The biggest story in MLS remains the introduction of Theirry Henry to American sports fans and mainstream media. In addition to the official press conference, Henry made appearances on the Univision morning show, “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, and “Late Night” on NBC. He also provided a print interview to the AP. Henry’s ability to speak in French, Spanish and English makes him an extremely marketable commodity and he impressed in the interview. The signing generated headlines, even here in Hartford where the local radio news program commented on Henry during AM drive. At the same time, many of the New York area sportscasts studiously ignored the signing. Sportsradio WFAN paid little mind to Henry and SNY (the home of the Mets) followed suit. Despite pushing some great marketing buttons (that included some fun guerrilla marketing both on the ground and online), the Red Bulls couldn’t push Henry into the mainstream in the New York area.
ESPN’s impressive commitment to soccer (did anyone notice Landon Donovan’s John Skipper reference at the ESPYs?), continues with broadcasts of multiple friendlies over the next few weeks. Games involving MLS teams and world powers like Tottenham, Manchester United and Celtic are part of those broadcasts, as is the MLS All Star game and the USA/Brazil match in August. In combination with their usual MLS broadcasts and the start of the European club season, it will continue to be an exciting Summer of Soccer on the Worldwide leader.
Some quick hits…In Kansas City, the Wizards are aggressively selling tickets for their May 25 match against Manchester United. According to this interview, ticket sales are near 60,000. Most of the remaining available tickets range from $40-60. Elsewhere, Commissioner Garber gave some strong statements indicating that MLS is not entertaining transfer offers for Landon Donovan. At the same time, there are more rumblings about the possibility of MLS expanding to New York City.