After writing about the MLS and the Vancouver Whitecaps this season, I am disappointed in the MLS Cup Playoff coverage. So far, in Vancouver, there have only been 2 of the 6 MLS Playoff games televised, the Montreal Impact game and the first leg of the New York Red Bulls versus the Houston Dynamo. I don’t have the full blown television package offered by my cable provider but I do have the sports package, which means I should be able to find these games. Unfortunately for me and other MLS fans, the 2nd Season is missing in action.
The part that was baffling to me was that out of all the games shown, they were Eastern Division games in a Western market. Vancouver’s Cascadia Cup rivals are playing each other and the fans in Vancouver aren’t able to watch the game that potentially draws the most interest, something seems wrong with this scenario.
I have not been critical of the MLS, as the league is still rather young in comparison to the rest of the North American sports heavyweights, but if they want their fan base to continue to grow here is an easy and obvious way to assist in that growth. I haven’t watched the NBA or much of the MLB the last 5 years or so but come playoff time, it is hard to avoid the games on TV, which does result in me becoming a viewer and in some of those playoff seasons, they have successfully re-engaged me in their product for the post season.
I do applaud the MLS for putting the TV Schedules on the website for fans to know where to go to watch the game but it only highlights my disappointment in the lack of exposure. The second leg of competition for the Portland Timbers versus Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake versus the LA Galaxy are available on a National broadcast in Canada but the Eastern games are not available. In fact, the nationally broadcasted feed for the second leg of the Eastern games are on Direct Kick, a premium channel which soccer fans may have paid for but not your fringe fans. Along that same vein, the 1st legs of the Conference Finals are only available in Canada on the French sports station. I know I will be able to get the US feed of NBC Sports for one of the games but it still seems foolish to me to have such a limited viewership scenario at such a substantial part of the season.
The MLS Commissioner needs to get these games on TV to the mass audience; I hope he has this near, if not on, the top of his off-season to do list.
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