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Dahorah

> Make a shorter term deal now — at two or three years and possibly at a discount — with a broadcaster that will commit more resources to growing the league’s brand. Then try to reach a longer-term agreement in 2024 or 2025 when the next World Cup is near. I don't mind this approach. I think there is value is finding a broadcaster that will work to grow the league in addition to just showing its games on whatever channel it wants.


bluejams

But anyone who wants to grow with the league is probably less likely to take a short term deal.


wackyzebra43

You could work out a deal that "if you help grow the game and work on promoting the sport, you'll have right of first refusal in new deal"


Isiddiqui

>I think there is value is finding a broadcaster that will work to grow the league in addition to just showing its games on whatever channel it wants. Sure... if said broadcaster exists. Is there a possibility that someone like Turner has consistent national broadcasts with pre and post game shows? And a weekly MLS review show? Sure... is it likely? I don't know.


marker84

For the love of God, make it accessible and consistent. Sick of figuring out if the match is blacked out, on Twitter, ESPN, fs1, ESPN2 while Axe throwing competition finishes up or Univision. ESPN+ is fine but I still gotta search for matches on that damn thing. The UI sucks.


ngower

Yeah it kinda blows my minds that even the station isn't consistent. Like, if I knew ESPN had a Thursday night game or FS1 had a mid-day Sunday game or something that would go a long way. I still think MLS needs consistent kick-off times too. I know there might be cases where you have to reschedule the odd game here or there, but when the schedule is released shit should be like the 1/4/7 NFL schedule in terms of consistentcy.


FryTheDog

We can’t even get the league to tell us the proper start time of matches let alone standard kick off times


NextDoorNeighbrrs

The website shows all the actual kickoff times now.


FryTheDog

If only they’d update the times on my tickets


Scratchbuttdontsniff

MLS is INCREDIBLY STUPID to not have a scheduled televised Friday night match EVERY week and also Monday night ones when handegg is out of season. These are time slots that are not that appealing BUT it gives you consistency. Liga MX almost always has a Friday night match.... and I watch with a beer in hand.


Overthehightides

MLS used to have a televised Friday match every week and if I remember correctly did horrible ratings wise and got scrapped.


_tidalwave11

Because the friday match was on Univison/TDN.


johanspot

The ratings were actually good (as long as you include spanish stations) but attendance at the games was trash as I recall. In MLS teams need those gameday revenues.


martyboyradio

That's interesting and kind of surprising. Feel like all the fans I go to games with would love Friday night games (small amount, I know). I could see ATL selling out on a friday night. Do you think that would still be the case even now? With the growth in fanbases that MLS has seen in recent years?


EnglishHooligan

TBF, Atlanta United didn't even exist during the 2015/16 season when we had fixed times.


martyboyradio

Yeah I get that - that's why im asking if its fair to still use that same argument as to why they dont exist. Because viewership/attendance is all up. Could be worth a shot to try, even if its just selective teams and seldomly to start.


EnglishHooligan

Ah, got it. And yeah, agreed. It also doesn't help that Fox Sports 1 has been nerfed so hard over the last few years.


EnglishHooligan

That is usually thrown around but isn't true. Friday night games were with Univision who, oddly enough, still have a sort of fixed spot on Saturday afternoons. On Sunday, in 2015, we had FS1 and games on ESPN2, not the main ESPN. Whenever we were on ESPN, ratings were better and for FS1, we actually had better ratings on that channel than we do now but the number is always skewed at the end of the season because they include games shown on Fox in the average, whereas we didn't have any Fox games in 2015/16.


[deleted]

I’d just get rid of Fox and focus the Disney owned channels and streaming platforms. Unless people really want Warner-Turner.


DolitehGreat

Ah yes, just keep feeding the mouse more and more. I'd be fine with Warner just because it means less consolidation with Disney.


Skeptical_Yoshi

I mean, Time Warner isn't BETTER than Disney


[deleted]

Well I think we all want great coverage not mediocrity. So if it means not feeding the mouse then so be it.


DolitehGreat

I don't think there's any guarantee Disney will do any better than Warner. If Warner can replicate what they do for NBA games on TNT, it could be a big boon for the league.


kiddvideo11

So you don't want to grow MLS then?


