Not like it's a huge surprise to anybody, but MLS has come out and acknowledged this morning to the Associated Press that they are neither exploring, nor are they interesting in pursuing a a promotion/relegation system for the league now or in the future. Here is the exact quote from MLS president Mark Abbott:
"[P]romotion-relegation is not something we're looking at. I don't see that in the future, certainly in any reasonable future for us.''
Honestly, this really shouldn't be a shock to anybody. MLS is a closed system currently making the whole idea of promotion and relegation impossible. The mere thought of dropping below to the NASL is an unthinkable move right now for MLS owners, especially ones that recently put up between $30-$40 million to get into the league.
The only way such a system could work is if MLS went out and created or bought it's own second division soccer league and dubbed it MLS 2. Such a system would still be closed, television revenues would still be split and after a few years without a pro/rel system to build up the second division's numbers and popularity they could gradually introduce it. It's the only viable way currently.
Given that MLS is still actively pursuing teams to add to its first division (Montreal Impact in 2012) the idea they're even conceiving creating or buying an "MLS 2" D2 league is outlandish at best. My best, most generous estimate puts the implementation of pro/rel at 2030... and that's if everything from this point on goes absolutely perfect for the league in terms of financial viability, popularity, and television ratings.
[via Sports Illustrated]