Monday, August 10, 2020

MLS "operating out of strength"

MLS released a pandemic schedule of games and they are allowing fans to attend. As of this writing, the official league release states that "the majority of the matches will be played without fans," but that is PR speak to keep the critical voices at bay. Don Garber has made it clear that he wants fans in attendance.

Here are a couple quotes from the Commissioner (Aug 8):

“I never believed, and I know our owners and staffs never believed, in quitting when we’re ahead, and we’ve not been ahead a whole lot. … We’ve accepted the fact that we’re going to have challenges.”

“The alternative is to make the decision to not go forward, and operate out of fear as opposed to operating out of strength, and out of confidence.”

This is good old fashioned by the book business speak from the early aughts. It's great when you are tackling challenges from competitors or trying to rally the troops for a peak season of sales, but man does it miss the mark when talking about a virus that is causing illness and pain to hundreds of thousands in the United States.

It's important to remember the utter devastation Covid-19 is causing. Outside of the physical illness, you have the pain associated with not being able to be with family members and friends in a hospital for any reason. Daycares and schools not reopening and forcing duel income homes to figure something else out. You have something close to 20 million working-age and able citizens out of work right now and all fighting for the same handful of jobs.

Needless to say, it's an incredibly stressful time for Americans and we may not know the fallout from it for years to come.

With that in mind, it's very easy to understand why people might be pissed off at MLS for using corporate-speak as a weapon to reopen the gates. I mean; kids across the country can't go to school, but I can get a ticket to a Crew game?

It's not necessarily about the safety of fans, players and staff at games. It's about looking back after all the bodies have been counted and being able to stay you did everything you could to keep it from being worse.

MLS has chosen to "operate out of strength" instead of thoughtfulness and compassion by allowing fans into games.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

TUDN Viewers: MLS to LigaMX

It's worth taking a look at TUDN TV viewership numbers since MLS is Back started because of the continued relationship MLS and LigaMX are forging. 

TUDN is described as an American Spanish language sports channel owned by Univision Communications. It has somewhere around 39 million subscribers in the US (for comparison, ESPN has around 85 million). During the pandemic, the only shows popping up in the top 150 cable shows for that day are soccer-related. Outside of "Lina de Cuatro Especial" the top 15 programs since MLS is Back started are live games (13 LigaMX, 1 MLS). 

THE TAKEAWAY

TUDN viewers tuned in to MLS right up until LigaMX games started. After that, it was a sharp drop into nothingness for MLS. Zero games (6) registered in the top 150 cable shows after the Mexican league started back up.

 

As you would expect, actual viewership numbers a much lower on TUDN due to the level of subs. What I tried to illustrate in the chart above was the immediate swap that happened from MLS to LigaMX.

If you hover over the chart, you'll get the actual figures. Roughly speaking, the are what you might expect in relationship to ESPN numbers (half).

It's interesting to me that TUDN viewers had zero interest in returning to MLS once LigaMX restarted. It's almost as if sports fans have a metaphorical cup that they fill with their own personal sports time. For TUDN viewers, that means that there's just no room for MLS.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

MLS fails to leave a TV mark

Don Garber and MLS rushed back to playing because they wanted to be the first "team sport" to be on TV again since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Except they weren't, and their ignorance created a blind spot that has potentially cost them millions of dollars and exhausted irreplaceable resources.

The first miss was the fact that the NWSL was the first team sport in the United States to get started again. Regardless of interest (their ratings are inching closer to MLS on similar outlets), the shine off "first back" was gone amongst US soccer fans by the time it was first kick down in Orlando for MLS.

The second miss was all the soccering going on in Europe. The Bundesliga was the first to get going, almost a month before MLS. Shortly thereafter, it was the ever-popular Premier League in England. While they were playing games, MLS was wrestling with positive coronavirus tests and sending teams home.

With all this, it shouldn't be a surprise that MLS TV viewership was at, if not slightly lower than, normal. 

Most Viewers:

DATETEAMSNETWORKTIMEViewers (000)
7-8-20ORLANDO/MIAMIESPN8:00 PM464
7-12-20KANSAS CITY/MINNESOTAESPN8:00 PM333
7-10-20SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC/SAN JOSEESPN9:00 PM319
7-18-20LAFC/LA GALAXYESPN10:26 PM296
7-18-20PORTLAND/HOUSTONESPN8:00 PM266


The Bottom (took out TUDN):

DATETEAMSNETWORKTIMEViewers (000)
7-22-20REAL SALT LAKE/KANSAS CITYESPN9:00 AM127
7-11-20CINCINNATI/COLUMBUS CREWFS111:00 PM104
7-20-20MIAMI/NEW YORK CITY FCESPN9:00 AM102
7-23-20LA GALAXY/HOUSTON DYNAMOFS18:00 PM96
7-17-20KANSAS CITY/COLORADO RAPIDSESPN28:00 PM92

If you think back to when ESPN aired the Michael Jordan documentary, you may recall that a frustrated MLS dropped its slow news bleed of layoffs and salary cuts and went into full "PLAY GAMES AT WHATEVER COST" mode.

Now that the results are in we know that there's nothing here. No pent up demand. No curious onlookers. No massive thirst for just any team sport.

MLS has now moved on to the knockout stage of this tournament, but with the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and NHL starting up again, these numbers will only continue to drop.

Almost immediately after the first few TV ratings came rolling in, Don Garber announced that the league was now open to private equity ownership across multiple franchises. The timing wasn't a coincidence. 