Isiddiqui

You think ESPN is sufficiently growing MLS? Isn't this article exactly about how it isn't?


kiddvideo11

My thoughts are why would anybody be fine with less consolidation with Disney? IMO, all I care about is MLS is growing no matter who the broadcaster.


Isiddiqui

Because Disney treats MLS like a joke now. Why do you think it would do any better with more of it?


kiddvideo11

Everyone treats MLS like a joke. This isn't just a Mickey Mouse issue it's everyone.


DolitehGreat

How is ESPN getting exclusive rights going to help it grow more than Warner or anyone for that matter? I'm not MLS growth expert, but I do know just putting everything single thing on one service is a bad idea


kiddvideo11

IMO, we shouldn't be concerned with who is broadcasting games and be more interested in a bigger broadcast payout.


dlidge

Not sure Turner has time available for a primetime MLS package until the NBA and NHL seasons end each year. They’ve got huge live event time and money commitments with those leagues and with wrestling (laugh, but it outdraws pretty much everything else on cable). They’re also looking to cut costs after becoming part of Discovery. New management and all. If all that weren’t the case, the Turner networks would be great, as they do a really good job showcasing their sports properties.


EnglishHooligan

They can definitely give MLS weekend spots, just not afternoon spots, during the NBA/NHL season. Like, I don't think they have anything on Sunday after 5:00. Once the NBA/NHL season ends, have a game on Saturday afternoon as well.


dlidge

That would make sense. Would be good to have a regular, predictable slot to promote and grow in.


EnglishHooligan

Agreed. Even getting a streaming partner for that would be great. Get Apple TV+ for some Thursday night soccer etc.


comped

Exactly what most people (bar one blog in particular) want too.


FlyingCarsArePlanes

https://www.espn.com/watch/schedule?categoryId=119cfa41-71d4-39bf-a790-6273a52b0259 This page is bookmarked on my browser. It shows all the soccer games live right now on the ESPN networks.


marker84

Nice! This helps.


kojak2091

I know that other guy linked espn, but https://www.livesoccertv.com/schedules/ this site is basically perfect.


Mr_828

Just to throw another option for soccer schedules, FotMob has been a pretty good resource for me to keep track of games/when they're on/etc


chewie_were_home

Anything to get off Bally and blackouts. The lengths that I have to jump through to watch my home team is ridiculous. I have access to just about every single internet service and a VPN and I still can't watch half the games. It's infuriating.


Scratchbuttdontsniff

I mean... not to be a prick... but national games have nothing to do with Ballys... and Nord VPN and ESPN+ will let you watch LITERALLY every AUFC match on Ballys provided ALL of your location services are toggled off on every app and the device or laptop (including Chrome!).


Ocarina_of_Destiny

All that work just to watch Josef…… yikes!


Scratchbuttdontsniff

I mean I just suck it up and pay for DirecTV and never miss a match...


christophermeister

Which is insane that anyone should have to do that and definitely antithetical to growing the league.


Scratchbuttdontsniff

How so? The person is welcome to get cable or satellite and legally watch the matches on their local channel.... like folks that watch MLB, NBA and NHL all do... I subscribe to Directv and have never missed an Atlanta United match... shit ain't free... nor should it be...


christophermeister

Because cable and Satelite are basically dead men walking. There should be a way to follow your team for every game over the internet, something I ALWAYS have with me. I agree it’s something we should have to pay for, but it’s 2022 and we have literal jet packs and VR and shit, how the fuck can I not just pay 1 company regularly to watch my team and/or the league.


Scratchbuttdontsniff

Preaching to the choir... but the rich media conglomerates are all in bed with each other... Nowadays to order all the streaming packs that are required you end up paying just as much as you did with old cable bills... that's why I still have Directv... it's just less messy for me...


