Soccer Business Bits: All-Stars Come to KC, Draft Goes Dark

nbcIn a press conference that surprised nobody, Major League Soccer announced that the 2013 All-Star Game will take place in Kansas City at LiveStrong Sporting Park.  While the opponent has not yet been identified, the soccer specific stadium will make a great venue for the mid-summer event.  With the MLS Cup now slated for the home team of the highest remaining seed, the ASG is the big plumb the league can hand out to its teams as a reward for new stadium. Kansas City has certainly earned the reward.  LiveStrong has become one of the league’s top venues and the City has developed a palpable soccer vibe.  Whatever team the league grabs for the game, the game should make for an exciting event.

Over the last couple of years we have provided a business blog of the MLS SuperDraft.  ESPN2 coverage of the annual event has continued to improve and the network had provided well produced telecasts over the last couple of years.  Unfortunately for soccer fans, the draft will not be broadcast on television this year.  Instead, the event has been consigned to ESPN3. Those with access to the streaming product can watch live, otherwise Twitter will be the best source of draft news and commentary.  Whatever the allure of the draft, the publicity was valuable for the league and the loss of the live telecasts is a bad sign.

Finally, some additional notes from the NBC Sports press release about rivalry weekend.

“NBC begins the day with the New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United at 12:30 p.m. ET, from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. NBC Sports Network will air two more games that day, beginning with Sporting KC vs. Chicago Fire at 3 p.m. ET, and the Seattle Sounders host the Portland Timbers later that night. After calling the New York Red Bulls-D.C. United match, NBC Sports Group’s MLS announce team of Arlo White (play-by-play) and Kyle Martino (“Between-the-Benches” analyst) and Russ Thaler (host), will travel to the new NBC Sports Group studios in Stamford, Conn., to host a studio “whip around” showcasing coverage of the rest of that day’s MLS games.”