The Major Soccer League owners voted yesterday to reduce the current 52-game schedule to 40 games for the 1991-92 season, a move that will cut operating costs and allow the teams to play most of their games on weekends, when attendance is higher.
Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale, chairman of the MSL scheduling committee, recommended the reduced schedule, and it was approved by the owners during the second day of league meetings in Kansas City, Mo.
The 1991-92 regular season will begin at the end of October and run through the end of March. The 1990-91 schedule began Oct. 20 and will end April 6.
"Our schedule [regular season] will begin when the World Series ends and end when the next baseball season opens," said Hale. "It makes sense for us to do it that way.
Hale said the 40-game schedule will cut $700,000 from the Blast's operating costs because there will be reduced air and ground travel costs, less money spent on lodging, fewer costs for game production, reduced arena expenses and less advertising money needed.
The Blast owner said Baltimore and most teams would play only two or three weekday games.
The players' salaries, he said, will not be affected by the shorter schedule.
"The individual players will not be hurt. There is no controversy here. It is an uplifting, positive move for the league. We're going back to the kind of schedule they had in the early 1980s when the league was at its peak [teams played 40 games in 1980-81 and 44 games in 1981-82]," Hale said.