Saturday, August 18, 2012

Seattle is What the MLS Needs

Video source:
I've written previously that I've had my doubts that Major League Soccer (MLS) can reach major league status. With the average stadium having an attendance capacity of 20 to 25 thousand, MLS stadiums are about 89% full during game day. The 2 teams that stand out are the Portland Timbers which are 100% full on game day and the Seattle Sounders who are at about 107% full.

The Seattle Sounders is the model team for the MLS. Their stadium seats 38,500, which is the largest stadium in the MLS and they have an average attendance of 41,418. (Stats courtesy of MSL Attendance). I've always felt that Seattle fans support their teams and they are proving that with the Sounders.

I can't tell you what is working for the Sounders but the MLS needs to study this team to figure out what is working. They need to try and clone what's working for them to all their teams. The MLS is far more successful than I would have predicted.

I must admit that I now believe that the MLS has real potential. I've watched  a couple of Sounders games on TV that were being played in Seattle and their fans are crazy good. They love their team and they seem to love the game of soccer.

Seattle seems to be the perfect place for the MLS. They are in a sports loving city. They are in a city that is loyal to their teams. I've never been a real fan of Seattle sports teams but the more I watch their teams play and the loyalty their fans show, the more I like them.

Seattle sports fans can show other cities how to be truly loyal to their teams. Before I go too far off topic, I do see one major issue that MLS officials need to address. It's the flopping and diving. While the MLS doesn't seem as bad as internationals soccer, you still see guys rolling on the ground after an opposing player has barely brushed up against them. It's like they've been shot by a cannon.

North American sports fans don't like diving and flopping. It's become major issues of concern for the NHL and NBA. Those leagues don't see nearly the same amounts of diving and flopping but their fans don't tolerate any of it.

If MLS doesn't address it now, while it can and while the league is growing, they will have failed to capitalize on potentially great product and may someday be referred to as the MDL (Major Diving League).

All in all, I like what I see with MLS. I especially love what I see with the Seattle Sounders. Seattle is the poster team for MLS and it's success needs to be duplicated throughout the league. I hope that the Sounders keeps on growing. I hope that the MLS can replicate the success of the Sounders.

I now do have confidence that the MLS can become a major sports league in North America. I just want to see the diving and flopping removed from the game.

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