MLS and the SUMmer of Soccer cont’d
SUMmer of Soccer Continues
Coming into this past weekend, 21 matches(5 doubleheaders) have been played during the the ‘Summer of Soccer’ which began on June 20. Attendance: 252,914. All games, except the Timbers friendly, were part of entities owned or marketed by Soccer United Marketing(SUM).
The Gold Cup finished the group phase with 6 doubleheaders.
Here’s how this week’s events fared …
|Summer of Soccer Attendances|
| Panama vs. Nicaragua
Mexico vs. Guadeloupe
| U of Phoenix Stadium
|Sun, July 12||Gold Cup||23,876|
|RSL v Club America|| Rio Tinto Stadium
|Sat, July 11||Friendly||17,212|
| USA v Haiti
Honduras v Grenada
| Gillette Stadium
|Sat, July 11||Gold Cup||24,137|
| Costa Rica v Canada
El Salvador v Jamaica
| FIU Stadium
|Fri, July 10||Gold Cup||17,269|
| Guadeloupe v Nicaragua
Mexico v Panama
| Reliant Stadium
|Thu, July 09||Gold Cup||47,713|
| Haiti v Grenada
USA v Honduras
| RFK Stadium
|Wed, July 08||Gold Cup||26,079|
| Jamaica v Costa Rica
El Salvador v Canada
| Crew Stadium
|Tue, July 07||Gold Cup||7,059|
The six Gold Cup doubleheaders are marketed(Ch-ching!) by SUM.
“Soccer United Marketing manages marketing, public relations and operations for the Gold Cup tournament.”
No marketing that I could see directed at the Anglo soccer audience in Phoenix. Checked the AZ Republic’s Sunday morning website and found no reference to the games. At least it wasn’t easily located if a gameday article existed.
Phoenix as a possible World Cup venue in 2018 or 2022? Can’t imagine anyone with FIFA who may have attended the matches in Phoenix thinking anything other than, ‘Whoa, it’s f**king hot!’. It was 113 on game day.
How Does the Gold Cup Impact MLS Soccer
|USMNT Gold Cup|
|MLS Same Day Attendance v Average|
|Group Play||6/6/2007||07 Avg|
|Group Play||7/11/2009||09 Avg|
In my last post on this subject, I had mistakenly listed an ’07 Houston match as occuring on same day as a USMNT Gold Cup. The US match was on June 6, as the above chart indicates.
For those of us that are looking for MLS to eliminate the scheduling conflicts with FIFA and CONCACAF, these numbers do not lend themselves to press the issue. For the most part, attendances on MLS match days that coincided with the USMNT match days were above 2009 seasonal averages. New England’s huge increase comes as a result of their MLS match being added to a Gold Cup doubleheader.
Most fans, of course, would make the case for not having their teams be forced to play with top players off on international duty, thereby diluting the quality of play. I’m certainly in that group. But it’s apparent that money can’t be used to as the wedge to change MLS scheduling policy, because it appears they are not being hurt. That will make it very difficult to convince the MLS to move more games to weekdays, which would be necessary to complete the schedule with breaks for internationals. It is my opinion that the league is still in ‘survival’ mode. Using the widely read Forbes report on MLS after the 2007 season as a baseline, I expect 11 teams will lose money this year. So while the league appears in no danger of folding, it still depends heavily on the ancillary revenues generated by SUM’s non MLS business activities and more recently, expansion fees. By the time expansion ends, will most teams be in the black? Don’t know, but until then the league(and SUM) will continue to play it conservatively. Only when it’s demonstrated that teams can make it on their own will the reins be loosened.
And that’s the point of this series of posts. In this post, I displayed a table that demonstrates that clever marketing could produce financially viable weekday events paired with MLS matches, thus overcoming the fears that MLS teams would be significantly hurt by shifting more games to weekdays. That would overcome a major stumbling block in alleviating MLS/International match conflicts.
How SUM of the Money is Spent
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park hosted the 2009 SUM U-17 Cup.
Congestion for some
|SuperLiga after Group Phase|
|2 Doubleheaders in 2009 meant
2 fewer separate game dates
|Chicago beat Revs on July 15|
|Final on Wed, Aug 5|
This coming Sunday will complete a 29 day run in which the Revs will have played 8 matches(MLS, USOC, SuperLiga).
For Chicago, after they play this weekend, they’ll have played 3 matches in 8 days. Not too bad, but it comes a week removed from having played 5 games in 15 days from June 20 to July 4. And like most teams, key players Segares, Soumare and Pause were on international duty and missed games at various times.
As I’ve mentioned before, expect changes to the SuperLiga after this year. If the tournament survives in 2010, a World Cup year, and remains essentially unchanged, it will be a sure indication that live attendance and wide distribution of English language coverage in the US are irrelevant. That will demonstrate where the real money comes from; sponsorships and Spanish language TV. SuperLiga in August or September next year?
|Jul 21||Sep 2|
|DCU, Houston, Seattle|
Seattle hosts Houston at the Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Wash. Rochester will travel to Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. to meet DC United. Rochester receives $10,000 for being the last team standing from USL-1.
DCU and Houston play on July 18th, and all three play on July 25th. Houston will play 3 meaningful matches in 8 days during the Jul 18-25 time period. DCU has a CONCACAF Champions league match on July 28. Seattle will play Chelsea FC on the 18th.
Kansas City’s exit from the tourney culminated a run of 6 matches in 17 days. KC then played a league match on July 11, making it 7 matches in 21 days.
|CONCACAF Champions League|
|Jul 28 – Jul 30||Aug 4 – Aug 6|
|Prelim First Leg||Prelim Second Leg|
|DCU, RBNY, TFC|
DCU and TFC play MLS league games on Jul 25 and August 2. That means they will each play 4 times during the period Jul 25-Aug 6(13 days). RBNY play an MLS game on Jul 25, but are off the week of August 2.
All told, between July 18 and August 8, DCU has 4 MLS matches, 2 CONCACAF Champions league matches and 1 US Open Cup match. 7 matches in 22 days.
Well, it’s still not pretty, but unlike last year, teams won’t be coming out of SuperLiga to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League.