Turns out Decision Day was a bust by the only metric that matters. The TV ratings were abysmal, the polite way to say that they were beyond bad.
It’s hard to spin a whopping 64,000 for the Galaxy vs Dallas and another 141,000 for Seattle vs Real Salt Lake. We can assume the difference between those two is that the Galaxy – Dallas game was on ESPN2 while Seattle and RSL played on Fox Sports 1. There’s certainly not a reason to believe that so many more people turned on the Sounders – Salt Lake game because they thought it was the better match-up.
The quick takeaway is don’t schedule against the National Football League. Right there behind it is the bright idea to run two MLS games at the same time on different national cable outlets. Running a far distant third is that these games did better than several games from European leagues. That has more to do with too many options from those leagues than it does with MLS, but feel free to get lost in the weeds.
Here’s the thing, the TV ratings are already the biggest story for MLS. It’s been that way through many years, several TV partners, and multiple attempts at finding the right fit. What MLS faces is an inability to compete directly with the bigger North American sports pro and college alongside a marketplace flooded with soccer-specific options. Follow whatever team you want in even marginal leagues from anywhere else. Chances are, you can see them play on some cable channel.
This isn’t news, but there’s at least the suggestion that MLS will break through in spite of this. That’s different than asking why they should have to compete in such a saturated marketplace. It’s easy enough to laugh at MLS overplaying their appeal in the United States. It’s right there in the name, the joke that’s kept on giving since 1996. But what if MLS is facing a TV landscape where they’ll never have a fair chance? What happens then?
Moving on, Vancouver’s Giles Barnes wins the final regular season MLS Player of the Week award. Barnes scored twice in the 4-1 win that knocked Portland out of playoff contention. The Oregonian’s Tony Hernandez reports on two Timbers players charged with DUI. In the lower divisions, the United Soccer League announced that Tampa Bay and Ottawa are joining their league from the NASL.
ESPN FC’s Graham Hunter wonders if Barcelona is overdependent on their best player. The National’s Andy Mitten explains the situation for Sevilla in La Liga. World Soccer’s Nick Bidwell has for Hamburg. Goal.com’s Seth Vertelney explains Christian Pulisic’s father Mark’s role at Borussia Dortmund.
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