Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Houston Dynamo and the league's TV ideas

A number of fans in Houston were upset this past Friday when they could not find the FCD-Dynamo match anywhere on local television. Since the Dynamo are, by MLS rules, responsible for getting any non-national televised games on the glowing box, some felt that this lack of a broadcast was a way to insure a healthy crowd on Friday night.

However, Houston insists that their decision had nothing to do with ticket sales. Instead, it was the result of budget limitations. The team says they only had the money to pay for one of the legs of the first round and decided it would be better spent getting the match from Dallas aired since fewer fans had a chance to see that one.

The idea makes a great deal of sense, however it reflects another way that the league's structure is hampering the growth of the sport. The game on Friday night was one of the most exciting examples of league play this year, but only 30,000 out of 5.5 million people in the area had a chance to see it (Direct Kick and MLStv are nice, but they don't come close to matching broadcast numbers).

Oh I know, even if the game was aired, an overwhelming majority of people in the area still would not watch it, however, they would have got some people to stop and watch (and it probably would have been on in a number of sports bars). But even if the final number was 30,000 people, that still doubles the viewers for the game and increases the possibility of getting people involved with the club.

But the Dynamo have a budget that could not afford such an undertaking, which makes me thank that the league should step in at playoff time and assist teams that do not get national broadcasts. It doesn't have to be full payment for a match, a 50/50 split seems fair. Since the total matches would only be four, the cost is relatively small with the results being very worth while as every playoff team would be able to say that all their post season matches, which are suppose to be the most important games in the league, are on television.

If you are not going to air the games leading up to the biggest game of the season, how can you expect to build a crowd for it? And I know, not every match is going to be as action packed as Friday's, but when they are, it makes everything so worth while.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home