Born out of the 1994 World Cup, Major League Soccer took nearly two decades to explode onto the world scene.

The 2007 arrival of David Beckham in sunny California was the kick-start it needed. Since then, a host of global superstars have headed Stateside to see out their playing careers, and a number of new franchises have been born – the latest being Beckham’s Inter Miami.

What the MLS continue to battle though is the market dominance of predominantly North American sports and competitions, such as the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB). It’s a battle for fans, battle for TV revenue and a battle to remain relevant in a sports mad nation.

Logan Smith, Senior Director of Strategy and Analytics at New York Red Bulls – one of MLS’ most recognisable franchises – knows this only too well. During a talk with UCFB students as part of the New York Virtual Summit, Logan explained the pros and cons of the league’s relatively young age and its battle for coverage versus other North American sports leagues.

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New York Red Bulls' Logan Smith spoke about the rapid growth of the MLS at our New York Virtual Summit.

He explained: “Being young we’re trying to fight an uphill battle against other sports organisations that have a historical relationship with fans. People are born into being a Yankees fan, whereas our league is only 25 years old and only just now the younger generations are coming through households that have had MLS as part of their sporting experience.”

Logan added: “Sometimes I say I‘m looking forward to 25 years from now when we have generational impact of sports fandom, but being younger gives us the opportunity to be a little bit more innovative and try new things because fans aren’t so traditional about the experience that they expect.”

It’s this traditionalism, he says, that is holding back leagues like MLB.

He added: “For us one of the big conversations we’re having now is our broadcast and what does that look like, and with sports betting just legalised in the US how can we infuse that into the broadcast channels. Those are some conversations that we’re willing to have and to explore, whereas in Major League Baseball, which is the most traditional of American sports, they’re struggling with how they can evolve the game. They know they need to for the modern sports fan, but the traditionalists – who are their core fan base – aren’t on board with the changes they’re looking to make.”