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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun.


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What MLS Coverage Gets Right

Written by on September 21, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Posted in General, MLS

The last time that I wrote about the coverage of soccer in the North American media it was to be largely critical of the way that game is treated by those in charge of bringing the “product” to the masses.

Yet there is one area of the media in which Major League Soccer outstrips its European rivals by some distance.

Go to the MLS home page  and you will find easy access to a plethora of video that would make the people in charge of the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga blanche at the sheer amount of free stuff that is available there.

The EPL official site, for example, may have no shortage of video but it almost solely consists of bland interviews with managers and players.

On the MLS official site however not only can you find extended highlights of recent games but also the replay of a goal that happened just a few minutes ago! How much would we all love to have access to that on a big European weekend?

Throw in the Match Day Live package that allows you to watch any game online for under $50 dollars and this starts to read unnervingly like an infomercial for the site.

Of course the realities of the financial world are coming in to play here; MLS just isn’t the financial behemoth that some other leagues are, and it certainly can’t command the television deals that others can, but credit should go where credit is due.

They have set up an easy to navigate, fan friendly, site that goes some distance in achieving its main aim of making the sport easily accessible to the supporters.

It certainly stands up well against the official website of the Scottish Premier League which looks like it was put together on a “Website Design For Beginners” course and features no video at all (or of it does it is too hard to find) and I can guarantee that no matter how bad Major League Soccer coverage is as a whole, it has never put out anything quite as excruciating as this BBC, web only, soccer show.

In short, Major League Soccer’s official website shows a degree of respect for the supporters of the game that puts a good number of its own clubs to shame.

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4 responses to “What MLS Coverage Gets Right”

  1. John Bladen says:

    Russell:

    In general I would agree that MLS website does a good job providing content. However, the league itself could do more.

    Presently, their direct kick satellite package is not available (on any carrier) where I live. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that. Although I’ve watched the league off and on more or less since inception on commercial tv, rarely have the playoff games been available (even on specialty channels).

    I could, of course, subscribe to matchday live as you say. However, if you live outside a major centre, good luck trying to watch a game at the data transfer speeds permitted by the major carriers.

    There are still a significant number of people who would like to get their product who don’t have that opportunity, despite their recent successes.

  2. Russell Berrisford says:

    John- I agree that the television side of the MLS reach could be better (and here in Canada the direct kick package isn’t available at all, and we are mostly restricted to Vancouver and Toronto games) but from a web point of view they do a pretty good job compared to others.

  3. Tim says:

    love the site…good article

  4. Good point, when it comes to advertising no better place is like the States.

    The clubs are not financial powerhouses as well, when they grow they will be able to do more for their own clubs media.

    As a DC United fan, you would think all those trophies would actually relate to a bigger economic scale, but it doesnt. On the reverse, you look at the Redbulls and all the money doesnt relate to trophies. I still think MLS was started wrong from the beginning, but nothing can be done about that so. It is a slow crawl to improvement for MLS. I think the biggest turning point for the league will be when a team is able to win the domestic treble : usopen cup, supporters shield, and mls cup. At the moment it really is impossible. What do you think of my format for turning the MLS cup into a proper league cup? I think if the MLS cup was changed a certain way, the supporters shield race would become far more important and would also relate more to traditional soccer by making the MLS cup a true league cup.

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