Major League Soccer 2023: Now With League-On-League Violence

InstaFace

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A report on the state of MLS finances and sponsorships through the 2022 season:

https://sponsorunited.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/MLS-2022-Marketing-Partnerships-Report-1.pdf

Notes:
- Club Sponsorships up 10% yoy to over 1600
- These generated over $461M in revenue for the league's clubs, to say nothing of the players' individual sponsors and endorsements.
- SKC, Philly and Austin lead the way by quantity
- It gives some interesting ROI metrics for the sponsors, noting that (for example) the earned-media equivalent for RSL's new stadium-name sponsor (American First Credit Union) is about $15M / yr, with a reach of 1.6Bn impressions.
- Highest social-media engagement for brands with players was through Gareth Bale, and 2 of his 3 top brands for engagement were golf-related (TaylorMade and The R&A), which I just found funny.
- 9 of the top 10 MLS players by social-media engagement are foreign; Yedlin at #9 is the only exception. Although if you count by brand endorsements, Walker Zimmerman with 10 trails only Chiellini (with 18), and Kellyn Acosta is 5th with 6 brand partners.
 

steeplechase3k

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InstaFace

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Other than Chris Wood, Tuiloma might be the best player in the Oceania Football Confederation.

(Though there's that kid at Empoli...)
 

steeplechase3k

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There's a ton of counties that are tied (many at under 5), I'm wondering how those were picked, I'm guessing they went with the one that was closer.
 

Titans Bastard

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Apple TV is showing the Revs-Orlando game right now, along with a few others, as a test run. The picture quality looks good.
 

Titans Bastard

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67YAZ

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Love the DC United cherry blossom kit. Nashville’s man in black is also very nice.

 

67YAZ

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I got a polo shirt with a cherry blossom print very much like that kit and my wife was horrified.
My wife asked if I was going to an ugly sweater party when I wore @dirtynine’s USA sweater. What do wives know?
 

67YAZ

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Heitz is struggling to find someone to take his money?


Zahavi has 22 goals in 2250 minutes across all comps this season. The previous 2 seasons combined at PSV, Zahavi hit 20 non-PK goals in 3500 minutes.

But dude is 35 and 8 months ago moved on a free. What’s the plan here?
 

DJnVa

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T-Mobile is offering the MLS package for free. Got the notice yesterday and activated it.
 

FlexFlexerson

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T-Mobile is offering the MLS package for free. Got the notice yesterday and activated it.
For anyone interested, similar to T-Mobile's mlb.tv offer, over at Slickdeals people are trading their activation codes for $5 (or less, the MLS package does not seem like a super hot commodity) Amazon gift cards. I did that yesterday and it was pretty easy since it's just a code you redeem at apple.tv.
 

Senator Donut

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Titans Bastard

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There's really going to be a lot of content on the AppleTV+ platform this year. I've been agnostic on going with Apple vs. a traditional deal like ESPN, but I'm getting increasingly optimistic about the direction the league has gone. They literally finished building the studio for this stuff in the last few days so I expect some rough edges early on, but I think this could be cool.

View: https://twitter.com/jilliansakovits/status/1629147363443937282


View: https://twitter.com/jilliansakovits/status/1629147368372285442
 

67YAZ

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Heitz is struggling to find someone to take his money?


Zahavi has 22 goals in 2250 minutes across all comps this season. The previous 2 seasons combined at PSV, Zahavi hit 20 non-PK goals in 3500 minutes.

But dude is 35 and 8 months ago moved on a free. What’s the plan here?
I guess 35 isn’t experienced enough for Heitz - the Fire send $250k to Montreal for Kei Kamara.

 

67YAZ

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And another squeezed in just before the season opener - 19yo Greek striker Georgios Kotsias. He’s ripped up U19 levels the past couple season, but is having a rough go in his first top flight campaign on loan at Valos from PAOK - 2 goals and an assist in 658 minutes.

It’s a very Heitz singing - $2.5m for a high potential kid from outside the Big 5. Hopefully he can adapt and develop quickly.

The big question now is whither Pryzbylko? Kamara can’t be a full time starter anymore and the new kid isn’t ready for that either. But that’s 2 players who’ll need minutes in a 1-striker system. It will be hard to move Pryzbylko at his salary after a shit season, but he can still be an effective target man. He just needs service and an attack that will create for him. A loan would probably suit everyone well, but maybe they’ll just have to see where things stand in June.

