Week One is complete, so as we will do every Monday, here are some business thoughts on the weekend that was. For fans of MLS, it was a great weekend of games, with matches kicking off from 6:30-10:30 ET on Saturday night. The free preview of Direct Kick, combined with MatchDay Live and FSC brought a constant stream of games. We thought that Direct Kick functioned great. Other than a weather related hiccup in Houston, the broadcasts were smooth and the free preview was a fantastic advertisement for the season long service. From a business perspective, it is always interesting to see the in-game advertisements that are part of the local broadcasts.
By all accounts, the MatchDay Live service functioned well despite some initial issues. We found the MLSSoccer.com “MatchCenter” to be woefully slow in providing scores and highlights. Despite the website’s front page revealing the 3-1 DC/Columbus final, the Matchcenter showed the score as 1-0 well into the evening. The i-phone app was great, providing up to the minute highlights and game summaries. The features are better than last year and were a significant addition to the MLS fan experience. We’d welcome some thoughts on all of this items and on the Android App.
Attendance wise, it was a very good day in MLS. The week started with a very big crowd in Seattle and continud with just over 20k in Dallas (a great number), almost 21k in New York (although the pictures tell a different story), more than 19k in Houston, 23k in Vancouver, more than 17k in Colorado (almost a sell-out), a reported 18k at the Home Depot Center for Chivas USA (looked much less on TV), 27k sellout on Sunday and 10,500 in San Jose. This is a dynamite opening weekend for the league. Typical laggards Dallas and Colorado looked great (can it keep up), and Vancouver started with a bang.
Finally, it was disappointing to see the number of teams withoug jersey sponsors. We will write more about this in coming days, but after Don Garber’s pronouncement in November that most teams would have sponsors in fairly short order, the blank spaces on the jerseys of teams like Chicago, Dallas, Colorado, New England, Kansas City and more were disheartening.