Real Salt Lake communications team reveals some tasty tidbits in Reddit AMA

Leave a comment

Trey Fitz-Gerald and Sam Stejskal, Real Salt Lake’s head public relations honchos, held a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on Monday.

Here’s a link to the full version, which is worth a glance, but the best parts have been extracted here.

Editorial independence

Let’s start small. With the Major League Soccer website employing its own editorial team to write match reports, features, blogs and everything in between, there have been questions of its editorial independence.

While Stejskal did not say anything about the main MLS site’s independence and whether those stories are filtered to portray the league in the best possible light, he did say that the content on each club’s site is only subject to that club’s discretion, not the league’s:

source:

Every club has its own system of editing. As PR tends to be, some teams rival on the sycophantic, with hardly a negative word allowed near their URLs, while others are broader in their coverage and allowance.

RSL has always been on the latter side. In the smallest media market of MLS, the club seems to feel more of a responsibility to teach the game — RSL or otherwise — because of a dearth of coverage from independent publications.

When I spent a week in Salt Lake around the United States’ World Cup qualifier against Honduras, this was pretty obvious. I was the only media member at probably half of that week’s training sessions.

MLS Live

That feeling of responsibility to teach the game and find some way to reach out to the community extends to RSL’s policies on broadcasting. Anybody who subscribes to MLS Live, the league’s generally excellent streaming system that allows them to watch almost every game live, has been frustrated by blackouts.

Most games broadcast in local areas are blacked out so the channels do not lose viewers. MLS Live does not play each individual channel’s commercials, so advertisers could be less inclined to buy time if viewers are just going to watch online.

National broadcasts are also blacked out.

However, RSL does not black out its broadcasts in the Salt Lake valley:

source:

A couple of interesting facts from that response: first, it seems blackout rules are up to individual clubs and broadcasters to work out. Also, the notion of every broadcast being “a 2.5 hour commercial” for the club and the game is great justification for the policy.

Well done, RSL.

Twitter

While many clubs around the league use social media to keep fans up to date on the latest news surrounding the team, Real Salt Lake takes it a step further with regard to interaction.

Fitz-Gerald, who is in charge of the @RealSaltLake account, is never shy about retweeting stories and opinions, both positive and negative, and interacting with other teams’ accounts — with sometimes interesting consequences.

The man behind the iPhone gave Reddit a short discourse on his Twitter policy:

source:

An exchange between him and Sporting Kansas City’s fans came up in that thread as one example of other teams’ fans sometimes disliking the way RSL interacts on Twitter. True to form, Fitz-Gerald did not shy away from the disagreement regarding Chris Wingert’s collision with Kei Kamara:

source:

Say what you will, but it’s always nice to have honest, open interaction with an official from an MLS club. It makes them seem human, like the rest of us.

National coverage

Finally, let’s take a look at one of RSL’s favorite hobbyhorses: its lack of national television broadcasts:

source:

All things considered, Salt Lake really should get more airtime. If programmers are concerned about the size of television audiences, they could show only the games against big-market teams, such as the Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders.

With its style of play and recent success, everybody could use more RSL on their screens.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

Twitter/@naslofficial
Leave a comment

While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

Twitter
Leave a comment

City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
1 Comment

The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

Twitter/@WallofSport
Leave a comment

Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.