 

Titans Bastard

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Hey look, a long interview with Jim Curtin! *immediate click*

So much good stuff in here:

Like you said, though, the club has resonated. The conference semifinal (vs FC Cincinnati) and the conference final (vs NYCFC) were nuts. That stadium has become an intimidating place to play.

I think so. This is the most I’ll brag about my club tonight — we’re authentic. No knock on Atlanta, but if you check the drivers licenses at an Atlanta United game, they’re from all over the place because that’s just the place to party. You’ve got 50,000 people getting together to party. My dad sat next to a few and they were great people but they were just like ‘we’re SEC football guys and we’re just here because we heard this is a great party.’ What they’ve done is amazing, there.

But we’re kind of authentic and we did it kind of slowly. The city was with us along the ride, and through the hard times, too — our fans literally got one of our presidents fired. They’re part of the growth. I’m proud of it. Our crowd is a real crowd.
Is that something that’s unique to MLS?

This league is crazy. It’s unpredictable. The coaches are from all over the world now. Think of the Argentine league. The coaches are local. Look at Serie A. They’re pretty much all local. Go to Mexico. Most coaches in those areas all have a similar way of thinking. In MLS? One week I’m going against Patrick Vieira, then the next week against Frank de Boer and the next week Jesse Marsch or Jason Kreis. Insert whoever. And then the climate, and the travel — you play Bob Bradley at LAFC and then Adrian Heath (in Minnesota) and you travel all that way and have to play two guys who see the game completely differently. It’s complicated. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s so unique.
You’ve always commanded a certain level of respect amongst other coaches in the league. You’ve been sort of like… every musician’s favorite band, if you will. But your profile is much higher now.

I’m in danger of being overrated. I call it the “Scottie Pippen effect.” You go from being like “man, this guy is so underrated” to being like “wait a minute, is he a top-50 basketball player of all time?”
I mean it sounds interesting?

We don’t have enough villains in our league. We have too many nice guys. MLS used to have so many jerks. There were so many a–holes on every team. We may have the closest these days with Jose (Martinez.) Back in the day there were real guys that would kill you. Mike Petke. Joey Franchino? He would just beat you up if he saw you in the tunnel.
What teams and coaches do it right, globally and locally? Meaning, you like the way they play, all of that.

When people ask me what teams I like to watch, I don’t say Bayern Munich or Man City. Because I know how good they are and I respect how good they are, but it doesn’t relate to what we’re trying to do here. I’ll look at a team like Brentford. I’ll look at what they’re doing there in their recruitment, their coaching, how they play. I look for smaller teams that are punching above their weight because that’s us. We’re not gonna go buy all the best.

In our league? I like Steve Cherundolo at LAFC. He navigated a lot of things behind the scenes that people don’t see. It’s not easy when ownership wants eight or nine new players coming in at the end of the season. I thought Wilfred Nancy did an amazing job in Montreal. He’s another one who learned from five or six coaches and gathered a lot of different ideas. I think he’ll do well in Columbus pretty quickly. To have a beer, though? Adrian Heath.

Pat (Noonan) and Dom (Kinnear) will have Cincinnati flying, I think. That team is going to take off like a rocket. Nashville is a pain in the ass to play against. There are just so many damn teams now. I find myself having to look at the league standings to answer this question.
We saw your podcast appearance where you said you’d leave the Union to be a USMNT assistant. What about you would translate well to the national team?

Whoever gets in there now has to preach simplicity. Don’t over-complicate it. We have really talented players. They don’t need a ton of information right now and a super-detailed style of play. For lack of a better way to put this, I’d sort of revert to the Bruce Arena approach — put the best eleven guys out there and get the f— out of the way, they’ll figure it out. That is what the team needs right this minute.

I don’t know whether it’s what the team will need in four years, but they need a period where they’re allowed to play together. Pick your key guys and stay out of the way. People always ask about Brendan Aaronson, what did I do (to aid his development)? I didn’t do s—. I just said “go out there and have fun and play.” He was a creative player. In this country we treat players like robots too much and end up producing players who are average at everything. We need specialists. That’s what wins at the highest level. We had nothing like that at this past World Cup.
How impactful could 2026 actually be on club soccer in the United States?