To my knowledge, Garber did not give another in-game / on-air interview after the first game.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Group Stage Cash Out, MLS

The MLS is Back group stages wrapped up yesterday and with that, I am going to FAKE cash out from my FAKE betting extravaganza.

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+$189.71
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At the end of the 36 game group stage, I got 13 games right. I reckon that sounds pretty normal, but where I started to hit my groove was after the first round of games. Once I got a look at the teams, I had a compass. In the second half of the group stage, I was 10 of 18.

3/18: First 18 games
10/18: Second 18 games

BetMGM also started getting things more correct. Early games saw favorites dropping like flies, but as thing marched on, betMGM got a good feel for things.

WHAT'S NEXT

Not sure. Knockout games at a neutral site doesn't sound like an easy thing to FAKE bet on. MLS is notoriously wonky. I've been all over this league for over 10 years. MLS also has a problem trying to engineer results. Late penalties, tons of extra time for teams that draw eyeballs. It happens.

Looking forward to getting back to player evaluations, TV ratings, etc.




Thursday, July 23, 2020

YOUR MLS FAKE BET today

Only 3 group stage games left in the MLS is Back tournament of pandemic activities. Two, have heavy favorites.

Chicago Fire-1891.53$15.00
Draw3504.50
Vancouver4755.75
LA Galaxy1502.50
Draw3204.20$5.00
Houston Dynamo1402.40
LAFC-1671.60$20.00
Draw2903.90
Portland Timbers4005.00

Chicago? Fine. Vancouver are in shambles, but the Fire have a nice long history of not being trusted. We'll see. New day perhaps. Galaxy and Houston could go anywhere. Mid table nobodies at this point.

LAFC might be able to find some defensive consistency tonight against Portland. Even if they don't, they have the talent to just outscore you.

I'm 6 of the last 10 games. All my fake bets are small.

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+$203.71
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

MLS is Moving right along

Good Morning. Three MLS is Back games today to FAKE BET on.

Real Salt Lake2603.60
Draw2703.70
Sporting KC1002.00$10.00
FC Cincinnati2903.90
Draw2253.25
NY Red Bulls1052.05$20.00
Colorado Rapids2003.00
Draw2903.90
Minnesota1152.15$20.00

Not a whole lot interesting here. The Red Bulls need to show they aren't hot garbage and I think they will. Minnesota is likely better than betMGM has them.

Yesterday I was 1/3. My last 10 is stellar with 7 correct.

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+$223.71
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

3 MLS Games Today

Full slate of MLS games today. All of them are expected to be tight.

Toronto1552.55$10.00
Draw2603.60
New England Revs1602.60
Atlanta United1902.90
Draw2603.60
Columbus Crew1352.35$25.00
Montreal Impact1752.75
Draw2403.40$10.00
DC United1352.35
9:00 AM
Toronto FC v. Revs: Top spot is up for grabs. I think Bruce Arena is doing his best with a team that isn't that strong. TFC has talent all over, just a matter of want.

8:00 PM
Atlanta United v. Columbus Crew: Caleb Porter has expressed interest in winning this tournament a couple times. He'll likely rest a couple starters and news on their starting CB is he is out for the remainder of the year. But Atlanta is such a mess right now. Crew should win this one.

10:30 PM
Montreal v. DC United: Nothing on the line here.

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+184.91
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Here's a look at my picks by match:

1. X
2. X
3. X
4. X
5. X
6. Correct
7. X
8. X
9. X
10. X
11. X
12. X
13. X
14. Correct
15. (no pick)
16. X
17. Correct
18. X
19. X
20. Correct
21. Correct
22. X
23. Correct
24. Correct
25. Correct
26. Correct
27. Correct

Monday, July 20, 2020

MLS is Betting in a Hurry

It's 8:30 AM on a Monday morning and MLS has a game kicking off in 30 minutes, so let's make this fake bet quick!

9:00 AM EST
+185 Miami 
+125 NYCFC
Note: My understanding is that one of these teams needs to win by multiple goals just to have a chance to make the knockout round. I'm not even sure either team WANTS to make it. Neither have a win. NYC has been favored in their previous games and lost. Favored here... I'll just ride with them again.

8:00 PM EST
+150 Philly
+170 Orlando
Note: Another game where there isn't really much to play for, just the opposite side of the spectrum. Both are through to the bracket round. Orlando can win the group with a draw. I'll go with that. 

I'm not fake betting much on either game.

Riding a hot streak. Correctly picked 5/6, 6 of the last 10.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Things Lookin' Up, MLS Betting

I'm still sticking with my MLS is Back FAKE betting spree. There are things I need to get too. Namely, how TV ratings are really going stale and that they didn't get the bump they expected. Alas, I shall get to that soon. Maybe when the knockout rounds start. For now, I'm absorbing knowledge on sports and soccer betting. 

ON TOP

I've correctly picked 4 of the last 8 and 5 of the last 10 after starting an astonishingly bad 1 of 13. The early hole I was in has been erased and I'm about +$32 up (all my bets are around $25, save for the $100 I put on the Crew over Cincy).

TODAY'S GAMES

8:00 PM EST
+145 Chicago Fire
+165 San Jose Earthquakes
Note: That's some odd confidence in Chicago. They did seem spirited in their first match. Something strange is going on with San Jose, admittedly. They've been in Orlando the longest, I heard. Even still. I like San Jose. But not overly confident about it.
 
10:30 PM EST
-162 Seattle Sounders
+425 Vancouver
Note: Seattle. That's as heavy a favorite as you'll see in MLS. It'd take a red card or some natural event for Vancouver to win. They are dysfunctional.