Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MLS/SUM Missing the Boat...Again?

Garber & Co. have made it a huge point to say that they are in favor of getting more exposure for MLS. Getting more people exposed to MLS means getting clubs out in the open more. One way to do this is to have members of the clubs go out and sign autographs at local sports stores; another way is to have good media advertising, like ads in newspapers and on TV/radio. Another way is to get more TV exposure for the league.

Today, four MLS clubs are involved in matches against clubs from other countries.

New England Revolution vs Celtic FC (Foxborough Stadium)
L.A. Galaxy vs Crystal Palace (Richmond VA)
FC Dallas vs Tigres (Pizza Hut Park, Dallas Texas)
Real Salt Lake vs Club Morelia (Rice-Eccles Stadium)

Last week, these matches took place.

DC United vs. Celtic FC (RFK Stadium)
LA Galaxy vs. Necaxa (Home Depot Center)

None of these matches were on/are on national TV. I cannot speak for the other matches, but the DC United match was only shown on Comcast Sportsnet, which is a local cable channel. Comcast will be showing the Orioles baseball game tonight, so the LA Galaxy match won't even be shown in this region.

Why hasn't MLS/SUM been able to secure national television rights for any of these matches? DC United vs. Chelsea was shown on ESPN2 last season, but the Chicago Fire vs. AC Milan was left off the schedule. I do see that the Columbus Crew vs. Everton match is being broadcast on ESPN2 on July 26th, so it is possible to get schedule.

SUM has the ability to work out deals with either ESPN or FSC. If ESPN does not want to broadcast these matches, I am sure that FSC would be interested, what are they going to show, Chelsea vs. Man City from last year, again?

If Garber & Co. really want to get American sports fans interested in MLS, then they need to start getting more of the international friendlies shown on national broadcast TV. Showing the DC United vs. Celtic match from last week live on ESPN2 would have been a huge thing for MLS. Yes Celtic was in pre-season form, but all the average sports fan in the states would have seen was an American club bitch-slapping a European club, and a good one at that. It is results like that, a 4-0 win over a European club that will get more American fans into MLS stadiums.

I hope that the Real Madrid vs. Real Salt Lake match is on ESPN2 or the Barcelona vs. Red Bull New York match. Are the World Cheerleading Championships that much more important and a money maker? The ratings for that must shoot through the roof! I used to play baseball and I know it is America's Sport, but does the Little League World Series need to be in prime-time on ESPN? Hell, show the match on ESPN Classic, most people who get regular cable still get that channel.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the more high profile European clubs and if the MLS clubs even show up and look respectable, then MLS might get more fans. I am still trying to figure out if the other two Barca matches are even on TV in the US. Why wouldn't SUM negotiate TV rights for these matches?


Blogger kebmodee said...

great pts. seems inane what mls have not done to promote these games!

3:00 PM  

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