Wednesday, March 2, 2011

8 Questions for ESPN

Originally posted February 25, 2009

These questions for ESPN Soccer Programming Staff were sent to the highest levels at ESPN, and apparently they are afraid to answer these questions.  I wanted to know the answers to corroborate what a source at ESPN had told me.  I wanted a second source.  

While discussing ESPN’s relationship with MLS, the original source indicated that ESPN would like to see changes to Soccer that differs from how MLS sees things.  These are the questions I wanted answered.
  1. Are there rules changes to how soccer is being played that would make MLS more popular with sports fans in the U.S.?
  2. What does ESPN think would improve spectatorship and improve television ratings for MLS?
  3. Does ESPN feel that MLS is making a sufficient enough effort to attract sports fans to soccer? 
  4. Does ESPN think it is healthy to have an outside organization like FIFA dictating how things should function for MLS? 
  5. Does the Superliga and CONCACAF league play help or hurt the MLS? 
  6. Considering that the league plays from March to November, are 40 games for each team per season enough games to matter? 
  7. Did ESPN anticipate that soccer would replace hockey in popularity when it signed up with MLS?
  8.  Does ESPN think it would be a good idea for MLS to pair itself with a Women’s Pro League to play in the same cities and do doubleheaders (women’s game, then men’s game) for every time games are scheduled?

What questions would you ask ESPN, if given the opportunity to hear their real answers?

1 comment:

  1. 1. Yes, especially in regard to scoring.
    2. More scoring, more teams.
    3. No. ESPN would like MLS to promote ESPN content and ESPN's ability to profit from Soccer at the leagues expense.
    4. No. ESPN believes that TV is King, and that ESPN should serve the function of dictating how things should function at MLS.
    5. Anything that translates into more sellable airtime helps ESPN, ergo, it helps Soccer and hence MLS, etc.
    6. More is always better. See Question 5.
    7. No, ESPN is essentially a TV organization and hence congenitally ultra conservative (business-wise), opportunistic and reactionary. The fact that MLS replaced Hockey in popularity is a happy accident which ESPN will gladly take credit for.
    8. No, ESPN, as an authority on Sports Entertainment Marketing knows, as well as Joe Six-Pack, that with the exception of the USWNT, Girls Soccer should be left to the NCAA, where the Universities can subsidize it without having to concern themselves with making a profit. Women's Soccer is an EXPENSE, not a money-maker. Ergo ESPN is not interested.

    AJ for ESPN 8, "The Ocho"