Americans are a-holes. We only want to support what we’re the best at. We are not the best at soccer. If we go on a deep run in that competition, I do think it would have a real impact on MLS. My meathead football friends will say “well f—, we just upset France, maybe I’ll give these guys a little credit, maybe this sport is a real sport.” We saw it in Philly getting to the final this year. When we walk around the city now, Jakob Glesnes, myself, whoever, the amount of South Philly “Broad Street Bully”-types are like “great run, we’re proud of you.” They love that s—.

I see all the young kids in my neighborhood wearing soccer stuff. Not just Manchester United stuff, Union stuff. I think that’s really cool. If we succeeded in 2026? That element would explode. Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid of the league, but it’s getting good man. And the people are involved, the men and women that own teams now? They do not lose. They will shove it down people’s throats until it works.
You have no interest in revisiting the match, I know. It was messed up from your perspective because in the end, it had to be Gareth Bale.

Soccer gods do exist because Bale scores that goal. he scores against the USA (at the World Cup), and then I’m sitting here in the first week of preseason in our Clearwater hotel and I have to watch Gareth Bale golf. Like, he’s golfing! This m———– is just rubbing it in and he’s a hell of a golfer. I’d probably love to hang out with him, but I’ll hate his guts for the rest of my life. That’s the beauty of the sport, you know?
 

ThePrideofShiner

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That Curtin article was tremendous. Seems like a fun coach.

Got my season ticket membership box in the mail today. Pretty cool looking. I heard some teams give out shirts plus scarves. We got a scarf and a pin.

61594


61595

61596
 

Titans Bastard

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Okay, what are your expectations and hopes for this season?

The Revs had such a letdown season in 2022. Everything broke right in 2021 leading to a record-breaking regular season performance, but we lost Buchanan and Buksa, and our mojo. Turner left halfway through the season, which somehow didn't turn out to be a hugely damaging loss because Petrovic has also been outstanding. Too many late goals conceded and a too many players just weren't as good.

The East looks strong and I don't expect the Revs to contend at the very top, but I see them playing for a spot in the 4-7 range depending on how things go. We need Kessler to be better in 2023, though with Romney in the mix we have three real contenders for two CB spots. I remain a little concerned about CM, where I feel the Revs have a lot of decent options but not enough game-changers. Can Latif Blessing be a force as a partner for Matt Polster?

Borrero needs to have a big season, and I think he will. It's not clear to me how Arena will set up the team. Does Carles play on the opposite wing to Borrero, or as a central #10? And if so, who plays on the right?

Gustavo Bou feels like an anachronistic presence on the roster. Is it possible to get him and Vrioni on the field at the same time? Is Vrioni even good?

There's some talent here, but also a lot of questions. I see a wide range of possible outcomes this season.
 

67YAZ

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@ThePrideofShiner that's a rad package. The Bruce Lee kit is slick.

My expectations for the season? That Chicago makes the expanded playoffs. Please?

I'm excited to see Chris Brady in goal and expect that he'll become the next hot young keeper evryone is talking about.

I'm also excited to see BGuti continue to develop and Jairo Torres get in a full season after a real offseason.

There's also a group of young homegrowns around the edges of the first team, some of whom have been in US Youth set ups recently - Casas, Monis, Oregel, and Rodriguez. I think these guys can push for playing time and add some excitement if things are getting dreary.

And the newest kid, Koutsias, scored in his last match in Greece yesterday after his transfer news broke. It's a sign!
 

ThePrideofShiner

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My expectations for this season are lowered. I mean, I certainly expect Seattle to get back to the playoffs especially with the expanded field.

I keep seeing people (Doyle) predicting that the Sounders can contend for the Shield and whatnot and I'm not seeing it. They missed the playoffs last year and then lost their GM and then said, fuck it, we're running it back. But they are running it back with a group that continues to get older and more injured (Ruidiaz is hurt already? midseason form, baby) and a coach that players may be tuning out at this point.

I love me some Rusnak, but it's hard for me to see how he fits this team or why they invested so much money and a DP spot in him.

