Fitting End To A Bad Idea

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Chivas Logo

CD Chivas USA ceased to exist Monday. It finished the season out of the playoffs yet again and with the worst attendance (7,000 plus on average) in MLS by far. What does the league plan to do next? Another team in LA of course!

Plenty of Good Seats Still AvailableChivas USA came into the MLS in 2005 and owner Jorge Vergara essentially made the club a development team (more or less) with a few over the hill veterans sprinkled in to make it look like it wasn’t a development team. Needless to say that plan failed. Pretty much every other plan after that failed too as the club went through 9 coaches in 10 years and failed to make the playoffs in it’s last 5 years of existence. 

MLS Commissioner Don Garber recently said that the Chivas strategy was ‘not on target’. This is true but why? Well it started with the above decision and in all honesty never recovered. The club also focused too much on appealing to Hispanic fans in an attempt to mimic the Chivas de Guadalajara model, their parent club. Maybe if it worried more about appealing to soccer fans in general as opposed to a specific market then it may have found some better success at the gate.

MLS will announce another team for the LA market on Thursday. This team will take the field in 2017 and will eventually have it’s own stadium so that they do not have to share a place with the crown jewel of MLS the LA Galaxy.

So what lessons have been learned? Not many because MLS is pretty much replicating the Chivas USA disaster with New York City FC (NYCFC). NYCFC will begin play next season in Yankee Stadium and is being backed by the owners of Manchester City (the Abu Dhabi government for those of you playing at home). Foreign owners, big checkbook, and no stadium to call their own. Gee, that doesn’t sound familiar.

In NYCFC’s defense they did hire one of the best coaches in all of MLS in Jason Kreis. Kreis has won an MLS Cup already with Real Salt Lake and taken them to another. Imagine what he can do with a big checkbook at his disposal. Then again, convincing players to come to a club that will play on a baseball field may be a hard sell regardless of the fact that it is in New York City.

Chivas USA was an unmitigated disaster. Yes MLS was in a different place 10-12 years ago but Real Salt Lake came into the league at the same time as Chivas USA and all they have done is win an MLS cup, compete for another and become one of the most impressive clubs in the entire league. ‘Not on target’ may be too light of a phrase.

Can the new club be successful? Maybe. Even with great ownership it’s still a maybe. LA is a tough market and there is so much competition for the entertainment dollar. MLS would have been better served with moving the club to Sacramento or Las Vegas and wiping the slate completely clean vs leaving some of the residue in the pan. In any event ‘LA2’ as it is being called will be upon us soon enough and we’ll see if two clubs in LA can actually work.

 

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What to Watch Friday 10/24- Sunday 10/26

All times are PST

Friday October 24th

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 3 in San Francisco. Series tied 1-1.

Oregon Ducks at Cal Golden Bears – 7pm FS1: Ducks better be on ‘let down alert’ cause the Golden Bears can score some points in a hurry.

Saturday October 25th

West Ham United vs Manchester City – 4:45am NBCSN: Believe it or not but this is a battle of top 4 teams in the Premier League.

LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders – 12:30pm NBC: Battle for the Supporters Shield.

West Virginia at Oklahoma State – 12:30pm ESPN: West Virginia just gives people problems but Oklahoma State can too. This could be another Big 12 shootout.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts – 1pm ESPN3: The Eastern Conference is still a mess and both of these teams have a chance to take it.

Ole Miss at LSU – 4:15pm ESPN: Big road challenge for Ole Miss. Baton Rouge at night is no cake walk and LSU found some of the old Tiger swagger last weekend.

Chicago Blackhawks at St Louis Blues – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Last year they played the best playoff series of the Stanley Cup. ‘Nuff said.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Somebody hold back the Preds. Only team left in the NHL that is undefeated in regulation.

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 4 of the World Series.

USC at UTAH – 7pm FS1: It’s a blackout in Salt Lake City. This should be a lot of fun.

Sunday October 26th

Manchester United vs Chelsea – 9am NBC: Yep, this is happening. Chelsea is streaking and Man UTD isn’t but it should still be electric.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers – 10am FOX: Two teams that rolled through the NFL last season are now looking a losing records with a loss on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Which version of these teams show up is the real question. Should be a hard hitting game regardless.

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals – 1pm FOX: Two of the better teams in the NFC square off in the desert.

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks – 5pm NHL GameCenter: Usually two of the best teams in the West and this year should be no different.

KC Royals at SF Giants – 5pm FOX: Game 5 of the World Series.

 

 

Great On Air But Terrible Online

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Without a doubt ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is some of the best storytelling/entertainment for sports fans on TV. Problem is that if you miss one and did not DVR it then watching it online is not a user friendly experience.

Boz

If you haven’t seen one of the many ESPN 30 for 30’s then you are missing out. They are creative, insightful and very entertaining. They cover a wide variety of subjects like the University of Miami football team to the earthquake that postponed the World Series. If you missed the episode on TV then watching it online becomes a real challenge.

The website for 30 for 30 is pretty. It has a summary of every episode, comments and a nice big image. What it doesn’t have is video. Yes they may have one or two but no archive. You have to do a search and maybe you will find the an episode on YouTube or on ESPN’s website buried somewhere beyond comprehension. Pretty much they’re saying, ‘here is this awesome feature we did and here is what it’s about but go watch it on TV.’ It’s a backwards way of thinking.This is backward thinking creates a bad online user experience and negates all of the online claims that ESPN makes with every PR release.

30 for 30 VIDEO

ESPN needs to make the 30 for 30 more accessible for online viewing. It can do this in two ways: First, build out the YouTube page. The current versions are not what we’d expect from ESPN. Second, build out the 30 for 30 site itself. Add video and build and searchable archive. Do it now before the series backlog becomes too big of a mountain to climb and you cannot do something truly innovative.

30 for 30 on YouTube

ESPN my be the 800lb gorilla in sports but it is vulnerable when it rests on it’s laurels. Not providing replays of original features like 30 for 30 online and making it easy to find shows that it is resting on its laurels. It also provides competitors like NBC and FOX avenues to start chipping away at ESPN’s lead. ESPN needs to actually get on the new media train and stop with the lip service.