The Monday After: MLS Salaries, Ratings Thoughts & Attendance

Time for our weekly Monday wrap on the weekend that was.  Before we get to attendance at ratings, we recommend that all readers of this site take the time to look at the annual release of MLS player salaries.  The list is put out by the MLS Players Union and always includes a few surprises when considering both the under and over paid.  In the aftermath of last year’s newly negotiated agreement between the league and the union, the increase in minimum salaries is readily apparent.  The list also brings the dramatic salary discrepancies between the top and bottom of teams like New York and Los Angeles directly into focus.

On Saturday night, ESPN2 televised the Red Bulls/Galaxy matchup from the Home Depot Center.  The game pitted the two MLS teams with the most star power and in Beckham, Donovan, Marquez and Henry the game including names with appeal to a wide range of casual and passionate soccer fans. Yet the game was televised at 11 on Saturday effectively missing a significant chunk of a potential East Coast audience.  For a league that is suffering to a generate a television audience, dumping its marquee match into an 11:00 Eastern start was an unfortunate circumstance not intended to maximize television viewership.

On the attendance front, there were a number of mid-week games and stadiums hosting two matches in just a few days.  The week got started in DC with just over 11k for United’s win over Seattle.  Houston had just over 13k.  DC followed that number with about 11,500 on Saturday night, while the Revs got a couple hundred more for their Saturday evening game.  Columbus was the low number, with less than 8k at Crew Stadium, while Chicago brought just over 11,600 to Toyota Park.  RSL had a small crowd for Rio Tinto with just over 14k, while Toronto had more than 20k at BMO Field. LA sold out its match against NY (27k) and Portland was also full with more than 18k.  Overall, it was a fairly unimpressive weekend at the gate for MLS.