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MLS Cup Considerations

The league usually announces the site of MLS Cup about a year in advance, but the 2009 process is taking much more longer than usual. Why? From what I am hearing, the day of the week and the TV window are at the root of the discussions. All 13 MLS Cups have been held on a Sunday afternoon and this year's final was tentatively scheduled for early in the day (Eastern time) on a Sunday.

But league officials are exploring the possibility of playing this season's MLS Cup on a Saturday evening, which would allow Seattle to be seriously considered. The other venues mentioned to me were Toronto, Chicago and Foxborough. Of those four, however, only Chicago has a natural grass surface and all four might have late-November weather issues.

Where would you like to see the game played? Any of those four? Or should the league go back to one of the reliable warm-weather sites (Dallas/Los Angeles)? At some point, MLS should probably allow the highest seed to host the final, but until every team is the primary tenant in their home stadium, that is probably not possible.

By Steve Goff  |  February 11, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

I'm fine with any of the sites as long as we end up with a Saturday game instead of a Sunday game.

Posted by: BHO_Arlington | February 11, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Fake grass, gridlines and oversized stadiums. MLS is taking this "Retro" fad a bit too far.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 11, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I dated myself with the word "retro." I meant "throwback" or "old school" or whatever word the kids are getting jiggy with these days.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 11, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Sunday night at 8pm EST makes every league site a possibility, but a soccer specific stadium is a must. Seattle would be great cause they are going to post a big crowd, no matter what and they can start the game at 5pm there.

MLS needs EXPOSURE and a rowdy show!

Posted by: Ruthie1 | February 11, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yes, MLS, please, please, PLEASE change the game time from early Sunday.

PLEASE. For the good of soccer in this country, I beg you to change it.

I know Saturday evenings are traditionally thought to be bad TV nights. But early Sunday games, often in the morning on the West Coast, are horrible. It makes the whole thing feel really unimportant, which is exactly NOT what MLS needs for its marquee match of the year.

It's wonderful to hear that this is even under consideration. Awesome.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | February 11, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Any of these would do for me

Seattle
LA
RSL's Rio Tinto
Giants Stadium

as for the kickoff and day

Saturday
5pm PT / 8pm ET

Don't mind plastic/natural field, just make sure there are no other markings than soccer on it.

Posted by: Ben7LA | February 11, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'll be watching from my living room in Nevada. Go USA!
http://www.sawker.com

Posted by: dave61 | February 11, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm - I agree with the thoughts about it not being feasible to host on a week's notice at the site of the highest seed - however, that does need to happen in the future. Let it be the reward for the home supporters. Seems to work for everyone but the NFL.

I care that the game goes where it can get the most attendance. Weather and turf be cursed. If it's 20 degrees but there are 45,000 people at Qwest screaming their heads off - that's good TV. If you have to truck in a real grass surface to Toronto or to Seattle as well - so be it.

I care that MLS Cup looks on TV like it did in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002. I and the suits and TV watching public cares negatively when the game looks half full and with a bored atmosphere. Don't listen to the stadium guys who want the extra date for the $$$, listen to the market that says - give us the game and we'll give you the whole show.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 11, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Jiggy?!!!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 11, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Sunday afternoon games suck!

Anyone have any ratings figures for recent MLS Cups? I'm assuming they are low, so will a low TV rating on a Saturday evening really make much difference?

I'd rather have a good size crowd with a Saturday night atmosphere for the championship match.

Posted by: Tweaked | February 11, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

>I'd rather have a good size crowd with a Saturday night atmosphere for the championship match.

It's a no-brainer -- and MLS figured it out this year, as you can tell from DCU's schedule.

Posted by: Reignking | February 11, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

please, for the love of god, NO ARTIFICIAL TURF! if i played in a league that allowed the biggest match of the year to be played in turf, i would be looking at 2nd division clubs in Switzerland, too.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 11, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The problem with both Saturday and Sunday nights is the massive NCAA and NFL Football audiences around the country. You may not like "pointyball" or whatever other derisive term you've assigned to the sport, but the fact of the matter is that ABC won't give up their Saturday night nationally televised football spot, and they're not going to go head-to-head with Sunday night football on NBC. That's called fighting a losing battle. Sunday late morning or noon kickoff is the best way to maximize viewing.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | February 11, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any ratings figures for recent MLS Cups? I'm assuming they are low, so will a low TV rating on a Saturday evening really make much difference?

Posted by: Tweaked | February 11, 2009 11:53 AM

It matters to Disney if the ratings are low. Would they really want something on in prime time on ABC/ESPN if it's not going to get a good number? Last time I checked, college football does pretty well there.

And what channel are they looking at for a Saturday night final? Would you all be as psyched if it's Saturday night, but moved from ABC to ESPN2?

Posted by: Kev29 | February 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Anywhere Saturday & grass can be had

Posted by: KireDCU | February 11, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan's house

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 11, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

New Orleans.

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 11, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

No artificial turf EVER!. Even when DC United is in the MLS Cup, if it was played on plastic, it would be toss-up whether I watch or not. Probably would :) ,but I hate hate hate fake grass and any team that plays on it.

Posted by: boda-united | February 11, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Soccer specific stadium and NO RUBBER FIELD!!!!

Posted by: silverrey | February 11, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

It matters to Disney if the ratings are low. Would they really want something on in prime time on ABC/ESPN if it's not going to get a good number?
Posted by: Kev29 | February 11, 2009 12:15 PM

Apparently the 2008 MLS Cup TV rating was 0.7 and 2007 was 0.8

Could it be any worse with a Saturday night broadcast?

Posted by: Tweaked | February 11, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't care where it's played (Seattle sounds nice) as long as the game is on a Saturday night. Sunday games at 9am PST are so mickey mouse (literally and figuratively).

Posted by: sobugged1 | February 11, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Could it be any worse with a Saturday night broadcast?

Posted by: Tweaked | February 11, 2009 2:29 PM

But the question on Saturday night is where Disney and MLS agree to put it. It wouldn't be on ABC - period. It almost certainly would not be shown on ESPN due to college football. I doubt it would really even bump college football from ESPN2 on a Saturday night.

This is all about TV. MLS will work with Disney to find a slot. Like Steve said earlier, Sunday afternoon is most likely. Maybe a Sunday 3:30 ET kickoff on ABC.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 11, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You guys know that Disney is a Sounders sponsor right?

Sure you guys can have the MLS Cup at my house... Just be sure to speak up when you knock. Yo, I-270! You're name isn't Dave is it?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 11, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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