MLS is getting set to unveil its new website at www.MLSsoccer.com. According to the Sports Business Journal, “the new site is the centerpiece of a retooled digital strategy that brings the league’s Internet rights and management in-house.” Previously, the MLS website was maintained as part of a deal with MLB Advanced Media. Now all teams and league sites will be under direct control of MLS with an assist from Rocket Fuel, a New York based consultant.
As part of the new website, MLS will offer an out of network game package for $39.95 for the season. The new package will include DVR functionality and HD quality. Much of the video content will be free, including archived footage, highlights and more. MLS has been substantially increasing its online content over the past few years and the new content adds higher quality and better offerings.
Other highlights of the site will include Spanish language content at FutbolMLS.com. Perhaps most interestingly, each team will have its own editorial independence despite the common platform. This will change the current practice, where most teams are on the current platform, while others (like the Revs and Rapids) are on their own site.
We think this is a great move for MLS. We have previously discussed how soccer fans and media are extremely reliant on the internet for information and coverage. Because soccer gets limited exposure in mainstream media and because many fans follow teams overseas, the internet is the key tool for following the beautiful game. MLS is taking an important step to connect with its fanbase. Having a top notch website is an important step to keeping its fans involved, but ultimately it comes down to content. MLS is investing much of its editorial decision making in former Revs broadcaster Greg Lalas. Technology is great, but ultimately, content drives traffic.