Isiddiqui

> Look no further to this Sunday, when ESPN held its first MLS doublheader of the season — directly against two NBA playoff Game 7s being shown on ABC and produced by ESPN. Uh... you mean two of the best ESPN ratings of the season?


eddygeeme

I literally been saying this since the season started it almost seemed intentional. Whether it was who knows. But it's nice to see it acknowledge that putting MLS on vs NBA impacts its viewership. This past weekend wasn't as bad as earlier in the year where ESPN had games literally starting the same time and starting midway into the ABC NBA games.


mikepizzadude

“The 2022 league average attendance is around 16,000”. Not sure where they got this figure. The average is 20,000 by my count (from the MLS website)


eddygeeme

To be honest the author made A LOT of erroneous claims. Claiming NWSL was crushing in viewership vs MLS...ummm he also claimed this was the first double header again false. Seemed like a deadline publish.


_tidalwave11

NWSL is definitely doing better in ratings. But they also have games OTA


eddygeeme

No its definitely not lol I just looked it up and yeah I'm right NWSL isn't doing better in ratings. It probably felt that way because NWSL fans and critical versus MLS media that don't know the difference be5ween Broadcast and cable were celebrating NWSL getting g 450k vs MLS getting 250k on cable. It was definitely one of those this doesn't mean what you think it does moments. Another example of media putting something out there Into the infosphere that easily gets believed as common knowledge. MLS Average will go up as ABC still has 9 OTA Windows for the summer and FOX has 4 more during the summer. Majority of MLS OTA was up against March Madness/NBA Playoff games NWSL CBS Average Viewership Windows -456k -461k -368k Avg 428k MLS FOX/ABC Viewership Windows -450k ABC -436k FOX -475k FOX -359k FOX -623k FOX Avg 469k


Loss_Bandage

If only paid journalists would have done the research like you just did.


eddygeeme

Lol see why MLS has to pay to get correct info out. A quick trip to ShowBuzzDaily is all that Forbes guy needed to do. That's all I did. But when you do journalism off of Twitter vibes that's what you get. Most solid journalist will source their work with embedded links. This guy sourced what he heard mentioned so it must be legit common knowledge. Just like politics.


messick

>Angel City’s match against the San Diego Wave last month in the preseason NWSL Challenge Cup averaged 456,000 viewers on CBS, which the L.A. Times reported as being 180,000 viewers more than the average Major League Soccer telecast from last season.


eddygeeme

Ok now use some deduction here. That's OTA vs a average across cable. For the record MLS averaged 285k across cable. NWSL doesn't draw well on TV. The fans don't watch consistently its why ESPN didn't renew their deal games were only getting 80-100k when they airred them. Grant Wahl is just a big of a proponent of women's soccer as anyone and even he said on Twitter for folks to stop trying to pin NWSL vs MLS and using the OTA CBS numbers vs MLS numbers on cable because they were two separate things Apple to Oranges. The author is just off on his facts it's not well researched its more of a opinion piece. He does well on that part but the citations and facts are lacking.


messick

Lol, I'll make sure this one gets added to the weekly ratings excuses post.


eddygeeme

Oh are you that guy lol sure. But if you are really claiming NWSL has better Ratings than MLS you'll surely buy my bridge for sale in Brooklyn. Look if you are just gonna be a parody account say that but stay in that lane and not try to be that Stat guy or girl. I mean you can literally look up this stuff you can find historical reference of NWSL TV Ratings and viewership. There's a reason much of the games are on non Nielsen rated CBSSN along with other lower rated programs. NWSL has a nice set up get a handful 5 or so games on CBS and the rest on CBSSN where it's not important how low a rating it draws.


Loss_Bandage

Facts to these people are like garlic to vampires.


eddygeeme

Well I just try to get some of them to own up to why they even hang around a MLS reddit site and it's to troll us real fans of the league to get info. That and ai suspect a good bit are just fans of their team and actually don't give a rip about MLS likely mainly Liga MX fans or a fan of a particular MLS team and just happens to be in a city with a MLS team so throw a flair on and get to trolling.


space_coyote6

I'm not sure why everyone expects the World Cup to save MLS. Soccer ratings are not down, MLS is just losing ground to other leagues. I'm not sure how the world cup fixes that, it actually might accelerate it since most of the stars of a World Cup play in those competitor leagues and not in MLS. Make a short play to wait for what? It seems far from guaranteed that the World Cup will help MLS. A kid watches the World Cup, is really impressed with Mbappe or Pulisic or Alphonso Davies and decides to start watching them on streaming ... How does that help MLS?


