ESPN and the MLS

ESPN and the MLS

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 7, 2007
  • 4 Comments

I saw an article on a Chivas related website today talking about how the MLS needed to distance themselves from ESPN. The writer of the article was obviously furious with the telecast last night between Chvias and DC United because ESPN failed to get the game on live and on time.

I totally understand the problem with that. I was too upset with it and mad I missed out on the first goal of the game. There was nothing prime-time about last nights game either, which is even more upsetting that the league didn’t schedule this game a little earlier in the day even though it was a west coast game. I know the Chivas crowd in LA may have been upset with a 5 pm kickoff but I think it would have been a bit better for TV purposes if they had.

Instead that majority of the country didn’t see this game go live until 10 or 11 pm. Prime-time is not 10 or 11 pm in the night, that is late night territory that ESPN dipped into. Also telling fans that we “wouldn’t miss a thing” was pathetic to state, when indeed we did miss a decent amount in only ten minutes time.

Lastly, and sometimes in my mind more importantly, was the broadcasting itself. Why on earth ESPN picks guys like Dave O’Brien to do soccer games is something I will never figure out. Guys like him are a good reason to why people hate watching soccer on TV. Boring, uninteresting comments and poor interaction between play-by-play and color commentators is what ESPN has been doing to MLS broadcasts in recent years.

I like the color commentary choices, even at times when I get annoyed with them, I feel they are right for the job. But what I never have been able to enjoy in recent years is the play-by-play guys that ESPN throws at us. O’Brien is boring, Rob Stone knows the game but sounds like a total dork when he is out there, and put these two guys with any color commentator and it becomes weird and hard to listen to.

I know ESPN wanted to finish up the college football game and I am alright with that but I don’t get why the soccer game wasn’t switched over to ESPNNews or ESPN Classic or one of their 20 channels. I think the league and ESPN need to do a better job at scheduling these types of games when there is football going on now. These kind of mishaps hurt the people who actually want to watch the game and kill the interest in those who may be trying soccer for a first time.

I may be going on too much about this but sometimes it is good to vent frustrations even with if the best option that the league had to broadcast their events is the only thing that can produce results and generate more fan interest. I don’t think the league needs to break away from someone who is paying for the rights to their games. I do think some changes need to be addressed in the future though.

Anyone else have thoughts and feelings about how broadcasts go with ESPN? What can they do to improve? I’d love to hear what everyone has to say on this subject.

  • Kristin Rogers

    This is funny to me. When it hit game time last night and the football game was still on, I freaked out! For the fourth time this season, I wrote to ESPN and told them they sucked! Actually my words were a little bit stronger, but I did say what I thought! Here is a league that everyone knows is trying to get bigger and here is a network that couldn't care less. The least they could have done last night was put a little box in the corner of the screen with the game on. But that was obviously too much effort on there part. ESPN needs to make a decision, they either do it right or don't do it at all.

  • Kristin Rogers

    This is funny to me. When it hit game time last night and the football game was still on, I freaked out! For the fourth time this season, I wrote to ESPN and told them they sucked! Actually my words were a little bit stronger, but I did say what I thought! Here is a league that everyone knows is trying to get bigger and here is a network that couldn’t care less. The least they could have done last night was put a little box in the corner of the screen with the game on. But that was obviously too much effort on there part. ESPN needs to make a decision, they either do it right or don’t do it at all.

  • Whip

    Games sometimes being delayed is the nature of the beast with pretty much any network. Just tonight for example, I didn't get to see the start of USF-Auburn or Texas-TCU because of previous games. <br />
    <br />
    I do agree that games should be moved somewhere else, if possible (Classic, News, the Ocho, etc.) until the logjam is resolved.<br />
    <br />
    I'm slowly coming around to Dave O'Brien, who I believe is improving.<br />
    <br />
    But heck, I would improve too if I got a weekly game plus a World Cup to call.<br />
    <br />
    I agree, Epp, that the color guys aren't the problem. I find Wynalda opinionated in a good way. ESPN has a lot of people that have opinions and nothing to back them (Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, I'm looking at you), but I find Waldo's opinions thought-provoking. <br />
    <br />
    I also enjoy Tommy Smyth, and look forward to hearing him back with his natural partner, Derek Rae, for Champions League.

  • Whip

    Games sometimes being delayed is the nature of the beast with pretty much any network. Just tonight for example, I didn’t get to see the start of USF-Auburn or Texas-TCU because of previous games.

    I do agree that games should be moved somewhere else, if possible (Classic, News, the Ocho, etc.) until the logjam is resolved.

    I’m slowly coming around to Dave O’Brien, who I believe is improving.

    But heck, I would improve too if I got a weekly game plus a World Cup to call.

    I agree, Epp, that the color guys aren’t the problem. I find Wynalda opinionated in a good way. ESPN has a lot of people that have opinions and nothing to back them (Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, I’m looking at you), but I find Waldo’s opinions thought-provoking.

    I also enjoy Tommy Smyth, and look forward to hearing him back with his natural partner, Derek Rae, for Champions League.