Superliga’s Second Year Brings Success, Union Tension

Ben Berger, Connecticut Sports Law’s resident soccer expert, provides an overview of the professional soccer tournament Superliga2008.

Superliga2008, the second annual clash between teams in Major League Soccer and the Mexican Primera Division, has entered its semi-final stage.

The tournament pits four top MLS teams versus the last four Mexican semi-annual champions (Mexico’s soccer schedule is actually divided into two seasons with separate champions).  Building off of the success of last year’s tournament, where David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy lost in penalty kicks to Mexican champion Pachuca, Superliga 2008 has drawn consistently good television ratings, surpassing local Major League Baseball numbers.  All matches are televised in the United States on the Telefutura Network and by Televisa and TV Azteca in Mexico; english language broadcasts are carried by Fox Sports Canada. 

Major League Soccer’s players union recently announced that the $1,000,000 championship bonus – in a league where the salary cap does not exceed $3,000,000 – was a bit of mirage.  The union declaration will only serve to heighten tension as the clock ticks down on the operative collective bargaining agreement. 

Nevertheless, the games have been spirited, with two MLS and two Mexican teams advancing to the semi-finals.  In addition to declaring a US/Mexican champion, Superliga provides a unique marketing opportunity for both MLS and its Mexican counterpart.  The Mexican teams get an opportunity to play meaningful games in the U.S. before Mexican ex-pats, while MLS gets its showcase its teams before a Latino fan-base still warming to American Soccer.

Attorney Ben Berger, an avid fan of soccer and MLS, is an attorney at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, in Hartford, Connecticut.  Ben can be reached at or 860-548-2636.


  1. Forza Azzuri says:

    How about the agreement between the Revs and Dynamo before the game that they would split the winnings ($150,000 to the winning team, $100,000 to the losing team). Very interesting. Then Dan Garber (MLS) comes out to say that this type of activity isn’t allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I also believe the players said that the CBA should allow them to negotiate prize money allocated. This could all be very interesting in the end.

  2. Dan Fitzgerald says:

    Perhaps some of the controversy regarding the payout caused, at least in part, the drop in attendance for the tournament. Attendance was down an average of 21%.

    The payout issue seems to have received more mainstream press than the actual games. Probably not what MLS was looking for.

  3. Great post! Lovely!

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  1. […] good during the tournament and the atmospheres have been pretty lively.  For now, take a look at our write-up on last year’s […]

  2. […] Superliga’s Second Year Brings Success, Union Tension […]

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