Soccer is not a sport, it is “The Sport” because of it’s overwhelming global appeal which still today continues to grow more than ever before. Known as football in the rest of the world, estimates suggest that there are nearly 250,000,000 registered soccer players ages 9 to adult worldwide with a fan-base participation of over 4 billion. There are 700,000,000 tickets sold for pro-games every year and the average Champions League game is watched by over 40,000,000 viewers from around the world.
There are 205 soccer associations in the world today, with more than 300,000 clubs and millions of pro-players.
In the United States and Canada, Major League Soccer (MLS) , the men’s professional soccer league, was founded in 1993 a season before the 1994 FIFA World Cup that was held in the US. The MLS is formed by 27 teams, 24 in the United States and the 3 in Canada with plans to expand in 2024 to 30+ teams. The season is composed of 34 games; with a 14-team playoff called the MLS Cup. The league has become more profitable since its founding, Adidas is pouring in cash to monopolize the teams branding kits and the official soccer ball and sponsoring many goalkeepers through their Goalkeeper Gloves, they’re also gaining visibility and money through TV contracts $250 million deal with Apple TV in 2023).
Millions of athletes around the globe play soccer in local leagues and at local clubs, and their salaries vary dramatically. Euro players are by far the most highly paid, but salary distribution and management varies a lot as well. For instance, player salaries of many Premier League clubs account for about 65% of club revenues while the Major Soccer League (MLS) in the US institutes a player salary cap and most players are making less than a 10th of what players are making in Europe. It works where each MLS team is assigned an annual salary budget and is obligated to manage the player roster salaries according to the team budget. This is considered illegal according to FIFA rules and could soon be changed and the MLS fined up to $200 million by FIFA.