would be promoted to Major League Baseball. And if you wanted to include a third team, they’ll have to be a third and fourth place game to determine the last spot to be promoted.
In Major League Baseball, the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, and the Baltimore Orioles were the worst three teams. Because of their poor performance and finishing in the bottom three, they would be demoted to Triple-A.
How does sound? Would it be a incentive for a team to perform better rather than be no penalty in the regular playoff system?
There has been conversations of Major League Soccer converting into the promotion-relegation because of FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) rules. The biggest challenge is the American club owners who don’t support that after paying a franchise fee in the millions of dollars. But can FIFA enforce it? USA will be co-hosting the World Cup in 2026 with Mexico and Canada.
If any American sports league adopt the promotion-relegation system it would be soccer. Don’t see it happening in the NFL, who doesn’t really have a second division. NBA is possible, which they have second division called the G-League, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has shared ideas of implemented European type of tournaments in future NBA seasons. Baseball seems ideal, but no word of interest to adapt the European system.
Would you be open to it?
Santiago Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Sports Cast. He covers NFL, NBA, and world soccer. He’s also founder of sleon productions, which he specializes in technology and serves clients with solutions to make their business grow.