MLS Cup 2009: Final Notes

Some quick hits on MLS Cup before we officially move to the off season.

MLS Cup overnight ratings are out.  Overnights are tricky, because the final rating can change, but according to the presented figures, the broadcast reached 30% more viewers than the 2008 final on ABC.

The coverage of the match was outstanding in Salt Lake City and we think that the result was ultimately the best one for MLS.  They got their marquee game involving Beckham, but in the end, there was an underdog story and a city (SLC) that was inundated with soccer.  The newspaper coverage was great and the championship bodes well for sponsorships and ticket sales for the coming year.  Had Los Angeles won, it is likely that the victory would have been hardly a blip on the city’s radar.  Instead, RSL got wall to wall coverage, a parade and really captured the city.

Finally, one of the bigger stories to emerge from the weekend was the repeated indication that the MLS Cup will move away from a neutral site and to the home of the higher seed.  Many MLS fans support the move, but we think otherwise.  MLS Cup provides a big event that can accomodate plans months in advance.  The retail summit, supporter’s summit and all other sorts of League events can be scheduled months in advance.  Holders of MLS GSLs can plan their trips and MLS creates a destination event like the Super Bowl.  We think the change is misguided.

MLS CUP 2009: On the Ground in Seattle

With Seattle set to cap its impressive  inaugural season as an MLS City by hosting MLS Cup 2009 at Qwest Field, we thought we would check in with Seattle soccer guru David Falk, the man behind the comprehensive Seattle soccer website, about marketing efforts, media coverage and ticket sales for MLS Cup in Seattle.  With Seattle not in the game, we were curious about how the game was perceived in the Emerald City and David, who also writes for the Seattle Soccer Examiner, provided some great insight.  Thanks to David for his thoughts.  Beyond newspaper coverage, what has been the level of mainstream coverage of the game? Are local outlets, sports radio, etc… covering the match?

David  Falk:  There will be guests on Sports Radio (KJR AM 950) this week, but it doesn’t look to be any bigger than a Sounders match week so far.

FB: There is evidence of Sounders’ season ticket holders seeking to offload their seats.  What is your sense of the interest level among Sounders’ fans in attending the game?

DF: Mixed, but most want to still go. Some are selling their seats to LA and Utah fans who want the best views. Some are giving them away, even. Still, it is likely that the lower bowl won’t have too many empty spots. A Chicago-LA match-up would have increased the ticket demand and the rate of those that showed up. There will still be a “March to the Match,” it is still the last ticket in our season package…so unless the weather is an absolute downpour, Seattle should represent. Are Seattle fans “excited” about the match? I have yet to hear from anyone that is.

FB: Tickets for the game have been parceled out with the recent opening of 6,000 additional seats.  Do you agree with the decision to limit availability?  Do you think there is a good argument for opening the entire stadium?

DF: They are handling the MLS Cup ticket sales just fine. Beckham v. Blanco could have sold more, but now what they’ve offered is more than enough.

FB: Are there ongoing efforts to advertise the game to Seattle residents?  What are those efforts?

DF: None that I have seen. Perhaps through the Sounders website and emails to all 24,000 ticket holders. Billboards…no. Bus signs…no. TV commercials? No.  We did get a letter from Garber asking us all to show up:

We also recommend you check out the extensive coverage of the game on the Seattle Times website.

Soccer Business Bits: Ticket Pre-Sale, Chivas Classico and More

mlsA couple of business notes leading into the weekend.  First, MLS is offering a “pre-sale” for MLS Cup 2009 tickets in Seattle.  The opportunity is available to VISA card holders and will be available for one week.  Tickets will go on sale to the general public on September 18, 2009. Tickets for the match range from $20-$45.

Elsewhere, Chivas USA is promoting its Chivas Classico when the Mexican version of the Goats will travel to Pasedana for a September 23 Wednesday evening match against its American counterpart.  The mid-season friendly will likely draw a big crowd, but seems like a surprising match to schedule in the middle of the MLS playoff race.  Nevertheless, the game will provide Chivas USA an opportunity to promote its brand in front of thousands of Southern California soccer fans.

Finally, DC United is offering a World Cup Qualifying 2-Pack that is offering tickets to a DC United game and the USA/Costa Rica World Cup qualifier.  Tickets for the two pack range from $53-$125 dollars.  US fans hope the qualifier won’t matter for the USA, but it likely will and promises to be an exciting match-up.