MLS returning with World Cup-style tournament at Disney World ūüö®

The¬†NBA¬†won’t be the only major North America pro league returning to action at Disney World this summer. Yesterday,¬†Major League Soccer¬†officially announced its own plans to play at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex¬†beginning in early July.
Assuming MLB doesn’t figure out its nonsense real quick, MLS will be the first of the five major North American major pro sports leagues to return to action during the pandemic.
Here’s how it will work:
  • MLS will return July 8 with a World Cup-style tournament that will span the course of 35 days, with the the final being played on August 11
  • All 26 teams will be back in action and the games will count towards the regular season standings
  • The format includes six groups, a round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final (a total of 54 matches and 26 matchdays, including 16 straight days of games in the group stage)
  • The tournament draw will take place today at 3:30 p.m
  • The winner of the tournament earns a spot at the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League and additional bonuses as part of a $1.1 million prize pool
MLS still plans on holding regular season games and MLS Playoffs in traditional market cities at the conclusion of this tournament, but the Disney experience allows the league’s 26 teams to get back to playing ASAP in a controlled environment.
This could be an incredible opportunity for MLS to take advantage of a limited sports calendar and appeal to peripheral/new fans, even just ones who are looking for something to gamble on. With games being held in the morning and at night for over two weeks straight, the league should get plenty of attention and exposure.
This is essentially the opportunity that we thought MLB might get before the owners and players decided to instead fight over money. I’m very, very excited for this tournament not only because it means more sports in our lives (and morning sports at that!) but also because I’m intrigued to see if it helps MLS pick up steam with regards to popularity in the States.
So, who’s boarding the MLS train with me?

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