Monday, June 23, 2008

Midseason form

Russia has been nearly unstoppable in Euro 2008. Since losing to Spain 4-1 in the opener, Guus Hiddink's team has ripped off three consecutive wins, each more convincing than the last.

Some have said that the Russians' season has helped the national team as the Russian Premier League season runs from spring to fall, much like MLS.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I'm some sort of soccer encyclopedia. I don't know a whole lot about Russian football. So I investigated the league a little and realized one thing that MLS suits should pay attention to.

Russia - get this! - is taking a break during the European Championship! Wow! An actual break! Thus, Russian fans don't have to choose between watching Zenit St. Petersburg-CSKA Moscow or watching the Russian national team play meaningful competition.

That's amazing!

Well, actually, it's not. It's what leagues are supposed to do.


just another one of you said...

Sure, but the USSR doesn't have the NFL looming over it's fall audience like the MLS does. For as foolish as their decision maybe it's not hard to empathize with their fear.

L.B. said...

Still, MLS could lighten the load a little. June 2006 was the heaviest month of that year's calendar. And MLS officials always like to point out how their best attendances are in the fall with both NFL and college football to compete with.

papa bear said...

I totally agree that they need to find some way to take time off at a minimum for the Word/Gold Cups and Copa America when invited, but they do have to consider scheduling still.

Many teams still share buildings and they aren't getting first dibs.

Also there is a point in the season when they are competing against NBA, MLB (playoffs), NFL & NHL for attention all at the same time.

MLS' great fall attendences are virtually without fail teams in/vying for playoffs.

I agree they need to find a solution soon, but the comparisons to Russia aren't as apt as they may seem.

douglas.washburn said...

scandinavian leagues also do this (sweden, finland for example).

however, there are drawbacks that should be noted.

many swedish fans are complaining about the compressed schedule that requires teams to play about 2 games a week. fatigue kicks in, there are more injuries, and teams that don't have as much depth are really punished for the break.

just another one of you said...

I think the solution is somewhere between LB's and PB's comments- MLS should grow some balls and build some stadiums.

Personally, I find it a tragedy that NE plays in that football stadium. Seems to me that Bob Kraft has taken on an MLS side just to have something eat up the calendar of events for Gillette stadium.

Bravo said...