As we do every Monday, here is a roundup of some business issues from Friday and the weekend that we didn’t hit in our previous posts. We’ll start in WPS, where,iIn conjunction with primary partner PUMA, WPS debuted the Women’s Soccer Training Collection last week. A number of PUMA/WPS athletes were part of the launch of the new soccer themed clothing line. According to the press release, the clothing line includes items for workout sessions and regular casual wear. From a soccer perspective, the event was notable for the introduction of the 2011 home and away uniforms for the six WPS franchises. Here is a link to the new uniforms for the league’s newest franchise, the Western New York Flash.
The league has finally announced that the schedule for the 2011 season will be released on February 10. Putting the schedule out about one month before the season is cutting it close even by MLS standards. Last year we linked to an excellent article by Kyle McCarthy at Goal.com that included his interview with Mark Abbott and Brad Pursel about the dynamics and challenges involved in creating a schedule for MLS. This is a fascinating and under-covered topic. From a business perspective, the most interesting aspect of the interview was Mr. Pursel’s discussion of the three biggest priorities in setting up a schedule: “maximizing attendance, creating a television schedule to maximize ratings and balancing the schedule from a competitive perspective.” It is telling that business factors are the primarily driver behind the schedule making.
As readers of this site know, MLS’ third broadcast partner for 2011 remains up in the air. This certainly could be the reason for the delay, as the new partner would certainly want input into the matchups it airs. However, if the deal is intended as a Saturday night game of the week, the league could reasonably select prominent games for that slot without substantial input from the network. It will interesting to see if the league announces its new TV deal on or before the 10th.