Major League Soccer’s draft Thursday can be seen – but only if you have high-speed internet. (Well, or if you happen to be in Indiana and swing by on your lunch hour.)
MLS confirmed the chatter that this year’s “SuperDraft” will not be televised across any of the usual cable channels. (And by “usual,” in this case we mean ESPN 2 or Fox Soccer Channel.)
Now, MLS isn’t exactly spinning it this way. Rather, a press release today announced that Thursday’s proceedings from Indianapolis would be “broadcast to a global audience through an innovative distribution approach featuring ESPN SportsCenter and a number of online streaming partners including ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com, and YouTube.”
Which is all another way of saying, “on-line.”
There’s really only one reason why this draft – or any notable event related to major athletics, for that matter – is left at the platform as major cable channel train pulls away: because none of the big boys wanted to broadcast it.
Honestly, it’s not a big deal. The MLS draft is watched intently by the soccer hard cores. And honestly, there aren’t enough of them at this point create a critical mass. So the draft is never a big TV event.
It’s tough in soccer because this isn’t football or basketball, where the college game gets major TV love. In football and basketball, the general audience has some familiarity with the players to be selected at the pro draft.
College soccer dwells alongside other so-called “non-revenue” sports at colleges and universities, over in the far more anonymous side of campus.
Quick, who were the three Hermann award finalists for 2012? See.
So you can be a card-carrying, season ticket-holding, scarf-wearing hard core fan of … pick any MLS team … and you probably won’t know much (if anything) about the names called from the draft-day podium.
I just wish MLS wouldn’t try so hard to spin this into something else. It is what it is.
Oh, ESPN’s Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman are hosting. So, there will be quality talent assessing the scene across all those, uh, innovative distribution platforms.