If Major League Soccer does in fact endure a work stoppage in the next two weeks, it joins a long list of previous labor disputes that turned ugly at the expense of each league's teams and fans alike. Here's a look at some stoppages of the other four major North American leagues since 1980.
1994-95 Major League Baseball Strike
Perhaps no stoppage of play in recent memory was bigger than this one, which lasted 232 days and canceled the World Series for the first time since 1904. It revolved directly about the owners’ proposed imposition of a salary cap and the MLB Players Association's adamant opposition. The financial implications of the 1994 midseason walkout were staggering ($580 million lost in ownership revenue and $230 million lost in player salaries), but the league’s image took the brunt of the damage as replacement players christened the 1995 season before the strike ended in April. The strike effectively cost the Montreal Expos their franchise (because of a dramatic loss of revenue due to the strike), and the sport didn’t return to its prime national standing among fans until Mark McGwire’s contagious home run record pursuit in 1998.
2004-05 NHL Lockout
The NHL made professional sports history with its nearly year-long work stoppage by becoming the first major professional sports league in North America to cancel a complete season due to a labor dispute. It took the league and the NHL Players Association 310 days to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, and players bolted to all points on the hockey landscape to continue playing -- most notably Russia, Canada and the American minor leagues. The 2005 NHL Draft had to be weighted differently because there were no results upon which to base a draft order, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the unique-structured draft lottery to land eventual superstar Sidney Crosby.
1982 NFL Strike
The NFL Players Union also went on strike for a month in 1987 and forced the cancellation of one week of the season, but the 1982 strike was a 57-day stoppage that stunted the season from to 16 games to nine. The NFLPA was asking for an increased percentage in the league’s revenue, and the ensuing stoppage led NBC to broadcast Canadian Football League games and CBS to show Division III college football games. Even Monday Night Football went on hiatus and was replaced on ABC with movies.
1998-99 NBA Lockout
An expired collective bargaining agreement cost the NBA 32 games of the regular season and the All-Star Game, but the playoffs went on unaffected. Ticket sales and television ratings remained below pre-lockout numbers after the resolution, but a New York Times poll conducted in October 1998 revealed that most fans’ opinions of the league were unaffected by the stoppage.