Tuesday, March 13

Stories Of the Day: Executive Decisions

Looks like today ended up being all about the men behind the desk, most of them with powerful wallets:

Where have you been? The following was the comment from Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports, during the Portland Timbers match Monday night’s contest:
"I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been in the sports business, I’ve been with NBC for 34 years, and I have never seen anything like this tonight. This has blown me away,” Miller said to a media scrum at halftime of Portland’s 3-1 win. “I’ve been to NFL playoff games, and World Series game sevens, and this fanbase should be really proud of itself.”
That is a great testament for the boisterous MLS faithful that are continuing to grow around the league. The shame is that Miller seems completely shocked by this, something you would not expect of a top executive of a sports network that bid on purchasing the television rights to the league. To me, that does not seem very well informed. Granted, sports programming is driven by the numbers – ratings, butts in seats, advertising dollars, etc – while news programming, far too often, is driven by vivid imagery. I guess the good news is that perhaps the impressive audio and visual display made Monday night will have a long-term impact on the ratio of games aired on NBC versus NBC Sports – a significant difference. After all, they air a dozen hockey games currently on the ‘mother’ station as opposed to the three regular season MLS contests.       

Unfair Scheduling amidst CCL: Bubbling beneath the surface with the Los Angeles Galaxy seems to be a little bit of jealousy… or maybe just plain old disgust. You can’t really blame them, for some reason they were the lone team of the three MLS clubs playing in the CONCACAF Champions League that had a league match this weekend. You could argue Santos Laguna probably is a little jealous the Seattle Sounders had the weekend off between their first and second league games, but the issue is that the Galaxy are playing league foe Toronto FC in the two-game series. If you had to pick one team of the three to make idle, you would think that would fall on the Sounders so that you are making sure that among your own clubs, you are keeping the additional competition fair and balanced as well as you can. At least the Galaxy are home Wednesday with a 2-2 draw from the first leg and have an entire season to make up for the opening weekend defeat.

Show me the money: Major League Soccer may not have the ratings, following and revenue that the other big league sports do yet, but one area where it stands out is in the bank accounts of those in the owners’ box. Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy owners Paul Allen and Philip Anschutz rank second and fourth, respectively, among the richest soccer owners in the world. Even bigger, they are in the top six world-wide among all sports team owners.

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