MLS Debut On NBC Sports Scores Disappointing 82K Viewers

NBC Sports kicked off its first season of MLS TV coverage Sunday with only 82,000 viewers and a 0.07 rating. Embarrassingly, there were nine outdoors (fishing and hunting) TV shows that day that had larger viewing audiences, according to TV Sports Ratings.

It was a case of good news and bad news for NBC Sports. Despite the bad news of poor TV ratings, the good news is that the production quality of the broadcast was quite good. Hopefully, the only way is up for the TV ratings.

NBC Sports leveraged the expertise of two Englishmen to boost its coverage of the league on Sunday. Lead commentator Arlo White and former Wimbledon and Jamaica soccer player Robbie Earle both shined during the game, sharing their knowledge and professionalism. Kyle Martino also was a breath of fresh air, and seemed much more natural and confident in front of the camera compared to his deer-in-the-headlights look that he often had on FOX Soccer.

From the excellent opening graphics and production, the entire broadcast by NBC Sports was smooth and professional. White and Martino exhibited an excellent chemistry in front of the camera, while Russ Thaler did his best to keep things together as presenter for the Dallas against New York game.

Having the team at the stadium definitely adds to the excitement and anticipation in the build-up to kick-off, as well as Robbie Earle’s excitement in his voice. The use of Arlo White, especially, adds credibility to the coverage of MLS. Clear spoken, a good communicator and with an excellent voice, White makes the game more watchable. Trying to copy the success that ESPN achieved from World Cup 2010 with an English-speaking commentator instead of FOX’s approach of using a US-born commentator like they did on their MLS coverage, the formula worked. However, the ratings must improve dramatically.

At half time, Robbie Earle added some excellent analysis to the first-half highlights. Earle was especially helpful when he pointed out how New York failed to get into open positions on the attack. Earle’s analysis was enhanced by the good graphics on-screen to illustrate his points.

Overall, the coverage of the game was well done. The camera angles were good, and there were very few flubs for an inaugural broadcast.

But what about the small TV audience? From personal experience, this was the first time I’ve watched NBC Sports in months, so not everyone knows where the channel is on their TV. Plus there was some confusion among fans. Some who thought that the game itself was going to be shown on NBC, not NBC Sports. Overall, it’s going to take some time for people to get used to watching games on the NBC Sports network.

But despite that, the viewing audience figure from the opening game is still embarrassingly low, especially when the game was shown live on a Sunday afternoon (compare that to Premier League TV audiences for a 4:45am PT/7:45am ET Saturday game, and you’ll see what a mountain that NBC Sports, and MLS, has to climb).

In comparison, MLS had an average viewing audience last season of 291,000 on ESPN/ESPN2 and 70,000 on FOX Soccer. An audience of 82,000 on NBC Sports is better than the average on FOX, but the expectations are that NBC Sports will do better than what FOX Soccer achieved.

UPDATE: Many fans of MLS, as well as the media, are spinning the news that the 82,000 viewing audience was 21% greater than FOX Soccer’s average last year for MLS. While this may be true, what the media and some MLS fans are not taking into account is that NBC Sports has more than 75 million subscribers on cable and satellite, while FOX Soccer is in 38.8 million homes. The bottom line is that NBC Sports and MLS needs to attract far more viewers than 82,000 for MLS games.

91 thoughts on “MLS Debut On NBC Sports Scores Disappointing 82K Viewers”

    1. Robert: See the #’s, last time I checked 82,000 > 70,000. But hey, don’t let actual factual numbers destroy your argument.

      1. They don’t destroy his argument at all. 82K is an opening day game.
        70K is FOX’s average. Lots of room for interpretation, but no
        arguments destroyed. You should probably take a break, at this

        1. Ummm, not to state the obvious, but NBCSN has been in exisitance
          for 2.5 months and just outdrew FSC who had been doing MLS games
          for a
          while………………………………………………… Are
          you predicting that number will go down ?…………………ps.
          Robert you haven’t been correct in a prediction in 3 years, wanna
          try this one ? (BTW, the Sounders will break the attendance record
          for the fourth straight year this year. I think you predicted the

          1. Why is your franchise still covering off seats Charles? If there is
            demand to fill the stadium why aren’t they letting sounders fill it
            up? What other BS excuse do you have? Now you are blaming shitty
            numbers on NBC being in existence for 2.5 months? Did versus change
            go to a different channel? And why are NHL’s numbers a lot more
            than MLS since NBC sports has been on 2.5 months. Charles, MLS is
            17 years old time to freshen up your excuses and start blaming the
            poor quality of play

          2. Horrible comment. I’m sorry guy. I know nothing I said addressed
            the person to whom I was responding. I also know I’m not good at
            commenting. I’d say “I’ll get better,” but who am I kidding? I’m
            horrible at this.

