Published on July 25th, 2012 | by Tyler Conaway20
Do We Really Need an MLS All Star Game?
I want to start this article by saying that I love Major League Soccer. I interned with Sporting Kansas City a few years ago (known as the KC Wizards at the time) and fell in love with the league. While the talent pool isn’t as great as other leagues, MLS is still a great organization that produces some good players and thrilling matches. Unfortunately the MLS believes that there is a need for an All-Star game, just so it can keep up with the other American leagues.
I, and many others do not see the need. When the Manchester Uniteds and Chelseas of the world come over and dominate our boys in ridiculous looking jerseys (yes, we win sometimes, but not lately,) what good does it do for the MLS brand? Sure the MLS All Star game is going to get more exposure than a regular season match between the Rapids and Crew, but other than TV exposure, I’m failing to see any other benefits.
MLS teams have hosted some of the world’s best clubs the past few seasons, including; Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Internazionale, etc. Why not make this the premier event for MLS? Since those big European names are going to draw ratings, why not just broadcast more of those matches instead of having a fan-voted starting 11 with barely any chemistry face the European champions? That’s essentially watching a no chemistry mid-season form group go up against a no-form team with chemistry. Pick your poison. Yes there are big names in these matchups, but I think there can be a better solution than having to resort to having an All Star team to draw ratings.
The World Football Challenge has been a great start. I watched as many games as I could in last season’s edition. While there wasn’t really anything to gain by winning one of those matches, there were still big European club stars going up against our up and coming league. ESPN broadcasted some of these games and received pretty good ratings. Even teams that weren’t apart of the WFC have hosted some European teams. Yesterday Sporting Kansas City hosted the French champions, Montpellier HSC. I wanted to watch this match on TV, but had to resort to a crummy Youtube stream. These games will draw more interest as our league grows. I’m not saying this is the end all solution, but if the league wants exposure, these games will help in that regard. One problem with this solution is that not all MLS teams (or the Euro teams) will be going full strength in these matches. We are having one of the hottest summers in recent memory and MLS clubs need to rest their players for the long haul.
There are so many problems with MLS vs. clubs from other leagues. Unfortunately, a large part is due to the dates of their respective seasons, which nobody can really fix. Plus, Americans love the concept of an All Star game, which really doesn’t have a place in football. On the bright side, MLS is still growing and will continue to become a larger brand that will one day challenge these Euro leagues. When that day comes, hopefully we can see our teams compete full strength against some of the best clubs in the world. The MLS has fared well against international competition
Until then, we are forced to watch a game of sloppy football between the league’s All Stars and a Euro powerhouse that isn’t going full strength.