In a perfect world, one where revenue flowed freely through the Major League Soccer tributaries, the league would lay out all the stacks of cash needed for installation and implementation of goal-line technology.
But we are talking about fairly high stacks here. So, far as I’m concerned, high-tech, schmi-tech. Old school rules – for now, anyway.
MLS commissioner Don Garber spelled out the funding requirements Thursday: more than $250,000 for installation at each stadium, and then about $4,000 per match to operate.
(By the way, does this sound like “boondoggle” to anyone else? Microchips and high-speed cameras certainly aren’t cheap … but geeez! Sounds like someone, somewhere is making a killing here.)
Adding up the installation and implementation expense, each club would be on the hook for a little more than $325,000 the first year. (The total cost would fall over the course of a few years, of course.) That kind of money may not sound like a lot – and it’s not in the big picture. But in MLS, it pays the freight for a couple of quality players. Or it pays for 4-5 extra bodies in the office to help sell or promote … and which team outside of Portland or Seattle couldn’t use a little more of that.
There may be ways around it; as Mike Prindiville noted earlier today, sponsorship of the fancy technology could be used to mitigate the cost.
Either way, how many games each year would goal-line technology truly affect? Maybe half a dozen, tops? The chips or cameras are only necessary in the closest of calls; most of the time, even when things get tight in there, the officials get it right. Just last week in Dallas, a ball went over the line and was “cleared” from just inside the goal.
It was a classic bang-bang sequence, and could easily have been gotten wrong. But it wasn’t; officials had it right, and immediately so.
Yes, there was an incident in the 2010 World Cup. And, yes, a call has been blown here and there in the English Premier League. But the average MLS match – let’s just say Chicago-Columbus – is not a World Cup match.
I know it may come across as MLS being cheap; but the league is what it is for now … an association where precious few are making money, a league where cost containment still matters. Goal-line technology sounds like what most of us know as a “luxury;” nice to have, but not exactly essential.