        2. It’s an opening day game, that’s true. On the other hand, there was some confusion as to where to find it.

          Do I think that 82k is disappointing? Of course. I just think it might take some time, especially on a weekend when you have conference tourneys wrapping up for the NCAAs, and people beginning to think about their brackets.

          1. Earl, These are tired excuses that might of been valid in 1998 but
            MLS has had 17 years to build a solid fan base and its failing.

  1. that 82k is still more than 20% on the corresponding game last
    season, so that’s pretty encouraging. I think if you were expecting
    MLS broadcasts to suddenly get a million people watching them, just
    because it’s on NBC Sports, you’re going to be waiting a long time.
    They have a 4 year contract, and the hiring of Earle and White –
    plus actual productions values!! – shows you they’re in it for long

    1. Agreed. FSC was an issue. Clearly not THE issue. Actually, FSC may
      not have been an issue at all. Just an excuse. A lot of ppl
      complained, but they’re the people that watch no matter what. The
      big question is whether other ppl even care. So far, not yet.

  2. The real test will be how the first game on the main NBC channel
    will rate. These are atrocious numbers but it’s going against
    college basketball all day so it never had a chance.

  3. I was one of those people who thought the match was on NBC, not
    NBCS. Granted, they would have been going against NCAA basketball
    and NASCAR on the other networks. But if you’re going to launch
    coverage, you want to have the widest possible audience, right?
    Another thing to consider (which has been mentioned ad nauseum) is
    that NBCS isn’t on the basic tier of many cable/satellite systems.
    I’ve had Dish Network at home for years, and Versus/NBCS hasn’t
    been bumped to the basic tier yet. (But we just got Universal
    Sports. Go figure.) Good to know that their coverage was top-notch.
    Too bad the first NBC game isn’t until September.

  4. If they want to get more people watching, maybe don’t have the
    first NBC game be in Dallas. No body cares about FC Frisco or their
    terrible stadium and horrible crowd

      1. Agree. I don’t think people would have cared where the game was.
        The crowd was fine. Everything about the product was good. The
        issue was getting people to it.

    1. 20,900 people at the game, Very good team, and even though its in
      frisco, they still have a nice stadium. Some research before making
      a comment that is completely wrong would be wise. NBC was trying to
      build up the buzz around Shea and Agudelo.

  5. Its a tricky one – NBC sports is new (well, rebranded) and finding
    its feet. I dont know how well NBC itself has done with promotiing
    its sports channel. I watch cycling on NBC Sports so thats the only
    reason I knew it was on there. Hard to judge MLS on a channel
    finding its feet.

  6. This isn’t shocking at all. NBCS has drawn poor ratings across the
    board. The ratings have dropped since they changed the name from
    Versus. I’m not sure if it’s because people have an attachment to
    the name Versus but it’s certainly concerning. The channel itself
    has quality programming, they just need to push it more, especially
    on their NBC Affiliates.

  7. NBC sports is on a higer package on my Direct tv, i have to pay an
    extra 30 bucks a month to get that, i have FSC which i just pay 12
    bucks a month. and i know a lot of people that dont know about NBC
    sports network, if there not hockey fans nobody is going to tune to
    that channel, an also that chaneel is hard to find compared to espn
    which is easy, but with that said NBC sports network does a much
    better job compared to FSC, lets just hope people watch it.

  8. It’s a first broadcast and realistically, NYRB vs FCD, is not the
    best team matchup that MLS should have given to NBCSN for a first
    game. Unless you are a hardcore MLS fan, NYRB vs FCD is not an
    appealling match or teams to watch. I am in a non MLS market, South
    Florida, and I hope I was “counted” in as well. It’s going to be a
    long and hard road to get our football fans to get to watch MLS
    fans…..It would not hurt to get a big profile player(s) signing
    to get the tv ratings moving too. In the end, MLS
    /NBC/NBCS/ESPN/Univision has a diehard fan in me. Viva MLS!

