Back from a week overseas and thus back to the regularly schedule of posts. As we do every Monday, here is a roundup of business items from Friday afternoon and the weekend. Once the MLS/WPS season starts, this section will include thoughts on attendance, broadcast quality and more.
Since I was in Jamaica last week, I’ll start with the U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament which was going in in Montego Bay, Jamaica during my trip. Overall, the impact of the tournament on the locals seemed fairly minimal (despite some vocal crowds). In the Montego Bay area, there was some signage regarding the tournament (especially near the fields used for the matches), but locals had little to say about the tournament. February is a heavy tourist time for the island, so it didn’t appear that there was a significant economic boost from the games. Not surprisingly, those with spoke with who hailed from CONCACAF nations, had little to no knowledge of the games despite a professed interest in the sport.
We forgot to mention the results of an ESPN sports poll referenced in the SBJ. According to the survey, approximately 30% of sports fans consider themselves as having a “casual” interest in MLS. That number is up from just under 27% in 2006 and represents a high water for the league over the last five years of the poll. The percentage trails the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR and NHL. Approximately 6.5% of sports fans consider themselves “avid” fans of MLS.
Since we mentioned attendance at the top, we’ll look at the numbers for the first leg of the RS/Columbus Champions League tilt last week. Attendance was announced at just over 4,600 for the game, a dissappointing number, but not a surprise given the conditions, nature of the tournament and the location. However, there are reports that RSL is hoping for 15k in the return match. That would be a great number and a significant accomplishment for the RSL Front Office.