it lives. Happy MLS Season Ticket Day. A truly historic day in the sporting world.
I promise I’m not just saying this because the good folks at Apple are now tracking my heart rate down to the millisecond, or because I’m delighted at how easy it is to type The Daily Kickoff on this brand new iPhone 14 Pro Max they sent me. I say this because we’ve never seen anything like it, which means it’s both exciting and scary.
It’s a real first day of school feeling, as there can be some bumps in the road at first. It takes a while for everyone to get used to an exercise they’ve never done before. This applies to those involved in the production and consumption of content. But once it starts clicking, it’s brilliant.
I know there are concerns. A common scenario I’ve seen is that people will no longer be able to turn on the TV, flip through the channels, stumble upon MLS and become a lifelong fan. Well, y’all, I’m going to be honest with you, maybe five people have actually made it this past year, and that feels like a generous estimate. Seriously, very few people have cable anymore, and I think we can basically agree that people who do have cable are generally not the target age for the average MLS fan.
What sets soccer apart from other professional sports in North America is the atmosphere inside the stadium. Investing in those people packing stadiums with free subscriptions to season ticket holders and Saturdays at 7:30pm ET as a regular date and time for MLS, you’re investing in grassroots community building that really gets noticed and creates fans for life.
It also helps the league be able to tell the story more thoroughly. Everyone loves a narrative. When done right, getting to know key characters and storylines on a more personal level will do wonders and help make the league’s overall product as engaging as possible. Over the past few years, you’ve seen examples of the power of storytelling in sports like Formula 1 and football teams like Wrexham. Now, the MLS can take it to another level.
Was everything perfect from the start? Like most things, probably not. But, objectively speaking, the ceiling for this partnership is very high. In a few years, we might see today as yet another pivotal moment for the league. For now though, let’s get excited (and anxious) through day one.