  9. Not suprised again I said this yesterday, the game should have been
    on the NBC National Where u can still promote the old VS channel.
    Also Its not NBCs sole responsibility to promote the league, that’s
    MLS Primary responsibility. Overall u heard or seen no consistent
    national news mentioning the upcoming season, NBC IMO did light
    previews /or introductionaries for the upcoming season. Beside
    maybe some local markets which I don’t think I need to remind some
    folks overall MLS continues to fall on dumb ears, They had plenty
    of oppourtunities, Super Bowl Commercials could have been, Could
    have promoted the league better, I mean MlS should have!

  10. I clicked on this article, saying let me guess it is Gaffer…..big
    surprise I was right. Like an
    infatuation…………………….One, MLS is here to stay. I was
    there for the old NASL which folded in year 17. This is NOTHING
    like that. Two, if the first part is true and it is. Why do I care
    ? NBC did a GREAT job of broadcasting this game and it was a very
    exciting game. Sure they could have put a better team than NY for
    the first game, but there are plenty of games this
    year………………..There are always going to be guys like
    Robert who are too dumb to realize MLS is worth watching….why do
    I care ?

    1. Charles, if you read the story, you’ll see that I pointed out what an excellent job NBC Sports did in their coverage. No one is saying that MLS is not here to stay.


      The Gaffer

      1. Doesn’t matter. I’m Charles. I’m not really into staying on point
        or coherency. I’m Charles. It’s to imagine me as Brian Fellows.

    2. Charles, MLS has been around for 17 years and we are still hearing
      the same tired excuses from guys like you who can’t admit the
      league is failing at providing quality soccer. For years it was FSC
      and ESPN 2’s fault for not promoting the game enough but when the
      chips were down MLS failed [see MLS Cup 2010 & 2011 Tv
      Ratings]. So now that MLS is on NBC Sports and only got 82k viewers
      on OPENING DAY WEEKEND you still are spewing out the same tired
      excuses. Stop blaming guys like me for pointing out that MLS execs
      are more concerned about sponsorship dollars than the actual game

        1. Than why keep responding to me Charles because you know I’m right.
          It’s time to get rid of Garber and Co. and get someone in the USSF
          that cares about the soccer first.

          1. Just answer the question. Why should I care that you (and obviously
            many others) don’t watch ?…………………………… My
            Sounders have already beating the top team in Mexico, so the
            quality is there. NBC is giving great coverage now ( unlike FSC )
            and my season tickets are very
            affordable…………………………I don’t need to convince
            guys like you……………..the only reason that trolls like you
            post is to fulfill some need to feel better about yourself. You
            attack others and tell them to quit making excuses. Try to make
            them feel bad because their league isn’t popular. Or make up that
            their league isn’t good and make them feel bad about that. Junior
            high revisited, it isn’t working, you still don’t feel better about
            yourself. Graduation from JH isn’t going to happen, just drop out.

          2. Robert- I can’t tell if you like MLS or not. I have no idea who you
            are, but based on your comments, it just sounds like you’re here to
            belittle the league and/or league management. Garber came in
            knowing nothing about the game or the league, but he has a plan.
            Granted, it is a slow growth plan, because of the failure of the
            previous U.S. soccer leagues. I’m not sure if I trust the USSF has
            anyone else, anyway. The league is doing just fine, if you like the
            league, be supportive. If not, then go to a different website,
            because you’re just going to irritate people here.

          3. Hutton your quote pretty much sums up the complacency with MLS
            fans. “Garber came in knowing nothing about the game or the league,
            but he has a plan” – Hutton.

        2. If you comment and respond to say you don’t care, you’re lying,
          stupid, or illiterate. I’m only two of these things. Guess which

      1. Robert- And that’s all you got from my entire comment. Garber came
        in knowing nothing (past-1999), and is implementing that plan
        (present), and has further plans to implement in the coming years
        (future). I just don’t understand why you’re so negative.

