MLS Will Benefit from College Football Playoff Coverage Lead-in


The 2014 MLS Cup Final commences on Sunday at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN battling for ratings against professional football, which will be on CBS and FOX. The NFL is king when it comes to television ratings, but Major League Soccer will benefit from the other football – college football. Starting at 12:30 p.m. EST the College Football Playoff Selection Show will air as analysts debate who should make the playoff and who shouldn’t make it. They will also go over who the selection committee picks to the four-team playoff in their inaugural Selection Sunday.

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On Saturdays in the Fall, college football dominates the airways and social media. Soccer gets lost behind football and other sports at times, but the controversy around the four-team playoff and who is going to make it will benefit MLS. This is because a 2 hours and 30 minutes of college football discussion will lead into the 2014 MLS Cup Final. Usually, MLS games are lead in by EPL games when games are on NBC. Sometimes college sports lead into MLS and helps the ratings.

In this case, the controversy about who the fourth team will be will drive fans to ESPN. Not all will stick around for the 2014 MLS Cup Final and many won’t watch the selection show in favor of NFL action. However, another group will stick around especially if they hear Landon Donovan’s name in the first few minutes of ESPN’s broadcast of the MLS Cup Final. Likewise, there will be ample commercials promoting the final during the playoff selection show.

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On Saturday, fans, media, and even the teams themselves were trying to prove which teams belong. It appears three teams – Alabama, Oregeon, and Florida St. – are a lock for the playoff, but the fourth spot is a debate. This debate between including Ohio St., TCU, and Baylor will drive the ratings for not only the selection show, but also potentially the MLS Cup Final. The College Football Playoff Selection Show is arguably the best lead-in MLS could wish for. College football gets the fans talking as evident, before, during, and especially after Saturday’s action.

In addition to college football bringing in high ratings, the college football playoff in the FBS division is in its inaugural season. It’s the first time the selection committee is having December Madness and selecting their four teams who will participate in the playoff. This has also caused many people to compare the BCS system to the new system. This further drives debate and conversation and has many asking how the new system makes the FBS division any better and less controversial.

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  • ESPN embraces debate and controversy. No matter which four teams make the four-team playoff, there will be teams who feel snubbed and fans wanting to voice their opinions via social media. The crowd will be watching and waiting for the selection committees decision on the show. The show’s lead-in to the 2014 MLS Cup Final will only benefit the TV ratings and the league due to the high level of fans tuning into the selection show. Not all will stick around for the MLS Cup Final, but many people’s interest will be peaked when ESPN’s coverage flips from college football to the MLS Cup Final that features the best American soccer player in Landon Donovan.

    Just like college football drives ratings, Donovan’s name alone will keep the non-hardcore and fair weather fan to keep on ESPN’s MLS coverage.