Saturday, July 30, 2005
All-Star Misconceptions ...
I think the outpouring of venom about the MLS All-Star Game is misdirected and that a lot of the people who don't really enjoy MLS' version of the midseason classic are missing the real point of the game.

It has nothing to do with the game.

In most industries there is a yearly convention which allows people from disparate locations to come together, meet face-to-face and do the deals away from the convention hall that are really impossible to do over the phone or via email. Most conventions (and I've been to a lot of them) have nothing to do with the actual stuff on the showroom (or convention room) floor. Sure, you'll walk around and see what the latest gizmos for the industry are but that's not the real reason you're there. The real reason is that Joe from SuperCorp on the West Coast that you don't get to see except once a year is going to be there and you just know you can push through a deal to be their supplier. That's why you're there.

The MLS All-Star Game is the same thing. It's a point during the year to get a large number of media, agents, players and decision makers in the same place so they can talk, do interviews and schmooze sponsors with everyone in the same location. This kind of personal interaction is invaluable and having it during the middle of the season, instead of at the end of the season when all the good feelings dissapate within a week, the gains display themselves over the course of the second half of the season.

Oh, and it's a game featuring an MLS team broadcast nationally on ABC. Sure, the 3:30 p.m. start time sucks (especially when the game is in L.A.) and I'd love to see it be its current setup (MLS stars vs. a big team) broadcast at 8pm on ABC, but I like what we have.

It gets people talking about MLS and, if that's the only legacy of the All-Star game, I'm fine with that.

4 Comments:

Blogger Eric PZ said...

Oh boy do I disagree with you there. I mean, the only point of having the playoffs and the Cup Final is to do the same, right? Don't they do that there? How 'bout the draft? Don't they schedule the draft to coincide with some soccer related convention?

It just amazes me that Garber can say they have all kinds of scheduleing problems yet they take a week out of the middle of the season to play a meaningless game like this. In addition, they spend resources to produce a major event like this. Yeah, they tie it into sponsorship deals, but how much ROI are the sponsors getting here when no one is really watching?

I'll be interested to see how good their viewership ratings were for the game yesterday? Were there enough people interested in the product? Would the resources used have been better used elsewhere?

2:32 PM  
Blogger D said...

Dawg --
Like Eric, I'm gonna dissent on this one. You make an interesting point regarding the networking opportunities, and the nat'l television exposure, but my outpouring of venom is because I don't think that a national television broadcast of MLS Stars vs. a mid level EPL team was the best way to show-off MLS talent. It was a game that, if we failed to win it, would be interpreted as MLS's immaturity compared to the rest of the world. For godsakes, Wynalda predicted a 3-1 win, and that was just to meet expectations.

Also, consider the various viewers tuning in from across the country. Why should any of the expansion cities have tuned in? Did a Chivas or RSL player even play in the game? Isn't part of the fun of an all-star game tuning in to see how a player from your team stacks up with the best? With a West v East format, we might have seen a player from the expansion sides make it in. As it is, the fans of the expansion side could feel (maybe unjustly) snubbed by the entire experience.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous jcmartins said...

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6:24 PM  
Blogger maradawga said...

Hey JC,

Go right ahead.

6:40 PM  

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