    3. I hope MLS folded today! Why? Because I think we deserve the real
      version and not the “diet” one. MLS and its “single entity” concept
      is a total misrepresentation of the inclusive global soccer
      philosophy. Which nations are eligible to qualify for the World
      Cup?……..ALL………What decides which
      qualifies……RESULTS…………………Which nation can qualify
      for Continental Nation Cups…..ALL……..What decides which
      qualifies….RESULTS…………..which clubs are eligible to play
      in continental club Champion leagues……….ALL…………what
      decides which club makes it to the continental club
      competitions……RESULTS…….Which clubs are eligible to play
      division 1 soccer on leagues all around the
      world……ALL……………What decides which club makes it to
      first division
      know, even though we are in no position to be trend setters, we are
      priviledged to count with a few marketing wizards(no relationship
      to old KC name) that have realized that, to ridiculously copy the
      NFL is the future for soccer in america. The fact that the
      Commisioner and a few franchise owners have NFL links is just a
      coincidence. A soccer system will inevitably fail in the US, even
      though it has never fail ANYWHERE, not even ONCE………… Our
      best choice is to support our 10 team play-offs after regular
      unbalanced seasson, with 1 leg / 2 legs series, with all players
      signed with the same “entity” and dress by the same kit maker!
      ……otherwise it will not be “sustaineble” ! …..remember the
      old NASL!…………………..If NOT ALL cities/clubs/ are
      eligible; if it is NOT RESULTS what decides which club gets to our
      first division, this is not my league, it does not represents the
      game that one day I fall in love with.

      1. sorry i forgot to separate the sarcastic part with my realview, but
        i guess it is not too hard to distinguish them.

        1. LOL. Except that soccer leagues all over Europe have failed. They
          have failed to put together a league that can’t be bought. That
          defines failure for most.

          1. if there would be yellow and red cards for soccer ignorance, you
            would be suspended for the whole year Charles! 1) pro/rel is not in
            europe only, it is in almost 100% of soccer leagues on PLANET
            EARTH!……if you look into our own
            you know that Mexico, Guatemala , Honduras, El Salvador, Panama,
            Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Martinique, St Kitts and Nevis, T
            & T, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada,
            Aruba, Bermuda, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and
            the Grenadines, Suriname, all of them practice promotin and
            relegation! …………….Add ALL of the 10 south american
            countries; also ALL of the african countries; and finally, with the
            exeption of Australia and Corea, ALL the other asian
            a promotion and relegation video from Fiji on the Pacific(home and
            away. liker we soccer fans like)…………….2) according to the
            number of leagues that practice pro/rel world wide, does it looks
            like it is in any crisis??????

          2. if you ever get your head out of Garber and Co’s behind(the cartel
            as FIFPRO very apropiatelly called them), you may realise that
            there is a great game out there, and that its beauty have A LOT to
            do with the principles of INCLUSION and MERITHOCRACY that have
            allowed ALL nations rich and poor, big and small to be able to
            compete…………………..they are the EXACT same principles
            that allows our USMNT to qualify for the WC, and it is the SAME
            principles, the ones allowing your neon addidas dressed franchise
            to play Santos Laguna tonight on our Continental Club
            Competition…………………………..So, if you ever decide
            to get your head out and enjoy the gratest game on planet
            earth………..wear sun glases, the light might blind you.

  11. I have DirecTV, but I’m not even sure if I get this channel. I was
    one of those who didn’t realize it was on. As a Sounders fan, we
    were off this weekend, so I wasn’t paying close attention, but
    would have definitely tuned in to hear Arlo on his debut. And I
    think Dallas vs New York should be a good matchup for viewers
    interested in MLS. I believe as word of the channel and quality
    spreads, more people will gravitate to it. We just have to help
    spread the word!

  12. I missed the game and really not even sure if I have that channel.
    I miss hearing Arlo. It will be interesting to hear him call a non
    sounder game.

  13. After watching that terrible game, it’s probably good that less
    than a football stadium worth of fans saw it. The RB’s blow, and
    I’m a season tix holder! Backie will ruin the league!!!

  14. If you want an apple-to-apples comparison, you need to talk about
    coverage area ratings. These are significantly more important to
    MVPDs and the networks, since over 60% of cable network revenues
    come from subscriber licensing. If you look at any cable network
    ranker, it will be listed in coverage area ratings. The 82,000
    viewers for MLS represent a 0.11 coverage area rating. NBC Sports
    Network is averaging 68,000 viewers since rebranding in January
    (0.09). The number for the MLS premiere is disappointing. The
    68,000 that watched MLS on FSC in 2011 represented a 0.17 coverage
    area rating. That was/is a significant increase over FSC’s Total
    Day and Prime Time averages (0.03 for both). The March UEs: NBC
    Sports Network is in 76,280,000 households Fox Soccer Channel is in
    40,921,000 households During 2011, FSC averaged 39,500,000

  15. My 2 cents. I wonder what effect the early start to the season has
    had (and I’m not saying the early start is bad, it will just take a
    year or two to adjust)? I know the Rapids opener totally snuck up
    on me. Also, no doubt the channel change had an effect. There was
    no reminder when watching the Euro and CONCACAF champions leagues
    or the Fox Soccer channel highlights shows. I get Versus, I
    sometimes watch the Tour De France, but it took me like 3 years to
    start remembering to check it during the hockey play-offs, and I
    still forget. My point is Versus is not on the radar. Final point-
    yes the play-off system and parity has an effect. There really
    isn’t any must-see-TV or pressure games for the first few weeks.
    Anyway, I’m glad the season has started.

