Professional sports in North America vs The World using baseball and soccer as examples

Here’s how high-profile, spectator baseball works in the USA:

Everything revolves around Major League Baseball, which is has a permanent, closed-door membership. There are 30 teams and they play exclusively within the league, i.e. the Chicago Cubs do not compete in some outside tournament in the Major League offeason. Each Major League team also runs a multi-tiered system of smaller teams within Minor League Baseball, where younger players are tested. So, how many championships do Major League teams compete for? ONE: the World Series.

The English soccer system represents a very different model that is much more common around the world. There is a multi-tiered system in which teams move up and down. At the top of this system is the Premier League. The worst Premier teams at the end of the season are demoted to the next level down, the Championship, and so on. There are other competitions held on the side. The FA Cup is open to EVERY MEN’S TEAM IN THE COUNTRY, even local amateur squads. The similar League Cup is open to teams within the professional heirarchy. Additionally, the best teams from the Premier League and FA Cup get to play in pan-European competitions, namely the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. The winner of the Champions League moves on to the FIFA Club World Cup. So, in review, how many championships can a Premier League team compete for in a season? At the minimum, three: the Premiership, FA Cup and League Cup and if they were good enough in the previous season, the Champions League OR UEFA Cup, plus the Club World Cup.

In closing, the World model is much more complicated than our own, much more dynamic, and creates many more opportunities for David vs Goliath style confrontations.

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