Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MLS Power Rankings Updated: Go West My Tan-Faced Children

We loathe the International House of Soccer's insistence on the two divisions as it distorts the league standings and has virtually no impact whatsoever on who gets into the playoffs.  And although relegation is a long way off (if it ever happens in our lifetime--hopefully another 40 years or so), we hope the league will go to a single table much sooner.  But this post isn't really about any of that.  It's about MLS on television and the land of great Mexican food, medical marijuana, and the EPL "late" game with breakfast.

Take a look at our Power Rankings and the Single Table and you'll notice that the western teams currently dominate the league.  In the Power Rankings, 5 of the top 8 teams are out of the West; and in the single table 6 out of the top 8 teams play their home games west of the Mississippi.  Again, we have disdain for MLS' marketing strategy, but we think it's worth noticing that the best football in the league is currently being played far away from the Northeast corridor.  Other than the Red Bulls, the top teams in the "East" are actually in the Midwest.  And the majority of top teams in the league are either in the same time zone as Chicago or even further away from the nation's most densely populated region. Of course, the big standout exception is our beloved Crew who continue to contend for a third-straight Supporters Shield, which would do more than anything to demonstrate the invalidity of the two-division playoff scheme. (That's a post for another day).

MLS' business model is designed to insure big market teams like DC, NY, New England (Boston), Philly and Toronto can carry the load when it comes to television market share.  Let's face it, the Crew vs. New England on a Saturday night is one thing; the Crew vs. KC is something else.  The former includes greater Boston as one half of its potential audience, which is the nation's 7th largest television market; the latter includes the nation's 34th and 32nd largest markets respectively (who knew KC was bigger than C-Bus?).

All of this is simply to say that you can bet the suits at the IHOS are sweating a bit as the season unfolds.  Philly looks like they genuinely stink.  DC is drawing fewer of its rabid white-collar suburbanites out for a night of pseudo-hooliganism than their reputation would predict, and NE looks like its headed for yet another season of marginality.

As such, you might think we'd see more games on FSC from the major markets in the West this year than we would in the East.  Unfortunately, it's more likely Don Garber and the Sports Admin majors in the league offices will decide that mediocre football that caters to the fans in the Northeast corridor is a potentially more profitable product than great football that caters to the fan of the beautiful game.

Which brings us once more to the patron saint of American soccer: Papa Walt

Come my tan-faced children,

Follow well in order, get your weapons ready, Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes? Pioneers! O pioneers!

For we cannot tarry here, We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger, We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend, Pioneers! O pioneers!

O you youths, Western youths, So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship, Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the foremost, Pioneers! O pioneers!

1 comment:

Kerry Bouffioux said...

DC's attendance is actually up from last year, despite their obvious suckitude. crews about even so far. more warm weather, wins, and (what else starts with 'w' that influences attendance?). small market, big following. only 5K less fans than galaxy. c-bus til i die.