  16. It’s beyond horrible. No excuses. I actually think NBC should have
    opened their MLS coverage by showing the first game on NBC and not
    on Versus/NBCSN. Of course NBC was showing golf, which I’m sure got
    huge ratings.

  17. Wow…. 82,000 really stinks.. That’s too bad. I think they should
    have shown the Timbers match instead to showcase all the great
    supporters in Timber Army. In comparison The Whitecaps vs Montreal
    match this past weekend attracted 541,000 viewers across Canada on
    TSN and the French RDS combined!

    1. I would hold my breath for Gaffer to write about that, except I
      want to live to see the Sounder crush Santos tonight.

      1. If that was a viewing audience on US television, I would write about it. I’ll leave the Canadian TV coverage to the Canadian sports media blogs.


        The Gaffer

      2. Charles, SANTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS LAGUNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See what
        happens when you send a salary handicapped team into an
        international competition?! MLS should demand that CCL is played on
        plastic grass and rain in order for MLS franchises to have a
        chance. SANTOOOOOOS LAGUNA!

        1. At least Charles doesn’t go around whining like a little cry baby
          like you Robert and your Teddy bear Roger. Charles is a real soccer
          fan who supports his club. You to are fake fans because you just
          wanna be on a band wagon. I rather see people support their local
          markets in MLS, NASL, and USL-Pro. Then Fake soccer fans not
          supporting their local clubs and pretend to be soccer fans. Don’t
          be the Problem, Be the Solution.

          1. So, supporting the implementation of pro/rel, a system that would
            open the doors for ALL of our clubs to earn their status on the
            field and be linked to the international club structure, is being a
            fake fan?…………..and supporting single entity, which is in
            total contradiction to the principles that our game practice in ALL
            it’s competitions; make our franchises have no chance to succeed at
            the international level; and excludes the rest of our clubs (USL,
            NASL, USASA ) to be linked to the international pyramidal soccer
            club structure, That is being a real fan?…………..great logic!

          2. Danwolf, I would support my local team if my local team wasn’t
            forced to pay an expansion fee just to play in MLS. QUALITY
            —>Results—>Division 1 and not $$$$—->stadium where
            you can order hot dogs from your seat—->Division 1

      3. Let’s face it: As my last challenge to the Gaffer shows, I’m a bit
        of a DB. Gaffer: You really don’t need to respond to me anymore.
        Sure, I’ll keep commenting, but once my meds kick in, I’ll wish I

  18. It’s a work in progress. Nobody is trying to say that the numbers are good. They were middling at best. Honestly, I think the NHL is a perfect dichotomy for the league, because to me, there are a lot of MLS fans who aren’t going to tune in to watch a regular game unless it’s a major matchup – especially on a Sunday afternoon against a myriad of other events.

    That’s one primary point of contention I’ve had with the scheduling. MLS & their broadcast partners seems hell-bent not NOT putting coverage at 8 PM on a Sunday night, when a lot of fans might just sit down to watch the game. They either drop them at 3 in the afternoon against college basketball, golf, NASCAR, and other events…or at 10 PM when a lot of the East Coast is readying for bed.

    1. Earl, What the league has always struggled with is consistency. The
      playoffs have changed almost every single year and qualification
      has changed almost every single year. What MLS needs to focus on is
      consistency and it needs to start with TV Scheduling. Make it
      Sunday Night Soccer shown the same time every single Sunday.
      Bouncing around game day and times will lose the average fan but if
      you know that on Sunday Night at 8pm EST there is going to be a
      soccer game it will be a plus for the league. If MLS can learn
      anything from NFL its TV scheduling

  19. I thought most of the games weren’t as entertaining as i had hoped.
    I think the stereotype of American soccer is as such so i see the
    lame ratings as typical. It will pick up as the game picks up. I’m
    really going to follow MLS heavily this season, and i subscribed to
    MLS live, so NBC would get my ratings anyways.

