The Tipping Point? What Should MLS Do?

Over the last two weeks, ESPN has bludgeoned mainstream American sports fans with its outstanding coverage of the World Cup. This has included all platforms, including the game broadcasts, pre-game shows, Sportcenter, ESPN Radio, website and more.  Other national outlets such as Sports Illustrated and USA Today have also provided extensive coverage of the tournament.  Prominent and local newspapers have also featured the matches extensively and the games have also featured on local television and radio.

Soccer has definitely been elevated to the forefront of the American sporting landscape in June, 2010.  World Cup games are now water cooler fodder and sports fans of all stripes are displaying more than a passing interest in the beautiful game.  The question facing the teams of MLS, is how to capitalize on the current prominence of the sport.  Is this simply a passsing fancy (similar to the Olympic games), or will soccer have more staying power?

We’ll look at this question a number of times over the next few weeks, but we thought it worth starting with the players on the field.  Are there players that MLS can bring in that will attract the interest of either non-MLS soccer fans or fans who became intersted in the sport through the World Cup? Should these players be American or foreign?  Must they be goal scorers to attract attention?  What role will ESPN coverage play in the drawing power of a particular player?

Let us know your thoughts on this.  Either post below or send us an e-mail to  What can MLS do to use the World Cup as a springboard?

6 Responses

  1. now is the time for a number of high profile signings by many teams. Go for the gusto. the league is here to stay and we need starpower to draw in more casual fans

  2. Agree. it would be great if Henry hits for three next game. the league should bring two or three big name players on july 15 including an american or two andpromote the hell out of it. how about howard

  3. I think the big names will come to the MLS, you are in the same position as the EPL were say 10 or 15 years ago, and all the big names want to play there, it’s just a matter of time.

  4. Just about every TV on my campus has the World Cup on when matches are being played. Appropriately 20 percent of people that pass the TV stop and watch at least a few seconds of it. Around one and fifty actually take a seat and watch the game (classes be damned!). That wouldn’t happen with any other sport. It’s unreal. The sport is BIG right now with college age people in the U.S.
    My friends who don’t usually follow the sport are calling me up and asking to watch a match with me. Maybe go out to a sports bar and make an event out of it. They aren’t just watching the matches, they are asking a lot of question. That want to learn about the game and the players. This is so cool. The U.S. needs to beat the Desert Foxes. If they make the quarters and MLS doesn’t botch this opportunity then I believe football will easily surpass hockey in popularity.
    Thank you, ESPN.

  5. Market heavily to High School kids. They play the game and haven’t yet crystallized their brand affiliations. It worked for RJ Reynolds.

  6. The sounders are advertising on all the ESPN broadcasts in the Seattle area. Hopefully other MLS teams are doing the same. If a team can not fill their seats they should be giving seats away to college kids who are always looking for a place to drink beer and as someone else pointed out… like the sport. Get them to a few games and they will be buying tickets because it is a great deal of fun. Plus college kids would make it more fun than it already is!

    As for signing… We have nkufo coming already. Otherwise I only think it should be done if it really compliments the team well. Do not just sign a name to bring people in. That is usually shortlived and just results in lower salaries for the rest of teh team and nto the best results on the field.

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