The MLS Schedule: A Business Analysis

MLS unveiled its 2010 schedule and we thought it worthwhile to take a look at some of the business themes that emerged in the release.

1.  National TV: One third of all games will be nationally televised on FSC, ESPN & Telefutura.  This includes at least 25 ESPN HD games and 30 FSC HD games. Telefutura has moved its primary broadcast day from Sunday afternoon to Saturday afternoon (as an aside, this could provide a small attendance jump).  Chicago, Los Angeles and Philly each have 16 national broadcast dates, while the Revs and Wizards have 4 and 3 respectively.  This shows MLS and its broadcast partners are paying attention to atmosphere, camera angles and star power when assigning games.

2. Stadium openings: The opening of Red Bull Arena will be broadcast to a national audience as the Red Bulls host the Fire on the original ESPN.  The first grass match at BMO Field will be on ESPN2.  PPL Park (the new Union home) will open on June 27 as part of a soccer tripleheader that will rely on the World Cup broadcasts earlier in the day to pump viewership. Interesting to see how that strategy works…tough even for die-hards to get 6 hours of soccer in a day.

3.  World Cup:  The league will take a 2-3 week for the World Cup.  Every four years soccer fans wonder whether the World Cup will drive interest in MLS.  A good showing by the US could certainly increase interest in MLS.

4. Philly:  The Union will open on the road and then play a few games at “the Linc”, but the majority of their home games will come at PPL Park.  However, the home dates will be significantly back-loaded.  This is a strategy we support….the fewer games at the Linc the better.

5. Potpurri:  3 dates when all teams play.  Superliga will take place in July.  Seattle has the most home national TV dates (makes sense).

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4 Responses

  1. Some great points. I’d suggest that the difference between the have and have-nots for the national broadcasts is even more stark: New England only has 1 home game on national TV, and it’s Telefutura. Kansas City also only has 1. Los Angeles, Chivas USA, New York and Seattle have 7, while Chicago has 6.

  2. There are definitely some stadiums that look better on TV and it’s hard to fault ESPN/FSC/MLS from wanting to show the better atmosphere to the world.

  3. Yet again the league dropped the ball on supporters groups again this year, if the schedule was done properly they would schedule teams that are in the same conference on weekends in order for supporters to travel to away games.

  4. LED Television…

    […]The MLS Schedule: A Business Analysis « Footiebusiness[…]…

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