The Sounders remind me of the post-Super Bowl Seahawks and Rusnak is in the Jimmy Graham role. A great individual talent who doesn't really fit a need in Seattle.

Anyway, I suppose it is foolhardy to think the Sounders will struggle two years in a row, but I think this roster is an injury or two away from collapsing.

Now, if everyone stays healthy and Jaoa Paulo is able to come back strong, then sure, they have the pedigree to make some waves.
 

Senator Donut

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My Revs expectation: get one of the 1-7 guaranteed playoff spots.

In 2021 literally every regular starter had the best season of their MLS careers and there were very few injuries. That is obviously not repeatable, but the club regressed beyond the mean in 2022.

Last years offseason additions were all disastrous. I think this year brings in some proven MLS players and “Bruce guys.” If they can get contributions from some academy kids (Buck, who could win Polster’s job, and Rivera) that should be enough to close the gap on the teams ahead of them.
 

speedracer

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former Leeds USA midfielder Mateusz Klich walks through the Toronto midfield and calmly deposits a 20-yarder into the corner, 1-0 DC
 

OCST

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RBNY kits look awful.

more fundamentally I believe that the explicit product branding just clangs for American audiences. We’re getting used to ads on uniforms but not for the team to actually be named after the product.
 

Titans Bastard

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Two absolute screamers from Thiago Almada in stoppage time to pull out a 2-1 win for Atlanta over the Quakes.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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Road win for the Revs in a place that's tough to play, great to wash away the pile of shit last year was. Buck was great, backline was great (that Romney acquisition will be really big I think), Borrero is so fun to watch, and Vrioni looked lost, but so did Buksa for a while, so I'll continue to hold out hope. No idea how Bou is supposed to fit in here, but I'm back on the wagon about how good this team might be.

Also thought the broadcast was really strong, the picture seemed better than what we'd get from TV38, and the commentating pair (who were Charlotte's guys last year I think) were knowledgeable and neutral. No complaints from me so far about the Apple era.
 

steeplechase3k

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The MLS360 thing needs more focus on the games and less on the people in the studio, but other than that I'm loving the AppleTV coverage so far.
 

Titans Bastard

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The MLS360 thing needs more focus on the games and less on the people in the studio, but other than that I'm loving the AppleTV coverage so far.
What they've thrown together so far on extremely short notice is amazing. I think the whole package is likely to be even better by the end of the year.

The extent to which a lot of fans have already been won over by the new TV deal is remarkable. The picture quality is significantly improved and the programming around the games is what people have always wanted, and will get better over time. I was agnostic about this deal when it was announced, but with 40% of the games in front of the paywall and freely accessible, and strong word-of-mouth, I've become optimistic that this situation will pull in more new viewers than hoping to lure channel-flippers on a mediocre ESPN/Fox broadcast.
 

steeplechase3k

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What they've thrown together so far on extremely short notice is amazing. I think the whole package is likely to be even better by the end of the year.

The extent to which a lot of fans have already been won over by the new TV deal is remarkable. The picture quality is significantly improved and the programming around the games is what people have always wanted, and will get better over time. I was agnostic about this deal when it was announced, but with 40% of the games in front of the paywall and freely accessible, and strong word-of-mouth, I've become optimistic that this situation will pull in more new viewers than hoping to lure channel-flippers on a mediocre ESPN/Fox broadcast.
I assume it will get better too. But I switched from a single game to the 360 thing a few times and for 2-3 minutes all I was was the backs of the 4 people on stage and a 1 match on a big screen behind them. That's not good tv. If it were up to me the 360 would have 3-4 games on the screen and sometimes one shot of the person talking.
 

OCST

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What they've thrown together so far on extremely short notice is amazing. I think the whole package is likely to be even better by the end of the year.

The extent to which a lot of fans have already been won over by the new TV deal is remarkable. The picture quality is significantly improved and the programming around the games is what people have always wanted, and will get better over time. I was agnostic about this deal when it was announced, but with 40% of the games in front of the paywall and freely accessible, and strong word-of-mouth, I've become optimistic that this situation will pull in more new viewers than hoping to lure channel-flippers on a mediocre ESPN/Fox broadcast.
Matching up with what the best broadcasts have been in traditional American sports -If they can create a sense of “this is what’s going on in the league,” with hosts that people like, it will go a long way.