Unfiltered

MLS has some crazy new ideas to attract more fans

18, 2017; Frisco, TX, USA; A view of the game ball and team logo before the game between FC Dallas and the New England Revolution at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas defeats New England Revolution 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

Major League Soccer ratings have been a major issue for the soccer league. Despite the real interest in the sport, it just has not picked up steam in the United States.

Back in 2016, an average of just 308,000 tuned into the 34 games that ESPN broadcasted. For comparison’s sake, this year’s NFL Draft had 6.7 million people tune in for the first day of its event (on a Thursday). While said comparison makes little sense, it does give us an understanding of the interest level in MLS.

In an attempt to improve its ratings, North America’s largest soccer league is rolling out a rather interesting plan.

The league’s plan includes locker room cameras, access to team huddles and media “car wash tours.” This comes via Paste Magazine. As the original article clearly states, we’re not too sure what “car wash” tours are. You can go ahead and try to find out for yourself.

Though, these attempts at upping the ratings are a bit absurd. Are we going to magically tune into more MLS games because there are cameras in the locker room? Unless The Rock and Carrie Underwood are half-naked in said locker room, that’s highly unlikely.

The larger issue here is that MLS goes through a seven-plus month regular season to see over half the teams make the playoffs. They also broadcast their biggest games in direct competition with regular season NFL football.

Ask the USFL and Donald Trump how it goes when attempting to take on the NFL.

More to the point, interest in soccer in the United States lags far behind the rest of the developed world. Look at Euro 2016 as an example. Just 662,000 people tuned into the tournament’s first match in the U.S. Comparatively, 26.6 million people tuned into the game in Germany.

That’s the crux of the issue here. Unless MLS itself changes up its regular season and playoff format. Unless it decides going up against the NFL is a bad idea. Unless all of this happens, access to team hudddles won’t necessarily make much of a difference.

About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi