Three Ideas to Improve Major League Soccer Viewership

Three Ideas to Improve Major League Soccer Viewership
Image Credit: Brent Flanders - Flickr
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After workshopping these ideas we have realized that a more accurate article title would be: One pretty decent idea to improve Major League Soccer and two that are debatably genius or moronic…

From here on out we’re gonna say MLS instead of Major League Soccer, mostly because we’re lazy. With that out of the way, let’s get into it.

MLS has had its share of ups and downs since it’s inaugural season in 1996. The league started with ten teams, expanded to twelve, then cut back down to ten for the ’01 season. As of 2018, though, there are 23 teams, plans for more expansion, and attendance is high as it’s ever been.

But still, soccer is a fringe sport in the United States and television viewership for MLS games is not what the league would like. Here are our ideas to raise viewership and improve the game of soccer in general (not that anyone asked…):

1.) Create a Campaign to Help People Know When the Season Actually is, and What Teams are Closest to Them.

I’m a sports fan. I like baseball; I know my local teams. I like football and basketball, and I know my local teams. I also know when each league starts.

My personal lack of soccer viewership stems more from confusion and lack of knowledge than anything else. I know there are many leagues year round, but I don’t know when the MLS regular season or playoffs begin. Differentiating between all the world and European leagues and their teams and schedules can be a bit to untangle. MLS might really benefit by dumbing it down and simplifying things. Some simple commercials in local markets telling people when the MLS season starts and what the local teams are would go a long way. No?

2.) Add Some Obstacles to the Field, Similar to Bumper Pool.

Segue? Do we need segue from the first point to this? (Side note – just learned that what sounds like segway is actually spelled segue. Below is an example of Segways…)

Image Credit: carobe – Flickr

 

Anyways, MLS has such a steep uphill climb to be as popular as something like The English Premier League. Setting itself apart with some rule changes might not be a horrible idea.

And if they’re gonna make changes, why not go big? That’s why we are proposing that MLS make changes to mirror Bumper Pool. Don’t know what Bumper Pool is? Here is a photo of a table:

 

Image Credit: GLaDOS – Wikipedia

Bumper Pool tables can be different shapes, but we are going to recommend sticking with rectangle. (Although other sizes could be really interesting, come to think of it.)

The most obvious difference from a regular pool table is the bumpers. If players have to worry about running into huge (padded, of course,) bumpers it should make things much more interesting. Players could weave through them, use them to set picks, or kick the ball against them for crazy passes.

A Bumper Pool table is also smaller than a standard pool table. If the field is smaller, then the amount of players per team can be reduced, which will increase the level of competition. The game would be faster paced, and with a smaller field, teams can share arenas with NBA teams, (but not with NHL teams because if there is one thing people care less about than soccer, it’s hockey) which would surely help raise the profile.

Another thing you might notice about the table above is that there are not six pockets, only two. For the purposes of this bullet point, two goals fits the mold, but…

3.) Have More Teams Play in Each Game.

We know, we know, this is probably our most radical idea here, even more than the Bumper Pool, but hear us out. The field could be a square shaped and with four goals, either along the long sides or in each corner. Having trouble picturing this? Here’s a diagram:

A photo of the game Hungry Hungry Hippos
Image Credit: Mark Couvillion – Flickr

 

In this game, it would likely be difficult to keep score by which team is scoring since there would be non-stop chaos on the field, so we figure that the team with the least goals allowed would be the winner. In this version of soccer, the value of having a great keeper just increased exponentially.

Thoughts?

Alright, well, how do you like the ideas? Comment and let us know? And remember, they’re better than the ideas we don’t see you coming up with…

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Steven Richard

Steven Richard is the publisher here at Unruly Stowaway. He has written a memoir which will be released one day.

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