World Soccer is a UK-based magazine focused on international soccer. In the May 2013 edition, they rate the world's leagues -- and determine who's number one.
Each league is assigned points from different categories to come up with the overall winner. I won't spoil it by giving away all the ratings. I just want to note where MLS fits in the rankings.
MLS comes in 8th in the world for attendance, falling ever so slightly behind France's average attendance per game, while beating out the likes of Argentina, Portugal, and Russia.
MLS comes in 11th in the world for league income, raking in just a fraction of what the likes of England, Germany, Spain, and Italy do. We beat out France for attendance but are dwarfed by their revenues -- t.v. makes all the difference, probably. If you're an MLS fan in the US, I think you're more likely to be attending games in person than any other league fan around the world, I bet. (An MLS fan probably attends more games on average than an NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB fan, too.)
MLS comes in 8th in the world in entertainment -- measured by the average number of goals per game, tying with Portugal, at 2.64 goals per game. Way ahead of historically defensively-minded Italy, with 2.56 goals per game.
MLS ties for third for "Title Winners" -- alongside Japan and Sweden. This is a measure of how many different teams have won the championship of that league in the past 10 years. Our playoff system gives us a significant edge in this category. We've had 7 different MLS champions since 2003. Spain? A measly 3 (but go Barca!).
MLS doesn't even show up on the list of the leagues with the most successful coaches - managers who have won major titles (like Libertadores, Champions League, UEFA Cup, etc.). That probably has something to do with the fact that we don't even compete in many "major title" tournaments.
MLS kicks major butt -- coming in 1st -- for stadiums. The league has built 13 top-tier club stadiums since 2000, according to World Soccer. Runner up is Germany -- well behind with just 9.
Surprisingly, MLS is in the top 10 leagues in the world with star players. It has 21 players who played in the last World Cup tournament. The top country in this ranking has 76. You can guess who that is. A funny thing about this category: North Korea makes a strong showing with 18 World Cup players. I guess that's because they can't leave.
MLS does not show up at all in the "success" category -- leagues with the most teams competing for their continent's big prizes. For us, I guess that's CONCACAF. I don't think we take that competition seriously enough.
Overall, MLS ends up being the 7th best soccer league in the world, beating out the likes of France, Argentina, Holland, and Russia.