I really like the concept and the spirit behind Simon Borg’s ideas on creating a destination viewing event around some holiday for Major League Soccer.
It’s a great notion to kick around. Fact is, it doesn’t hurt MLS to experiment with marketing concepts and ideas. There is little harm in testing an idea, then working it a little to see what deliverables might come.
SuperLiga is a great example. The made-from-nothing annual series that formerly pitted Mexican teams against MLS teams had a place. It was a swell idea.
Unfortunately, SuperLiga lost its purpose when CONCACAF Champions League developed into its current incarnation. So SuperLiga went away … and the fact that it came and went has left absolutely no scarring on MLS or domestic soccer.
Now, back to this notion of taking some holiday and linking it to a big MLS destination viewing day. It would be similar to, as Borg says in the piece at MLSSoccer.com, the way the “English Premier League has Boxing Day. The NFL owns Thanksgiving. The NBA has taken over Christmas Day.”
Thing is, it will never work in MLS.
Those three “events” work because those holidays share two common links: Generally speaking, families gather and stay at home during those particular holidays. And because they are smack in the middle of winter, people are usually inside, near televisions.
(And because at some point, everyone is exhausted from family, family drama, in-law tension, children screaming, etc., there’s usually a point where everyone wants to “turn off” already and not think about a darn thing. “Hey, isn’t there a game on?”)
So Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, 4th of July, these are all very different holidays. They are mostly built around outdoor activities.
Halloween? That’s about kids and trick or treat, or about big kids dressing up in crazy threads and doing a lot of things not associated with sitting around the 1020 dpi.
Black Friday? That’s the one that might have some legs.
Even there, however, Major League Soccer’s national imprint just isn’t substantial enough at this point to deliver any real traction, numbers that would make a network notice.
Like I said, applause for trying; and I suppose it never hurts to try. But color me pretty skeptical on this one.