Major League Soccer has announced its broadcast schedule for the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs.Â Every
game of the first round will be part of a national broadcast with ESPN/ESPN2 showing 4 games, FSC
showing 2 games and Telefutura showing 2 games.Â The Telefutura matches will also be shown on the
respective teams local broadcast partners.
Over the last couple of days, both of Major League Soccer's 2011 expansion teams have made key
"Founding Partner" announcements involving local banking institutions.Â The Portland Timbers
announced that Key Bank will be the exclusive banking partner of the Timbers starting in 2011.Â
The relationship will include a Key Bank Club and Plaza at the Timbers' newly renovated home.
Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, but if you have a cure for a four weeks of cough, cold
and exhaustion, please drop me a line.Â Voting season is over and, yes, we voted for Chris
Wondolowski for MVP with a certain Dallas midfielder picking up our second place vote.Â We gave
coach of the year to Jason Kreis, with Schellas Hyndman and Hans Backe following behind.
The MLS Playoffs are here and the eight teams entering the post season have been decided.Â
Under MLS'Â much criticized playoff format, there will be 6 representatives from the Western
Conference and 2 representatives from the Eastern Conference.Â As we did last year at this time,
we thought it worth taking a business look at the playoff teams.
The Wall Street Journal offers an interesting look at attendance in MLS by comparing it to NBA
attendance.Â While venue size is limiting for the NBA, the city by city comparison makes for
interesting reading.Â Teams like Philly and Houston outdraw their NBA counterparts.Â MLS will
never be the NFL, but outdrawing the NBA (and NHL) in many communities is quite a feat for the
Earlier in the season we conducted an interview with Greg Lalas, the editor-in-chief of
MLSSoccer.com.Â The trials and tribulations of the launch of the new site are well documented, but
there has been some significant improvement over the course of the year.Â Putting those issues
aside, we thought it worth taking a look at some of the business aspects of the site.
It is the time of year when votes are cast in Major League Soccer.Â These include the VW Most
Valuable Player, Visa Defender of the Year, Coach of the Year, X-Box Fair Play Award, adidas
referee awards and more (there are five with sponsors).Â Among the lesser known awards is the
"Team Public Relations Award".
The SBJ is reporting on the myriad of events presented by MLS at the upcomingÂ MLS Cup in
Toronto.Â As in past years, there will be industry events, fan evens and more.Â Home Depot and VW
will be the biggest sponsors of those events.Â Visa and EA Sports will also offer fan events,
including a $10,000 FIFA '11 tournament.
It was a big attendance weekend in MLS capped by more than 36k in Seattle and record setting 20k
plus in Salt Lake City.Â Philly brought more than 18k to PPK Park (significantly out drawing the
USMNT match from earlier in the week), and the Revs rode a host of promotions and group sales to
finishÂ out their home campaign with more than 18k.
I apologize for the lack of posts yesterday, some sickness is creeping through the office and
I've been hit dead on by the bug.Â Still trying to fight it off, but here are some business
thoughts for the weekend.Â We will start in Seattle and Toronto where the fans of both MLS clubs
have made their feelings about their respective front offices known.
We haven't broadcast blogged since the MLS All-Star game, so here is our take on the ESPN
broadcast of the USA/Colombia broadcast.Â Fortunately for soccer fans, the lead in for the match
was SportsCenter, so the telecast started on time.Â PPL Park looked empty during the intro and
Healy/Harkes was something of a surprise choice.
A while back we interviewed Chris Schlosser, then the Director of Digital Strategy for SUM,
about SUM's online advertising network.Â During that interview, Schlosser said the following:Â
"There are lots of other ad networks out there but I can guarantee you that none of them have
more experience or more focus on selling soccer.
We'll start our weekend recap in Chicago, where almost 32k saw an entertaining match between the
US and Poland.Â Soldier field was chosen as the venue for the match (rather than Toyota Park) and
the additional capacity was important.Â The crowd looked good and appeared to be a reasonable mix
of Polish and US fans.
With the season winding down, multiple teams in MLS are offering a variety of promotions to
encourage season tickets holders to renew.Â If you know of any such promotions in your area,
please shoot us a line in the comments section or send an e-mail.Â Here are a few of those
promotions.Â In Chicago, the Fire, are offering fans who renew before the end of the game Friday a
chance to win a game worn jersey from one of the Fire's starting 11.
As we do every so often, we thought we would take a look at some business stories covered by the
mainstream.Â We'll start with the Canadian Wire Service which has named FUSION as the official
sponsorship and advertising agency for the newly rebuilt BC Place.Â FUSION will largely be
responsible for bringing sponsorship opportunities to BC Place and locating potential
Bodog.net has announced a deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, to locate signage, banners and
television ads at the Home Depot Center.Â European soccer clubs have long maintained relationships
with gambling websites both in-stadium and on uniforms.Â MLS has been much more reluctant to
embrace gambling, and this new deal with Bodog represents a departure from previous MLS
Another big weekend in Major League Soccer with the ESPN game of the week capping off the
proceedings.Â While attendance was disappointing (for the much hyped SuperClassico), the match
presented a rare opportunity to see 3 US National Team members from the 2010 World Cup Team and
David Beckham in a prime time special.