T-Rob-95

It seems like more big leagues from Europe are wayyy more accessible in the US in recent years. It definitely makes me feel the need to prioritize which ones I want to watch even though they don't usually overlap much timing-wise.


electricbookend

Yeah, I like to watch EPL and Bundesliga in the winter, but the overlap months with MLS and NWSL are hard. MLS comes first and Bundesliga comes last just because it’s easier to avoid spoilers as they get less press here. I usually don’t get to those for a day or two


T-Rob-95

Totally! I've loved having Bundesliga on ESPN, the Disney bundle for streaming is basically a no-brainer, and the EUFA competitions and NWSL make Paramount+ worth it. Even with just those there's too much for me to keep up with haha


T-Rob-95

Not to mention La Liga and Serie A on each respectively!


comped

Shit, if you know where to look, you can legally watch something like 100 football leagues from around the world...


T-Rob-95

Yeah that's true for sure! I was more thinking of how much easier it is to even just stumble upon them with some of the basic subscriptions you might already have. I remember really struggling to stream even just a few years ago, since they were withheld on only the premium packages and didn't have the deals they have now.


comped

Youtube is amazing for it, particularly smaller leagues. I have a list on a spreadsheet somewhere...


fcdemergency

>A kid watches the World Cup, is really impressed with Mbappe or Pulisic or Alphonso Davies and decides to start watching them on streaming ... How does that help MLS? So one day Billy decides he wants to watch a game in person. Short of buying a plane ticket to Europe, what are his options?


space_coyote6

Yes, MLS has a great local experience and that's what they've built the league off of. The problem MLS has is that people who attend the matches locally for the great experience don't watch national TV games not involving their club, which is one of the reasons why the TV ratings remain low. This doesn't seem like it would help that problem either, so it's hard to see how this works as a play for TV


fcdemergency

Yeah but you didn't mention the national ratings in your OP. That is seemingly a separate issue people are still trying to answer/ find a solution for. To say though that WC, especially 2026 WC, would not "help MLS" or yield some net positive interest in the league is kinda silly.


space_coyote6

This is an article talking about the national TV contract. So my OP was based on that context.


fcdemergency

Fair enough.


cynicalberg83

I think it could make more people “American” soccer fans. Watching the USMNT as a kid during the 2014 WC is what made me love soccer and even today I watch MLS mostly to scout USMNT players or prospects. You’re definitely right though that people will also become entranced with the big stars and not watch MLS much after this WC. I think it still could create more fans generally who might be more likely to watch an MLS game from time to time.


_tidalwave11

One of the best parts of the World Cup is that it 100% increases interest in the sport and is one of the few times where trickle down works. The world watches the WC even if you're in America and not American but just like soccer you still watch the WC. You might find you like soccer, and find out there is a local team..maybe you watch a game on tv or go to a live game etc. That will happen Also, the US isnt the only Nat team whose players ply their trade in MLS. Alex Callens is Peru's starting CB. We have Canadian guys, a few Mexican Nat players play in MLS, Polish, etc etc. And there is ALWAYS at least 1-2 players that move to MLS post world cup. You bring them over and interest also grows. Remember.... MLS itself is a byproduct of the 94 World Cup being in the US.


lawvol

>But through a third of the current MLS season, outward appearances are that the current partners on the English-language side have little interest in trying to grow the league’s reach. Forbes calling it out as well. Leave ESPN and Fox. Go with the new Warner Bros. Discovery mega company which houses Turner plus the future combined HBO Max / Discovery+ streaming service. Make consistent broadcast times with studio shows pre and post match. Show the proof of concept for the next few years and cash in with the 2026 World Cup on the back of a new deal.


bluejams

Like everything accept the last line. It's going to be hard to convince an outlets to put resources into pregame/postgame/advertising etc if you aren't going to guarantee them long term rights.


lawvol

Then set it up as an option deal. 4 years guaranteed with WB/Discovery option for 4 more years at a price point that makes MLS owners happy. Provides the same incentive to grow the ratings, but gives them an out if the investment that they think it will take doesn't pan out.


