Is Televising the SuperDraft Smart?

Here’s a question: how many articles/posts/message board items have you read since last Friday that questioned the value Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs get through the SuperDraft.  Jamie Trecker posted a mildly frustrated kick-around on the subject just this morning over on Fox Sports and it covers familiar ground – e.g. not-ready-for-primetime players; the soft perversity built into the balance between value versus talent, the growing importance of the transfer market, etc.

Those points not only matter, they raise a pretty obvious question: does having this event on television actually help MLS?  If the majority of players who enter the league through the SuperDraft aren’t tomorrow’s stars, does the event create hype or fizzle?

I don’t know.  Maybe a single event is all the league can squeeze out of ESPN.  If that’s the case, though, perhaps MLS would be better served by going to, say, Fox Soccer Channel and pushing for a weekly half-hour program that starts in, oh, mid-January or even February and goes where the news really seems to be in the off-season: the transfer market and trades within MLS.

After that, the league can do with the SuperDraft what they’re doing with today’s supplemental draft.  And that would be burying it….very, very quietly.

4 Responses

  1. I have to wonder about this myself. It seems like there are two questions here, the value of even having he event and the value of televising it. There’s no need to go over the value of the vent itself here. I think it’s ridiculous. Many, many people think it’s ridiculous. Whatever value it does have can be achieved through different means, etc.

    But on the other point, if you’re going to hold the event, absolutely televise it. Transfers and drafts keep the league in the public eye when games are not being played, and that is always good. Whatever happens to these guys in the future does not really speak to the TV or no TV point. Anything that keeps the league out there and talked about in whatever-sized circles is good for MLS. Don’t you think?

  2. Fair point, but nope. I’d rather have the weekly show about transfer news. Yeah, there’s the inherent drama of a draft – who goes when, etc. – but, if the powers-that-be can swing it, having a weekly show about players that are likelier to one day matter provides more exposure and more relevant exposure.

    The rub is whether or not they can swing it. But I have seen Fox Soccer Channel’s January and February program and I’m confident they can squeeze it in there somewhere.

  3. I think the kicker with the SuperDraft is that you have teams getting more or less who they wanted to sign regardless of when or where they fall in the draft. It’s not like the NBA or NFL drafts, where scouts have been watching the kids since high school and everybody and their brother has thrown together a mock draft board, and everyone has more or less agreed upon the value of players. I think that aside from the guys at the very top – the names on everybody’s radar – you’ve got teams watching different schools and different players, looking for different sorts of things. That’s how you get something like the Revs pulling 3 Blue Devils this year. If everybody’s just signing who they want, do we need a SuperDraft?

    That said, as long as the thing exists, go ahead and put it on TV. I think that Beckham has taught us that no exposure is bad exposure, and overexposure is the best exposure we could hope for.

    Besides, they just started airing the MLB Draft. Now, those are guys that a) you’ve never heard of because nobody watches college/high school baseball; and b) won’t make a dent in the pros for at least a year – maybe in two or three years, but probably never. The MLS Draft HAS to be more relevant than that, even if MLS is so much less popular than MLB.

  4. In the ideal situation, MLS would be able to show both the SuperDraft and those shows from my imagination. But I think I’d only show the SuperDraft if I didn’t have to pay to broadcast it…and, my guess is, ESPN includes that in their coverage package by way of promoting “the product.” I just think MLS would get more “bang” out of a show that covers trades and transfers of more immediate interest.

    And, I should have mentioned this yesterday, I find the all kinds of drafts dead boring.

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