  20. Number one problem with MLS coverage on television is that the
    scheduling is all over the place. The only folks who can find when
    a game is on are the diehard MLS fans. MLS needs a consistent
    Friday Night timeslot and a consistent Saturday timeslot. Plus
    promotion of course. I’m still wondering why NBC didn’t kick their
    coverage off with a Saturday night broadcast on NBC which could
    then lead viewers to NBC Sports for continuous coverage throughout
    the season. MLS needs to stop playing on Sundays altogether. Yes,
    college football is immensely popular in this country – especially
    in the South – but it’s nothing compared to the behemoth that is
    the NFL. Why MLS schedules the MLS Cup against Sunday Night
    Football still boggles my mind.

  21. @roger 4 pro/rel….You have no facts ot back any of your
    statements. Please shut up! When only one team in this league is
    profitibale and teams are still finding identity with fanbases
    please tell me how you just snap your fingers and have pro/rel? You
    are joke and should stop stealing your parents computer and using

    1. Maybe those teams in the league that still can’t find a profit
      after 17 years shouldn’t even EXIST! Give the spots to teams that
      put quality on the field before hot dog sales.

      1. Robert- Do you know how many teams are profitable, how many are
        breaking even, and how many are running a deficit? Because as far
        as I know, those numbers are not public. Looking at teams going
        into Administration in England and Spain (or at least running
        multi-million Pound/Euro deficits,) and teams like Rangers, paying
        huge wages and praying for a spot in Europe doesn’t guarantee
        anything. You want to get rid of a salary cap? That’s basically
        saying that you want the NASL all over again. We have to find a way
        to break through the market, and I will agree with you that it
        starts on the field. Our play is improving. On 2.8 million dollars
        plus up to three outside players’ wages, our league play is
        improving. I feel like if you look at the history of the league, it
        has gone through several stages, the latest of which has only been
        over the past 5-6 years. That means that fans like yourself (if you
        are, I’m still not sure) should please be patient and support our
        league and become an advert for it, instead of just being negative
        and putting it down.

        1. @Hutton. I do understand your point. However, I totally disagree
          with the logic behind it. It is actually not a new argument against
          pro/rel, it is what I call “Reversed Logic”………….First of
          all, it is tough to be profitble when the starting point is higher
          than $40 Millions on the hole, and the salary cap limits the
          capacity of putting an atractive “product” (hate those terms) on
          the field……………….add the long travel expenses…..and
          the alienation that an unsoccerlike “single entity” system have
          caused on fans all over the nation……..Add all those issues and
          it is understandable that franchises may not be
          profitable……………however, if numbers are not public we are
          just speculating…………….the question should be: Had we
          implemented Pro/Rel, what would be the
          difference?……………well , lets go one by one:…… A)Once
          the $40 Mill price tag and salary cap is out, the number of clubs
          (real ones) will be more, and the “on the field” quality better,
          since millions that are now pay on franchise fees, could be use to
          invest on player ( a fundamental part of the game, don’t you
          think?)………………………….B) a pyramidal soccer
          structure will reduce travel expenses (specially on lower
          divisions), since the base is group by geographical regions,
          reducing cost that now could be used for more investments on
          players and/or facilities. ……………………..C) fans that
          are now totally allienated would get engaged since……1) there
          will be more clubs linked to the club soccer club
          structure…………………2)the league will have a legitimacy
          that it totally lacks now……………………..more clubs=more
          fans=higher ratings=more advertising $=higher profits=better on the
          field quality=more fans…get the idea?……………………I
          think that your argument makes a very good case FOR Pro/Rel, not
          against it!…………………………will we have irresponsible
          owners that may overspend, and mismanage their clubs? You bet we
          will!…….thats what the Relegation part of Pro/Rel is for.

