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SportsWatch: MLS says no to promotion-and-relegation regime — and $4 billion, to boot

The top U.S. professional soccer league MLS has reportedly rebuffed an overture from an international media-rights company that would have netted the league $4 billion over its 10-year term but would have forced the MLS to adopt the practice of relegating to a lower-tier league its bottom finishers each season in order to promote the top performers from that lesser division.

Relegation and promotion, common in Europe and elsewhere, is a particularly tough sale for the owners of Major League Soccer franchises at a time when league expansion is being evaluated, Sports Business Daily reported. The league reportedly is seeking $150 million for each new club — a sum prospective owners would be unwilling to ante up if they were to then face, after a single season of play, the risk of relegation to the lower-tier North American Soccer League or United Soccer League, depending on how the relegation system was structured.

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