You may not have known this but the MLS season kicked off this past Saturday. Don’t worry, I didn’t realize this either until Saturday afternoon either, and I am what would be considered a pretty big soccer fan. God forbid MLS did a little marketing. Seriously, I know NBC isn’t a broadcast partner of the league but could you not buy airtime during Premier League matches to maybe catch the attention of some casual fans?
Based on his position in the league I’m going to assume MLS commissioner Don Garber is a smart man. I mean, you can’t rise up that high in the business world if you’re a complete idiot right? That’s still a big assumption because rarely, if ever, does Mr. Garber ever do something that would make me think he’s smart. Often he’s doing quite the opposite.
The list of Garber grievances is quite long. Refusing to sell Landon Donovan to Everton. Claiming MLS would soon be competing with Europe’s top leagues. Openly fighting with the head coach of the US Men’s National Team (regardless of who started it). Not admitting that MLS was better off as a selling league until 10 years too late. The way he chooses expansion franchises with parameters that either don’t make sense or aren’t followed. The complex transfer rules that make even less sense. The god damn MLS schedule (that’s a post for another time – and it’s coming)!
Apparently Mr. Garber has no idea how to market his league either.
This weekend was the first game for expansion franchise FC Cincinnati. I don’t care for them but I’m sure that was pretty exciting for the fans of the club. FC Cincinnati came up from the USL, where they already had a very substantive and impressive following.
Jumping to the MLS is a great chance for them to really increase their footprint in a market that is pretty dormant when it’s not football season, just like what we’ve seen happen in Seattle and Atlanta. Opening weekend would have been a great chance to show off this great new club for the city.
So what did the MLS do? They had them open on the road. In Seattle.
Seriously, not only could MLS not give FC Cincinnati a home game on their first ever weekend but they had to have them play at 10pm local time on a Saturday night! Who’s watching that?
FC Cincinnati’s new stadium won’t be ready until 2021, so this isn’t a let’s make them play a lot of road games at the beginning of the season situation. There could be other factors at play that I’m not aware of, but you couldn’t find an opponent within the same time zone?
MLS may say they’re trying to grow the game in this country but I swear sometimes it’s just really hard to believe them.