On a side note, and maybe some of the older posters (Borgo) could explain:
How did soccer, as a sport, go from packing 80 000 people in Giants stadium when pelé played there, to being a non-factor?
Do you guys think if they signed a few aging stars the stadium would be packed the same way?
Originally Posted by Batmans A Scientist
If you want to know, look for a documentary called "Once in a Lifetime". It's all about the popularity of the Cosmos in the 70s. It's a really fantastic look at US soccer in the 70s.
The short answer was that Pele was a marketable star in the 70s, and people fell in love with him, but there was no staying power for the league. The Cosmos had all the stars, and the league was incredibly top-heavy, and since soccer isn't a big US sport. The popularity outside of NY was nothing.
After Pele, Best and a few of the other guys left. There was no growth of American players at all. THe big reason the MLS has such a low salary cap is to avoid the mistakes that the NASL made in the 70s. For ebtter or for worse.
I saw this doc a year or so ago - great picture.
The biggest reason behind the success (the phenomenon) of the Cosmos (and its ultimate demise) was the fact that it was essentially a lost-leader division for Warner Communications which just poured money into the team.
The Cosmos were amazing popular but never near being profitable. The league over-expanded and collapsed upon its own weight.
The NASL was essentially a market bubble in American cultural history.