Are you ready for Rivalry Week?
That’s the new wrinkle on this year’s Major League Soccer schedule (just announced by the league office). During the third week of the season, eight of the nine scheduled matches will be waged between regional rivals, including …
- New York vs. D.C. United,**
- Montreal vs. Toronto,
- Seattle vs. Portland,*
- Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado,
- FC Dallas vs. Houston, and
- LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA.
* – to be aired on NBCSN; ** – to be aired on NBC
I love the idea, even if I have little idea if it will work. Rivalry games like the northwest’s Cascadia Cup are starting to draw significant attention, so why not build on (and promote) them? Have a whole week devoted to them early in the season, hopefully giving viewers and ticket buyers a reason to get hooked early?
There’s no downside to this. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s another idea tried and checked off the list.
It’s something that works for college football. Even the NFL is starting to strategically place some of their rivalry games (this season putting division battles on the last day of the season). It’s worth a shot in MLS.
Other schedule features highlighted by MLS:
- “More than 90 percent of this year’s regular season games are on weekends or holidays”
- “none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches”
- “During the summer months, most games will kick off no earlier than 4 p.m. local time”
- “All 323 matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the United States. “
- “in Canada, at least 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will air on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French”
Later in the day, we’ll try to get you more information on the nationally televised games in the States. For now, here’s the full schedule.