Isiddiqui

>Make consistent broadcast times with studio shows pre and post match. Will Turner do that, though? There is an assumption someone will, but we're not entire sure that's the case. ESPN/FS1/Univision used to have consistent start times a few years back (ESPN/FS1 doubleheaders on Sundays, Viernes de Futbol on Unimas on Fridays). It didn't lead to ratings improvements so the broadcast partners went back to filling games when they felt like it.


EnglishHooligan

The consistent start seasons were 2015 and sort of 2016. 2015 had pretty much all games on ESPN 2 and FS1 ratings were better than they are today but have games from Fox network added into the average.


[deleted]

I got a feeling they are going to stay on with Disney. If the deal is right they should take it, ESPN, ABC, and FX can be used for nationally televised games and the rest of the games on ESPN+ (not much different from what they do now). The league does need better coverage and better advertising along these networks tho.


comped

God I hope so!


bergobergo

I have been a huge Timbers fans for years now (although that's been on a decline recently for obvious reasons) and I know a ton of die hard fans, and I don't know a single person IRL who watches an MLS game not involving the Timbers. Maybe the all-star game, and maybe a playoff game or two. I don't know how they change that, and they won't get good ratings until they do. If I want to watch a random soccer game not involving my team, the array of options I have that are orders of magnitude more fun and of a higher level than MLS is astounding.


atxtj

I guess I'm an outlier but I watch a ton of MLS. In fact, bc of schedule alignment I've prob seen almost as many Timbers matches as I have ATX matches. I also watch other soccer too so it's not just MLS.


scuac

I like soccer in general, and other than Sounders I occasionally tune in for matches that seem interesting (this includes some Portland games, especially vs LA teams, or teams that feature players from my country). I know this is anecdotal but I am sure I am not the only one. But I would suspect that there are very few people that watch more than a couple of MLS games per month that don't involve their team.


_tidalwave11

This is the case for most people. I will be sure to watch NYCFC but will occasionally watch another team play if the matchip is interesting or if one happens to be on one day. I dont actively seek games.


Isiddiqui

I enjoy watching the other teams in MLS simply because there is an anything can happen sort of feeling you don't get with a lot of other leagues. Heck, I've watched quite a few San Jose games because they tend to be the only games on really late on Saturday night... and they tend to be ridiculously nuts the last few years (they embody #MLSAfterDark to me)


samspopguy

Other then football most sports are going this way niche sports that mostly only fans if they team are going to watch when their team is in the game.


Loss_Bandage

The awful U.S. Bundesliga and Serie A ratings are proof that its not just the level of play.


LazloStPierre

Same. They need to get me interested in all teams, first, and I think key to that would be a really consistent, well produced weekly round up show with interviews and in studio analysis. Show me bits of all the action and get me invested in all the teams and players in a way that isn't a big commitment first and I'll naturally be more invested in upcoming games not involving TFC. Doesn't need to be more than a tight hour, 90 minutes tops. Back when I lived in Ireland Sky Sports ran an hour show on La Liga called Revista De La Liga and that show meant I'd suddenly be invested in things like relegation battles, European spot matches etc that I wouldn't otherwise have been


johanspot

yeah, I am pretty happy to have MLS on in the background if I am doing nothing else, but it is exceedingly rare that I will go out of my way to watch an MLS game that Atlanta is not playing in. There just isn't much reason for me to care since the MLS regular season is pretty irrelevant. This is where I again start looking for ways to make more group stage tournaments within the MLS regular season schedule to give people a reason to watch games their own team isn't playing in.


eddygeeme

Totally disagree I'm not gonna judge you though. I think from personal experience there's a arc in fandom. In the early 2010s for about a 5 yr period I was in this boat where my viewership was very casual. It hasn't been until the last 3 to 4 yrs where I make it a effort to watch games or at least put on a ESPN+ stream or stream it on my Xfinity stream so my viewership counts and helps the league grow.


johanspot

> It hasn't been until the last 3 to 4 yrs where I make it a effort to watch games or at least put on a ESPN+ stream or stream it on my Xfinity stream so my viewership counts and helps the league grow. you are now personally invested in what ratings MLS gets, that is an entirely different conversation. You care what the rating number is and whether your view counts, you aren't watching because you find it to be the best option for what you want to watch.


