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MLS Media Blitz Should Result in PR Sacking

Explain this to me MLS front-office PR-type people…

You have a 20 week offseason, but you wait until the last week before the season starts to send four guys (Olsen, Twellman, Conrad, Davino) to NYC for one day to take MLS’s “message to the masses”? The PR masterminds behind the “Gigli” campaign did a better job of promoting their product. 

This raises another interesting question, how many people does MLS’s PR department consider a “mass”? Anything more than a baker’s dozen would probably be one too many (so, basically a dozen).

I have nothing against Olsen or MLS newcomer Davino, they are good players and fine representatives of the league. As I mentioned before, I love Jimmy Conrad, though I’m not “in love” with him. At least I hope not. And I think Taylor Twellman is just dandy (though its odd MLS would send someone who is clearly not happy to still be playing in what he obviously considers to be a league below his standards).

It’s not that I have a problem with these guys, they are solid players and fine gentlemen and I am sure the time they spent with “various media outlets” will result in some quality PR for the league. Whether that PR actually reaches any potential fans’ ears is another question altogether.

From the completely non-biased article on MLSnet (can you read sarcasm or does it require vocal inflection to be effective?), it appears the players’ majority of PR work went into interviews with ABC Radio, ESPN the Magazine and ESPN First Take (I wonder who owns MLS TV rights?) and MLSnet’s own Shep and Greg.

So, basically MLS PR people set up some Q&A’s with people whose financial interests and livelihood are tied to MLS, but got the “pub” about the new season out to few outside of that small media community.  

In all fairness, the article mentions sitdowns with Reuters, NYTimes.com, and BigThink.com as well. But I doubt we will be seeing previews in SI this week or on ESPN’s flagship show SportsCenter (I hope so, but doubt). But, you know, how many sports fans read SI or watch SportsCenter anyways.

Pretty much all of them?

Oh… and I thought BigThink.com and Fox Business News were where Americans went for sports news…

The MLS may think “the word has been spread” about its upcoming season, but I would beg to differ. In fact, I can’t remember the last time their was so little buzz about the league prior to the first game (even among returning fans). Coupled with the fact that their will be no season opener televised, I bet a majority of Americans… no, make that a vast majority of American sports fans do not even know the season is about to begin.

Even arena football is kicking the crap out of MLS in the “I am conscious that such a thing exists” department. I just hope nobody starts a Major League Badminton (I would patronize the matches though if promised a free shuttlecock in every cold beer).

I’m sure the MLS PR department is doing the best they can with limited resources (I’m betting they blew most of their budget on balloons for Beckham’s arrival last season), but one day of media (even starting as “early as 7:30 a.m.”) by four players does not equal a “whirlwind media tour”.

If we were talking about a movie that cost as much to produce as it costs to run MLS, the media blitz would be alarming in its monstrosity. So to get back to my original question, why cheap out on promoting the league?

Seriously, why?