Video: Sounders Weekly and MLS 2.0™
Maybe it's just because I am in NYC and it would never happen here, but I find the fact that Seattle have matches and a weekly show on the local NBC affiliate completely insane. How do they do it? Color me impressed (so long as the color is not rave green).
Beans from The Original Winger and I were talking expansion last night (before Brent & I went to the fine Ladyhawke show at Bowery Ballroom) about how Toronto upped the game with it's stellar attendance and reliable, vocal supporters. So while the new San Jose brought it back down to reality, Seattle has just totally torn the roof off in it's short existence with an impeccable branding, marketing and promotion campaign. And the thing is Philly, Vancouver & Portland all look poised to do the same. Call them MLS 2.0™ if you will; a repackaged, rethought, more user-friendly & more profitable update on the existing template.
As great as MLS 2.0™ is though, it has a downside in that it rapidly makes the original product look outdated, inferior and just plain bad. There are a few bug fixes & software updates that can help breath new life into old hardware though; big time players (Los Angeles), new appropriate-sized stadia (Red Bull Arena), or a championship (Columbus) are all great ways to recharge a stagnant club.
But there are some glitches that would leave even the IT guys baffled, particularly when it comes to housing; a still-new soccer-specific stadium that rarely gets filled (Dallas), a phantom stadium (San Jose) and the occupation of NFL stadiums with no apparent exit strategy (New England) are all confounding problems that to varying degrees make it difficult to compete.
I certainly don't claim to have it all figured out but the good news is that it looks like some of the old-guard recognize that they've got to evolve or die (see D.C. United's expensive new website and Houston's recent stadium progress as evidence). Hopefully this new blood will help to usher in a new era of success not based solely on a marquee name and group ticket sales to youth teams but on bold new thinking and fan-friendliness.