Saturday, November 12, 2011

Should MLS Have Played Cup Final on Veteran's Day?

Veteran's Day should not be looked at as a day for marketing sports, but it became that yesterday for college basketball. The 'Carrier Classic' looks like it may be the signature event for the start of every NCAA College basketball season from now on.  There was an unbelievable feeling in the air.  It was the first basketball game at this level to be played outdoors for the first time in a long time.

The emotions ran deep in this inaugural game being played on an important holiday of remembrance in front of the President.  For players, it was something different and a lot of fun to be executing game plans on a military ship.

Holidays, in general, are marketing opportunities for sports.

MLK Day has become a big day for the NBA, as is Xmas.  New Year's Day has been associated with College football for years and lately the NHL has promoted its biggest regular season game on it too, playing outdoors.  The NFL has owned Thanksgiving and MLB has owned Independence Day.  MLB also plays a full schedule on Memorial Day and Labor Day.

An argument can be made that the NCAA College basketball game on the USS Carl Vinson stole the limelight from MLS.  What if MLS decided to have its Cup played on Veteran's Day?

Yesterday's sports headlines would not have been College basketball dominated, but may have been more about the culmination of an MLS season (this is taking the whole Penn State Scandal out of the equation-which goes much beyond the box score).

MLS has not had any recent big associations with the military, including no games being scheduled for Memorial Day.  MLS could try and make Veteran's Day into MLS Cup day, have a big celebration to honor Vets and invite the President.

Soccer has a rich history in the U.S., maybe not as glorified as the other team sports, but the sport has involvement at all levels, including the military.  MLS should embrace American heritage.  It should be bold, rather than bashful, when it comes to celebrating U.S. military history.  Using American holidays to build traditions are how sports have gained more popularity with sports fans.

Next year, Veteran's Day 2012 falls on a Sunday, just like this year's Cup.  Hopefully, MLS can integrate Veteran's Day to become part of its 'Cup' day.

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