eddygeeme

Well yeah it goes into fandom though. I think even if you start off watching from that angle you'll discover some entertaining soccer and that's how it sucks you in. I admit tho I was at where you are now in the early 2010s when the soccer was A LOT rougher to watch. I'm telling you if you make it a effort slow build on it you'll get hooked or rather sucked into the MLS eco system. But that's part of the issue MLS has a lot of fans in the US I'd say more than EPL. But MLS fandom is VERY casual. MLS needs to do a better job of turning even 10% of the casual fandom into die hards. Not every casual fan will develop into a hardcore like I did. It was a long journey from following 1 or 2 games a yr before Beckham to actively seeking some games out here and there when Becks arrived to going to meh ok I guess in the early 2010s to now full fledged me and my 15 yr old son watching games on ESPN+ in the background on weekends and yelling up and down the stairs hey did you just see that.


johanspot

I am probably in the top .5% of MLS fans for how many MLS games I watch and am a hardcore fan by any reasonable measure. I just don't think that MLS gives me a reason to go out of my way to watch games Atlanta is not playing in.


eddygeeme

I can't understand that not built that way as a fan but I guess.


ramerica

I don’t seek out many other MLS games, but I’ll end up throwing one on if I’m bored and already looking at ESPN+


gogorath

Forbes.com is pretty trash, but I do think that MLS has continued to make long term investments, and the right move here is consistency and access/exposure. Give up some short term cash for visibility. And as the rest of the world's league go more and more pay per view for the money, you'll get more eyeballs.


MGHeinz

My question is this: Was it a mistake to un-pair the MLS and USNT rights, or is it still too early to answer that question?


comped

It was, but they won't realize it for years. Especially if the USMT/WMT make strong world cup runs.


samspopguy

I assumed that was Ussoccer not selling their rights to sum not that sum didn’t want to pair the rights


comped

I mean either way it was a bad idea, and resulted in USMT games being ported over to HBO Max, a service definitely not known for sports...


_tidalwave11

Too early. Part of MLS strategy is also with the local team broadcasts. They could possible have a net gain considering the league only got like 60mil a year after USSF took its cut for USMNT


Sermokala

Everyone is in a waiting pattern until the indian cricket rights are sorted. Lots of crazy proposals flinging around that from a simple rights deal to a buyout of the whole show and an expansion into the united states. If espn doesn't get the cricket rights id expect a deal to be signed. The idea of a short term espn+ no blackouts deal is best for fans but money talks.


comped

Surely the US rights are seperate from India's domestic rights, no? Or is the auction world-wide rights only? Hotstar needs domestic rights to continue being successful in India, but ESPN doesn't really need the US rights... And what's this about expanding globally with new teams?


Sermokala

The rights to it are hundreds of millions or more. They will greatly effect the budgets of these companies and the loser will want to get an mls deal to counter the press it would get. Yeah there are rumors google is going to buy the ipl and start an 8 team league in America.


comped

Why the hell would Google buy it? Also Major League Cricket is already a thing!


Sermokala

There are a lot of people in india. A lot of people. Mlc doesn't attract the same level of talent that the ipl does. They want to cross polinate the fans by bringing talent that plays in india to come to America and to then broadcast the American games in india. There are a lot of very rich indians in America as well. It's the richest minority in America.


[deleted]

So essentially are they no longer looking for nationally televised games?


Sermokala

If that's what you want to take out that sure why not.


[deleted]

Lol nah I was just asking.


ravegreener

Shit, you just reminded me that KKR are playing Lucknow right now!


shuffleupagus

As long as I don't have to listen to the TUDN broadcast team again, I'll be happy


lionnyc

Don't believe everything Steve Forbes writes


kurapikas-wife

Doesn't look like negotiations are going well


Loss_Bandage

You really can't make that determination from anything Forbes writes. The writer basically did little to no research.


johanspot

Well, forbes is really just a blog now so this article doesn't matter. But yeah, I think the fact that nothing has been announced means that it isn't going well.


Loss_Bandage

That is a weird way to look at things.


johanspot

How do you figure? The league expected to announce a deal months ago. That is pretty much the definition of a negotiation not going well.


messick

I, a successful businessman, also think that investing resources into a product just so someone else can reap all the benefits at my expense is a sound strategy.