One full week is in the books and as is our custom, here are our business hits from the first round of games. Perhaps the biggest issue of the weekend was the continuing problems with MLSSoccer.com’s new Match Day Live. Efforts to watch games live were consistently thwarted by freezing and re-sets. Our own experience was similarly negative; efforts to watch the Friday night game online were repeatedly stymied. There were also questions about how “free” the first two weeks of Match Day Live really are. The free preview of Direct Kick went well and we were impressed by Allen Hopkins ability in the booth.
The website remains beset with problems. Links lead to nowhere, content is still not updated for 2010 (2009 stats?) and the functionality is challenging. Hopefully, the league will quickly move to fix some of the bigger problems.
With respect to attendance, the week started off quite well with more than 36k in Seattle for the First Kick opener despite a driving rain. Chivas continued the good word, with more than 18k at the Home Depot Center for a 1-0 Rapids win. In Dallas, barely 8k were at Pizza Hut Park for the Dynamo/FC Dallas matchup, a terrible number for a home opener. In Columbus, a stronger (but still disappointing) 13,500 saw Columbus start with a 2-0 win over Toronto.
On Saturday night, the Red Bulls couldn’t quite muster a sell-out as just under 25k were at Red Bull Arena’s MLS debut. KC played to 10,300 sell-out for their dominating performance over DC. A similar 10,500 sell-out was also in San Jose where RSL went home the victor. Finally, the weekend concluded with almost 22k at the Home Depot Center for the Galaxy victory over the Revs.
Overall, it was an unimpressive weekend for MLS attendance. Dallas and Columbus posted poor numbers for the season opener, while Chivas, Los Angeles and Chivas did well. The Red Bulls’ failure to sell-out was unfortunate, especially given recent efforts to promote the stadium. Let us know your thoughts on the week’s attendance and atmosphere.