Category: Leagues: Major League Soccer

2018 MLS opening weekend attendances up 2% compared to last year

Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Welcome to a new season of MLS attendance reports. In 2017, Orlando had a decrease due to the fact of the reduced capacity of their new stadium, 20.1% lower than their 2016 average. Four more teams lost more than 6%. NYCFC was down 17.9%, Los Angeles was down 11.5%, Columbus was down 9.4% and Houston was down 8.0%. Chicago’s great season led to their 11.4% increase. Only five other teams had increases albeit small, while Portland continued its perfect record of sellouts. This season, I don’t expect a bump from LAFC joining the league ... Read more

Atlanta United expectations at a fever pitch for second season in MLS

As a huge fan of European soccer, I usually stray away from watching the MLS because the difference in quality is so noticeably vast. However, this year I’ll be making an exception by trying to tune in to watch as many Atlanta United games as I possibly can. Last year, Atlanta United became the third-ever MLS expansion team to qualify for the playoffs in their inaugural season. Stacked with an abundance of young attacking talent, they emerged as one of the most exciting offensive teams in MLS, scoring the second-most goals in the league with 70. A big reason they ... Read more

2018 MLS Western Conference preview

On March 3, MLS will kick off its 23rd season featuring a new team in Los Angeles, a new stadium in DC, and new investments in first-teams and academies across the league that have raised the bar again.   1. Portland Timbers What’s To Like: Despite losing two franchise cornerstones in Caleb Porter and Darlington Nagbe in November and December, Timbers fans are almost giddy for 2018. There are a few reasons why. One is that Gio Savarese, brought in from the New York Cosmos to replace Porter, looks like the real deal – a bilingual coach with energy, ideas, ... Read more

2018 MLS Eastern Conference preview

On March 3, MLS will kick off its 23rd season featuring a new team in Los Angeles, a new stadium in DC, and new investments in first-teams and academies across the league that have raised the bar again.   1. Toronto FC What’s To Like: Pretty much everything. Toronto more or less returns the best team in MLS history and should threaten to win the CONCACAF Champions League. To replace the one starter they lost in Steven Beitashour, TFC went out and got a World Cup finalist in Gregory van der Wiel. They’ve also got a 24-year-old attacking midfielder coming ... Read more

The future of soccer broadcasting is going to get expensive for consumers

In the next five years, we are certain to see more volatility in the way soccer is broadcast and delivered to US audiences. As the broadcast and media industry in the United States continues to evolve in order to adjust to new realities in terms of audiences, it’s likely that change will be a common theme for the next several years as well as adding more confusing for consumers as they try to watch their favorite club, league or tournament. It will undoubtedly also get more expensive to be a soccer fan in the United States due to these changes. ... Read more

ESPN Plus’ niche audiences could help increase MLS exposure

Self-dubbed as the “Netflix for sports,” ESPN Plus, a new streaming service from Disney is set to make its debut this spring. Beyond the recycling nomenclature once used by ESPN to brand syndicated college sports broadcasts on regional sports networks and local over-the-air channel, this concept is entirely new. The service will cost just $4.99 a month, but serves as a hybrid of sorts — giving access to ESPN and ESPN programming if you have a cable or satellite subscription to those channels, but also offering a slew of niche sports which are exclusively available via ESPN Plus but don’t require ... Read more

Carlos Cordeiro’s tenure will be judged by how he handles Soccer United Marketing (SUM)

After Carlos Cordeiro’s election win this past weekend as US Soccer Federation (USSF) President, the general sense is that Cordeiro’s management style will be different than his predecessor Sunil Gulati and that he will attempt to find a more consensus-based approach to issues. But in terms of general policies and positions, he doesn’t differ from Gulati very much except in one notable place — the role of Soccer United Marketing (SUM) as the media partner of US Soccer. SUM, which is owned by MLS and was created specifically to allow the league to enter the sports marketing and media business ... Read more

For the US Men’s National Team, the path to success starts in Europe

For those who watched the World Cup qualifiers, the American players often looked tentative, with long stretches of idleness and indecision. Maybe the idea of pulling on the USMNT jersey was too much for some. That the USMNT lost a critical game to Trinidad & Tobago, a country the size of Dallas, exposed the enormous cracks in the United States soccer foundation. The USMNT’s feeble second-to-last finish in the final round of WCQ points to systemic problems throughout the entire U.S. soccer system. It’s not an issue of money or poor training facilities or a lack of technology. It’s about ... Read more