The Current State of Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer was America’s way to enter the world of soccer internationally. Founded in 1993 the states created the league in order for the ability to host the FIFA World Cup. The league is made up of 19 teams from the U.S. and 3 from Canada. Each team plays 34 games in a regular season.
Even though Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 to host the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the actual games didn’t start until 1996 when it had only ten teams.
Major League Soccer in 2013
This was the strongest year seen for MLS; more than half a dozen cities were begging to join including San Diego, and Miami. That’s the good news, and of course we must follow with…
Some of the problems that were faced in Major League Soccer:
Long and drawn out post season schedule, falling Television ratings and a final that featured the two tiny cities in the league completely took away from the usual adrenaline packed games that we are familiar with in MLS. It really left a bad taste in the mouth of fans that were privileged to witness one of the most engaging seasons since Major League Soccer was founded in 1996.
The Playoffs started the same day the World Series ended taking away from the coverage and hype.
After the first 12 matches of the post season which were played in the first 12 days the entire league took a two week break between the qualifying rounds of the World Cup. By the time it was started again, people had lost interest, stories died, and the only fans that remained locked in were the diehard fans. The rest of the MLS “acquaintances” simply forgot who was even playing.
This was followed by another two week break ahead of the Championship game. Once again the MLS lost its momentum and fans trailed off to other sports and areas of interest due to only 3 games being played in a month.
The TV audience for the cup was small, and the MLS was hurting after seeing its most important game lacking the draw for what was called the most significant television rights agreements in the Leagues history.
After next season Major League Soccer will have to figure some things out as ratings have dropped considerably on the major networks that host the games, seeing a fall of almost 30% on ESPN alone and the T.V. deals are over. Asking for an increase from the networks may not go over well with such a drop in viewers.
NBCSN was down 6% and Univision was actually up 21% so time will tell what happens next year. Hopefully with the addition of a New York team and an Orlando Florida team popularity will rise again and we will see an increase in ratings, specifically in the North and South East. Talks of a possible Miami franchise have also been rumored between Don Garber and David Beckham, with investors including the likes of Lebron James adding a sense of stardom to the spectrum giving a more attractive feeling.
All in all 2014 will bring is undetermined and we will have to wait and see, let’s hope for an entertaining season full of adrenaline packed energy and undying momentum for Major League Soccer.