Today was the official media unveiling of new Seattle Sounder Clint Dempsey. The US International used his proximity to the East Coast to make appearances on a wide array of media outlets, including Good Morning America, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Morning Joe and others. The mainstream media was shockingly receptive to Dempsey and provided a great platform for the sale of MLS to the sports and soccer loving public. Shows like GMA and Morning Joe reach an audience far outside the usual fans of the game to whom Dempsey is such a known quantity. Dempsey is not as media savvy as some other ambassadors of the game like Donovan and Beckham, but his is a good story and he is great publicity for the league.
There are reports that the ASG broadcast drew just under 320k viewers two weeks back. This is a very poor number based on previous games which have drawn more than double that amount. This continues a poor run of ratings on the various ESPN networks despite fairly steady ratings on NBCSN. It is true that Roma does not have the following of Manchester United or Chelsea, but that is indicative of the bigger problem. If the ASG is dependent upon the opponent to attract television viewers, that speaks poorly of the league’s ability to expand its television base.
Finally, here is a bit more from the Orlando Sentinel about the efforts to secure a soccer team in Orlando. The formation of a new MLS team in Orlando seems like an unstoppable force at this point.
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