Time for our Monday wrap of the weekend that was. This is where we hit on some business points from Friday, Saturday and Sunday that we passed over the last couple of days. We’ll start in Seattle where “legendary Sounders forward Steve Zakuani” who is a prominent voice in a spot for the local electronic tool system in Seattle. Whether he is a “legendary” player can be debated, but it is nice to see an MLS athlete feature prominently in a non-soccer related spot. Zakuani is joined by “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the spots. The ad can be heard here. Thanks to Footiebusiness reader Travis Pahl for the link.
Perhaps the biggest business story on Friday was the announcement that MLS and sports data leader Opta had joined forces to bring enhanced statistical display and collection capabilities. The multi-year partnership will work in concert with the league’s ongoing relationship with Elias. Soccer fans have long wondered about the impact of advanced statistical analysis on enjoyment of the game and its acceptance in mainstream sports circles. This relationship will provide the league with a significant trove of statistical data that should enhance broadcast and internet research experiences for fans.
Finally, Seattle was able to pack more than 3k into its Starfire venue on multiple nights for its Cascadia preseason games. This continues an impressive trend in MLS this Spring with large preseason crowds filling venues for training matches. As we discussed when commenting on the new MLS Spring destination in Arizona, preseason is a great opportunity to sell the sport and the league in a less formal setting. MLS seems to be making use of this opportunity and allowing fans to connect to players and teams in the offseason.