Why did the NASL Fail?
It's amazing how long the NASL ran. I think of the league as only lasting for a few years and then going under as they tried to bring in all these stars and ran out of money, but the NASL operated for 16 years. The MLS has not finsihed it's 12th year.
With players like Pele, George Best, Johan Cruyff, and Franz Beckenbauer, all lacing up their boots for games on U.S. soil. Pretty amazing.
The league brought over all of these stars – and spent too much money. Have you seen the movie? The truth is, the league was not overrun by spending too much money on stars, but the lack of a plan once the stars brought the game to a higher level.
Now, the MLS, having allowed for teams to bring in one player excempt from the salary cap, the Beckham rule, the league is beginning to be looked upon in a similar way. Looked at as though maybe they’re going too far with contracts often 20 times that of some of the young players or developmental players. But if it’s good for the league in the long run, then maybe that’s what has to be done.
The NASL went under seven years after Pele finished his 3rd year.
The league folded not because of the importing of stars such as Giorgio Chinaglia, George Best, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, and Eskandarian. It failed because of a mistaken business strategy, and it would not have folded if its owners didn’t become myopic and greedy. The league, in point of fact, was a victim of its own success. The Cosmos and a few other franchises, such as the Cosmos’s arch-rival Tampa Bay Rowdies, did extremely well on the field—and not too bad at the box office—and this lured executives into a false sense that growth would be never ending. (Plus, the profligate spending of the Cosmos, whose management was under the spell of Chinaglia, didn’t help matters.)The NASL expanded too quickly for its talent base, and it rushed too fast to challenge the other major sports in the lucrative television market. In the end, there weren’t enough quality players or enough patience among league executives to grow the NASL slowly but steadily.