The Touchline Sean Grybos and his thoughts on what an MLS television network might look like. I'd sign up, by the way...
Is it time to start thinking MLS Network?
With Major League Baseball’s launch of the MLB Network on January 1 st, many viewers across the country can now tune into each night to watch the official networks of America’s top leagues – NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. The MLB Network launched in roughly 50 million homes. 50 million! The league is bound to bring in new viewership with such large distribution. One can only hope that the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates add to their fan base via the network.
Before angry Royals and Pirates fans who stumble upon this post start rifling off responses in the comments section, I must state that I too am a loyal Royals and Pirates fan. Thus, I was intrigued by the new network and decided to tune in to the channel’s new program on winter free-agent signings. The Hot Stove which stars everyone’s favorite, Harold Reynolds.
Afterwards, as I was shoveling yet more snow from this New England winter, I daydreamed about the MLS Network and what it might look like. Here's what two hours with a shovel comes up with.
MLS Classic: Who could resist watching the epic DC United teams from the early years? Their dynasty from ’96 through ’99 helped launch the league. I’d also tune in just to see Carlos Valderrama lead the Mutiny to the Supporters Shield or catch Hugo Sánchez as he closed out his career with the Dallas Burn.
SuperDraft Now: A weekly show that highlights the top collegiate prospects from around the nation. Each week leading up to the draft, the show could profile a player or two. This year we would have been able to gain further insight from Calum Angus or Marcus Tracy if this was an actual show. Without a doubt, Buzz Carrick the publisher of the 3rd Degree and Joe Mauceri of Pro Player Pipeline would be the on-air analysts.
The 24th Minute: A weekly half-hour show dedicated to the league’s numerous supporters’ groups such as the Union Ultras, El Batallón, the Red Patch Boys, or La Barra Brava. The title pays tribute to Toronto FC’s first goal scored by Englishman Danny Dichio. Toronto FC supporters diligently sing this song at all matches. I even witnessed about twenty fun-loving Canucks sing during the 24th minute of the club’s preseason match against the Charleston Battery last March.
Fútbol MLS: Nightly Spanish-language show catering to the league’s ever-growing Latino audience with game highlights, post-match interviews, and other news features.
MLS Extra Time: Right after Fútbol MLS, Extra Time would run with hosts Shep & Greg. This is one of my favorite features on MLSnet.com and would be a logical choice for the network.
The Soccer Reporters: Saturday mornings before the majority of the games kick off, the nation’s best would debate and discuss the league’s most relevant topics in a roundtable format. The four-person panel would rotate with the usual suspects: Luis, Andrea, Goff, Grant, Ives, and Nick Green often part of the show. But the host would always be the same; it would have to be Bruce McGuire of du Nord. The man doesn’t miss anything.
Soccer Style: Hosted by the lads at The Original Winger and Shawn Francis of The Offside Rules, the show would be a weekly look at the music, clothing, wags, and other influential pop culture that connects many US soccer fans.
USL Look: The network would be wise to have a weekly show highlighting the vast United Soccer Leagues. This is where we would all go to get our Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fix. Wondering what’s going on in the PDL? Tune in to the Look.
Live Games: Maybe add a second national game on Saturday night or perhaps have one on Friday night allowing for games from Thursday through Sunday.
Only one question left, what am I missing?