    2. @TUA. I would love to have to defend any of my statements. Haven’t
      you noticed that the replies that people like me, Robert and Alex
      get, do not challenge any of our arguments with any solid
      logic?!……….. your own post is a good axample of
      that!……….isn’t it?
      ……………………………………………..of course you
      dont snap your fingers and have pro/rel!….Japan and Puerto Rico
      are good axamples of how it can be done…………… on the
      US, we have a very specific situation, club soccer have to fight a
      very powerfull sports stablishment which: …………….A) is
      used to practice a philosophy completly oposit to the spirit of our
      game . ………………….. B) will do anything in order to
      protect their interest. ……………………………C) have
      managed to infiltrate our soccer institutions (USSF specifically )
      and control our game from “with in”. …………..think about it!
      where does our commisioner comes from?……………which leagues
      use franchise system? ………salary cap?
      game?…………..teamns from different countries?…………any
      soccer league on the planet?……, right?!………………it
      is “american sports” the ones that do those
      things!……………………….they have manage to impose their
      sports culture on us. Completly ignoring the fans, and the
      tradition and spirit of our game……………………So, we face
      unique challenges…………….it is essential that fans unite
      and take our game back from “the cartel”…… is time for
      action, so I created a facebook page called “Promotion and
      Relegation on US Soccer”…….so whoever wants to joing the fight
      can check it

  22. A few things that haven’t been mentioned above: a) Soccer doesn’t
    translate well on TV. Just like hockey, it is a sport that you
    should see in person to truly experience the skill and speed
    involved. You can also see the significant difference in skill
    levels between MLSers and EPL/Champions League Players, so why eat
    the sloppy joes when you can have the steak? b) I am sure that I am
    not alone in this, but I am much more of an Union fan than I am a
    fan of the MLS. I like soccer a lot, but I am not going to turn on
    a game between two teams who I have no emotional attachment to
    (although I love to root against NYRB). c) As stated above, the
    league NEEDS a standard TV timeslot. I say make Friday night the
    “Soccer America” timeslot since there isn’t much else on TV on
    Friday nights (ever since ABC took off TGIF!) and it can be shown
    in on TVs in bars (even the ones that aren’t soccer bars). There is
    too much good TV on Sunday nights, so don’t bother putting it on

  23. We need to know the numbers from the season opener on fox last
    year. I read it was 130,000, but I don’t know if that was accurate.

  24. LOL low ratings like these with one of the marquee teams and MLS
    wants to waste a 2nd team on NYC? There is no real national
    following for any MLS club. It’s not like other sports where the
    average fan will watch a game that their home team is not playing
    in. Nobody cares about the Red Bulls or LAG like they do for the
    Yankees, Cowboys, etc. Yes, MLS does need a national TV presence.
    To that end, bringing 3 massive TV markets who currently have no
    reason to watch MLS into the fold would help. You’ve got Atlanta,
    Fort Lauderdale(South Florida) and Tampa Bay. And that would not
    only help boost TV ratings, but also add another solid regional
    rivalry to the league.

    1. A little unfair to compare MLS to leagues with far deeper roots.
      Areas without a fairly close MLS team or where allegiance is
      entirely unclear have little reason to follow the league, but that
      being said, the NHL, the NBA and most MLB teams don’t have national
      followings either despite their much longer existence. NFL is king
      here and teams like NYY/bossox/LAD/CCubs have national followings
      because their fans haven’t all stayed in the city where they
      started following their teams. I am hopeful for ownership bids in
      the south and in Florida as well. Crap, the Midwest could use more
      teams too. There are still good markets out there and I’m in favor
      of expansion to boost league interest unless the market is too

  25. TBH im not really much of an MLS fan but i would like to see it get
    big. I think the problem is poor marketing. Honestly the only
    reason i realized nbc sports network replaced versus was from sheer
    coincidence, and i don’t think ive even seen an advertisement for
    the MLS. I watched the portland-union game on espn2 just by
    changing the channel while the washington wizards game was in
    commercials (not like im missing much if i miss a few minutes of
    the game, they suck lol) and happened to see it on. People aren’t
    going to get into it if they don’t know when they play, when
    there’s nothing out there showing the product and even attempting
    to change the stereotypes of the MLS by the casual fan. Right now
    at best the MLS is an extremely regionalized sport that where no
    team or player has any real national following. At the moment there
    isn’t a lot of marketability and thats a big problem.

  26. Robert/Roger: You two seem to be very astute in the ways of
    business and how to run a successful league in our country
    (certainly better than this embarrassingly mismanaged MLS,) so why
    don’t you just start your own league? This is America, after all.
    Just secure financing, ownership, relevance through advertising,
    and further implement your spectactular business model so you can
    show those idiots running MLS how proper football should be handled
    in the U.S. The other major sports won’t stand a chance with your
    prodigious minds at the helm of this truly revolutionary approach.
    Down with the obnoxious salary cap! Let any USSF club be eligible
    for promotion! Show Garber how true pioneers can win over the minds
    and hearts of all!

