Major League Soccer is in discussions to modify its playoff structure to have as many as 30 games, with a World Cup style format, a league source confirmed to ESPN.
The source cautioned that nothing has been approved, but the playoff format will be a topic for discussion at the league’s next Board of Governors meeting on Nov. 15.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (U.S.)
The Athletic was the first to report the news.
MLS’ current playoff format involves seven qualifiers from each conference with a single elimination format that amounts to a total of 13 games.
The Athletic reported that one possible new format would see eight qualifiers from each conference put into groups of four with the top two teams from each group advancing to a knockout stage.
A simpler home-and-away format, which would amount to 25 games, is also being considered.
Discussions on a new format come in the wake of a the new 10-year, $2.5 billion broadcast rights deal with Apple TV that was signed in June, with the idea of expanding the league’s playoff inventory.
The feeling is that 13 games is far too short a time to develop storylines for the postseason.
MLS has modified its playoff format numerous times over the years. The current format was adopted in 2019 and was designed to reward higher seeds who excelled during the regular season.
The previous format had teams playing a home-and-away format until the MLS Cup final.