Some Business Thoughts on the SuperDraft

The MLS SuperDraft was held on Thursday and broadcast live on ESPN2.  After two hours of televised coverage, the feed switched to Adrian Healey manned the desk while Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman handled much of the commentary heavy lifting and despite some hiccups, the broadcast was generally well done.  The ESPN talent was not afraid to touch on some of the big issues facing the league during the event and Twellman and Lalas were able to provide some insight into the top picks in the draft.  On the downside, interviews with player were in short supply and the network lacked good college footage of the players.  Whatever the value of a 30 second highlight package, fans enjoy seeing the future wearers of the colors in their college days. We continue to believe that televising the SuperDraft is exceptionally important for the league.  Commissioner Garber has long talked about creating special moments, and the memory of seeing top picks receiving their scarf and shaking Garber’s hand will burn into the brains of fans, journalists and youth players

Not surprisingly, Twitter was awash in draft talk and carried the burden for those not sitting at home in the middle of the day.  Commentary, trade talk and general observations drove the Superdraft up the “trending” list for the social media site.  The league and teams effectively used the medium to connect with fans and broadcast information about the draft, picks and more.

One big business item that we mentioned on Twitter was the disappointing lack of coverage on new league partner NBC Sports’ website.  Other than a brief AP story, there was no evidence of the MLS draft on the site.  The front page, which includes a wide array of sports news, was totally devoid of coverage.  This was a big opportunity for the network to make an impression with skeptical MLS fans and the fell short.

Advertisers included presenting sponsor adidas, Weight Watchers, Geico and local ads.