Poor Man's War Criminal: ABC's MLS Cup Broadcast

November 18, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

I suspect a big part of soccer's struggles in the US can be traced to the absolutely atrocious coverage of the MLS on TV. Sunday's coverage of the 2007 MLS Cup on ABC is a perfect example. ABC is boasting that its broadcast in HD, has 21 cameras, and an on-site studio. That hardly tells the whole story though. Here are some issues:

1. The game wasn't promoted. Had my TV not been tuned to ABC when I turned it on Sunday morning, I likely wouldn't have seen the game. I knew it would be on at some point, but didn't know it was on at 9am PST. My Sunday morning ritual of watching The NFL Today would have continued and spilled right into watching the crappy Chargers/Jags game. Did anyone see a single advertisement for this game?

2. The announcers are awful. This isn't just an ABC problem, its MLS wide. American soccer announcers are boring. If we can import Beckham to bring some excitement to American soccer, why can't we bring in some English announcers to show some real passion?

3. Those announcers, Eric Wynalda & Dave O'Brien, never tell you who anyone is. This is probably the first time many people have seen the New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo. They should be saying the players names every time they touch the ball to help you learn the teams.

4. They get Jimmy Eat World to play halftime, but don't carry the performance on the broadcast. Like it or not, the halftime shows at big events like this can bring in a lot of casual fans. I realize ABC needs to sell adtime, which is limited in a soccer match (there are no commercials during the two halves), but they didn't cut away to show ads! They cut away from the halftime show to do a countdown of the best MLS plays of the year.

FYI...Houston defeats New England 2-1 to win their 2nd straight cup. The Revolution have now lost the championship game 4 times in only 12 years of the MLS. FINALLY something you Boston haters can latch on to.