Last week's announcement that Mark Cuban had become a principal owner of a new North American league for a sport called "futsal" heightened buzz about the venture.
As in, "Maybe this league is going to be a bigger deal than many imagined."
Indeed, a source told The Dallas Morning News on Monday that the 16-team Professional Futsal League franchisees include "multiple" NBA owners and some of the world's most prestigious soccer clubs.
In other words, it will be a marriage of soccer and basketball, which is how many describe Futsal, which is five-per-side indoor soccer, the only one sanctioned by FIFA.
The NBA owners include Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the Buss family, which owns the Los Angeles Lakers.
long with Dallas, cities that will have franchises include New York, Los Angeles, Seattle/Vancouver, Boston, Chicago and Miami.
-- New York will have two teams. One will be owned outright by FC Barcelona; the other by Prokhorov, although the Nets owner probably will form a partnership with a world-power soccer organization.
-- FC Barcelona has two teams in Spanish futsal leagues, an indicator of how futsal is regarded as an effective training ground for Premier League players.
-- The PFL season will consist of about 50 games. The season's start and end dates probably will be largely determined by TV networks.
-- FC Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich have or are in the process of establishing offices in New York, a sign of their eagerness to tap into the North American market and strengthen.
-- Every PFL team will be either owned by or in partnership with a powerhouse soccer club outside of North America.
Somehow, not sure USSF...
...heck, never mind. USSF won't try to interfere.
But... might be too much too soon.
The involvement of clubs like Barcelona were probably at odds with what Cuban and the NBA owners envisioned. The international clubs are probably "you breed better American footballers via futsal, we'll buy the good ones and compensate you." Cuban wanted butts in seats; I'm virtually certain he thought he'd be keeping the good ones.
Futsal has its value... less players on a court, more touches, the game has helped more than one pro succeed outdoor worldwide. It's gained a bit- but only a bit- of a worldwide spectator following. It's not nearly going to generate the butts someone like Cuban wanted to see. Meanwhile, you have cheap-to-implement futsal courts beginning to replace tennis courts in a lot of parks here in Portland and, increasingly, elsewhere. That still may not generate a following, and the beneficiaries won't necessarily be futsal. So be it.