Monday After

portlandHere it is!  The first “Monday After” of the new season.  Every Monday through the end of the MLS season we will take a look at some of the weekend business stories, including attendance, broadcast and more.  Today we will start with the televising of the league’s first round of games.  Fans were treated to the annual free preview of Direct Kick which offered a number of matches including the tilt between Sporting and the Union.  With the familiar tones of JP DellaCamera and the improving analysis of Alejandro Moreno, the broadcast had a national feel despite its local flavor.  Direct Kick froze for about 8 minutes mid-game, but the telecast was otherwise well done.  The picture quality of MLS Live remains outstanding, although the game was running about one minute behind the television version.  In a world where people are following soccer and Twitter at the same time, the delay can negatively impact the viewing experience.

The first national telecast came courtesy of the NBCSN from BBVA Compass in Houston.  Because of a long running Ivy League basketball game, the broadcast started late, although fans didn’t miss out on any o the action.  The network didn’t offer a scroll explaining the delay (as has been ESPN’s custom), which left viewers wondering what would happen if the game went into overtime.  That said, the NBCSN production was outstanding, with  the entire team providing great commentary and analysis. the Kyle Martino “between the benches” continues to serve viewers well.

ESPN joined the party on Sunday night with the Portland Timbers playing host to the Red Bulls. Twellman and Healy manned the broadcast booth while Lalas reported from the midst of the Timbers Army.   Twellman continues to improve and seems set to become a fixture in the soccer broadcast booth for years to come.  ESPN really focused on the Portland atmosphere during the game and showed live coverage of the fans signing the national anthem before the game.   Also, full credit to ESPN to addressing the Chivas USA, Adu and Donovan as part of the halftime.

Before we get to the attendance picture league-wide, a quick note about Chivas.  Longtime readers of this site know that I have long applauded the promotional efforts of the Chivas Front Office. Using an array of game day attractions, deals and more the, the team managed to keep its gate reasonable, despite playing second fiddle in its own stadium with a roster devoid of star power. That has started to slip over the last couple of years, and the embarrassing attendance numbers (under 7,500) on opening night became a national story.  It may not be time to write obituary just yet, but time is running short for that franchise rebound.

On to attendance.  The Philly game drew an announced 18k plus despite the appearance of some empty seats on a cold day in the City of Brotherly Love.  Vancouver followed with a 21k sellout that saw the home team hold serve against their Canadian rivals.  Dallas impressively managed to seat more than 18k for their home opener. Across the State of Texas, the Dynamo played host to a crowd in excess of 20k.  Seattle closed the night with a crowd of almost 39k. On Sunday, the Galaxy routed Chicago before a crowd of 20k.

Soccer Business Bits: Deals Deals Deals

crew-jerseyAs part of our ongoing efforts to discuss MLS marketing efforts, we present a number of deals circulating the League.  In Columbus, the Crew are preparing for the return of David Beckham with the Crew Flex 5 Bonus Pack.  The deal offers tickets to 5 MLS games including Becks’ return to Columbus “free”.  Purchasers can choose from a number of other games to make up the 5.  The package is going for as little as $95 per ticket.

In Colorado, the Rapids have announced a “Festival of Women” prior to their June 20 match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.  The event features an eclectic mix of speakers, bands, pampering and other female oriented events.  There will be book signings and medical care and family entertainment.  Admission to the event (starting 4 hours before the Rapids take the field) is only $15 and includes a ticket to the Rapids game.

Go to Chivas USA’s home page and face a large banner ad “Bye Bye Blanco”  Chivas is actively promoting the return of the Mexican superstar for the May 28 game at the Home Depot Center.  Tickets for the game start at $15.

Finally, the Houston Dynamo are offering a number of deals on their website.  These include a giveaway of 7,500 “car flags” for their upcoming match against the Earthquakes.  At the same time, the Dynamo are offering a Mcdonald’s 4 pack which includes 4 tickets, 2 Happy Meals and 2 Southwest Chicken meals for $55.  The Dynamo continue to offer promotions for every game, and the match against their  San Jose replacements should be well attended. houston-dynamo

We will be out of town in Dallas for a couple of days.  We will report back on efforts to market FC Dallas in the local area.

Soccer Business Bits: More Deals

red-bulls2Teams across the League continue to offer creative promotions and deals to entice fans into the stadiums.  In New York, the Red Bulls are offering a 4 tickets and 4 T-shirts for $90 deal.  Given some of the options we have discussed previously, this one doesn’t seem like much of a bargain.  The Red Bulls are not drawing well and appear to be simply biding their time until Red Bull Arena opens in 2010.  The latest on the stadium is here.

In Houston, the Dynamo are offering a Fireworks night for their next home  match.  The first 5,000 fans will also get a rally towel as part of Houston’s promotion for every game schedule.  As we noted yesterday, the upcoming Houston/Dallas match on May 9th is also an ESPN game of the week.  By combining fireworks, rally towels and the Dallas/Houston rivalry, the Dynamo are certainly working to fill Robertson Stadium.

Finally, the good folks at Chivas USA (one of the quiet MLS success stories on the field and at the gate this year), are offering a $50 5 game “stiumulus plan”  The package includes a seat to five games and a “free” ticket to a match against the Galaxy.  Chivas has certainly found ways to build up its brand at a time when many teams are struggling to pull fans.