Today I've had enough of reading about MLS' low ratings for the cup final as well as the low ratings all season long. The doomsayers seem to be out in mass all of a sudden. I've even seen articles dedicated to the end of the MLS playoffs, because apparently people just don't care about them. I'm not exactly sure why that just because it's the cup final that everyone in North America has to be interested in soccer. It seems fans forget it is a niche sport in America. Hell, 80% of the kids in America who are registered soccer players could care less to watch an actual game on TV. Even Colorado's Conor Casey has admitted he isn't interested in soccer outside of playing it as a career.
Lets not forget the final was played by two teams that don't even draw much support in their own cities. Not to mention the game was on a Sunday night going up against Sunday's primetime TV. I still feel the playoffs aren't cared for as much, because MLS plays a 30 plus game regular season now. Once the playoffs begin people have lost any interest that they had begun to build up early on.
But the biggest reason the ratings are low is simple really: The TV deals allow MLS to draw low ratings and because of this it's no doubt the exposure isn't there. ESPN doesn't take MLS and soccer seriously. This is evident during the regular season when the game of the week can change from Thursday night to Saturday night to Friday night each week without real warning. There's no continuity. Not to mention they seriously lack advertising for the game of the week. FOX Soccer Channel carries MLS matches, too. However, FSC is a premium cable channel. The people who purchase FSC aren't buying it for the MLS matches each week, and when these MLS matches are on (typically on Saturday nights) these people obviously have other things to do. Finally, MLS biggest TV mistake is their deal with Telefutura. How ridiculous! MLS bigwigs seem to think Spanish speakers are dying to watch MLS. MLS seems to try and market itself so hard to Spanish speakers by the signing of Latin American players, too (i.e. Nery Castillo). It's sad when I have to find Telefutura to watch a MLS match that practically no one else is watching. Why is MLS trying to export its league before it has caught on in the country it is suppose to represent and being the English is FIFA's recognized language for events they could atleast try to keep it in English.
The ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt, though. Until MLS sorts out a new TV deal and sorts out their thinking behind it, the ratings will continue to drop. If LA Galaxy and New Redbulls would have played in the final this wouldn't be an issue. I feel bad for Colorado and FCD as they put on a good show Sunday night.