  27. I totally agree with you Hutton. Call me crazy, but that is exactly
    what I am going to try………here is my plan:…….to form a
    commision made by soccer fans……..first phase would be to
    discuss ideas and plans……then, create an advertising unit, put
    a few adds “out there” clearly explaining our
    project…………….make an open letter to FIFA, explaining our
    reassons, asking them for support. They have made clear they would
    like to see pro/rel on US soccer, and something tells me they are
    not too happy with our “leadership”. We may just be what Fifa needs
    to get a little bit more involved in US club
    soccer…………..create a network of delegates, by geographical
    areas. They would get in touch with local clubs and make them aware
    of our project………………..create a web
    site……………….create a fund so that clubs have an
    incentive to play for…………………….get in touch with
    international clubs that may be interested on having afiliates on
    the US, specially in areas where inmigrants from those countries
    live,(maybe an Hondurian club to New Orleans, a south american to
    Miami, Salvadorian to DC area..get the
    idea?)……………….create and openly publish criteria to be
    met in order to join the league…………………start the
    creation of our pyramid by the base ( not a fake summit) , and let
    it grow organically…………………have in consideration that
    to joing the league at the base should be affordable ( not $40
    Mill), in order to incentivate the creation of
    clubs………………….place new clubs on geographical groups
    in order for them to be able to afford travel
    expenses………………….as the number of clubs grow, if we
    have 2 neighbor groups with enough clubs that can afford longer
    travel distances, make split creating a new
    division………………..well, this is just to give you an idea
    of what the plan is. However, it wil all depend of the discussion
    and what we agree upon…………the face book page is called: US
    Fans for Promotion and Relegation. I still have to put all this
    ideas on the page, but at least page is allready created. tomorrow
    I will upload a video explaining everything

  28. Hmmmm. Considering that Al Jazeera just bought exclusive rights to
    La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and probably EPL next, it is looking
    more and more like MLS jumping ship was the smartest decision ever.
    FSC will probably implode on itself.

  29. Gaffer, Sounder @ Heart is saying: “..Roger didn’t talk about the
    growing TV ratings (up more than 50% after the move from FoxSoccer
    to NBCSN ..” Is this true ? You should do an article on how much TV
    ratings have gone up recently, local and national.

    1. Charles, so far this season, MLS TV ratings are down 18% on ESPN/ESPN2, while NBC Sports has averaged 118k viewers.

      If you compare NBC’s ratings to what FOX Soccer did for MLS, of course NBC’s ratings would look wonderful. Anything would. An average of 118,000 is a good start, but it’s nothing compared to the Premier League games shown on FOX Soccer at less desirable start times.


      The Gaffer

      1. Apples and Oranges comparing MLS to another league, why would
        anyone care what the EPL ratings are ? Not like anyone is going to
        switch leagues they watch at this point…maybe they had never
        heard of MLS ? The point is MLS is growing by leaps and bounds. You
        can make fun of it like many of the tools out there, you seem very
        intent on putting it down, but the league is infinitely more
        successful than any other attempts the US has had in the
        past….and growing.

      2. Fox soccer caters more to EPL fans than MLS fans in their coverage.
        People that buy Fox Soccer do so to get EPL. They have their fans,
        but realistically most of those fans will probably never be MLS
        fans no matter what the league does. They could have Pro/Rel, they
        could play in the snow, they could have 1 or 2 teams buy
        championships every year, they could lift the salary cap, etc, and
        STILL Eurosnobs will not watch or support their domestic league
        because it is not the supposed “best league in the world”. Don’t
        get me wrong, I love soccer in Europe, and wherever it is played (I
        watch Serie A quite regularly), but people like me are few and far
        between. Most of those people will never care about MLS soccer, no
        matter what MLS does.

        1. Exactly….and that is why guys like me do NOT want it on FOX. They
          did a terrible job and I had to watch the games delayed, when they
          hit the local Fox station here……………………….I think a
          lot ( almost all ) of those guys are casual fans, follow the
          handful of top teams, one of which is their “favorite”, and they
          obviously wouldn’t want a league where the top teams change
          much……which is fine. But to think they are going to switch or
          co-watch a league where Columbus, Salt Lake and Colorado can and
          did win it all, where Nagbe gets goal of the year and a Brad Davis
          is second in MVP voting……is insane. Apples and Oranges.

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