Major League Soccer is always looking for ways to make the TV viewing experience better for fans at home. (And, thus, get more people to watch.) Here’s something it could do that would cost the league absolutely nothing.
Make one of the teams wear white jerseys. What could be easier?
For me, the Portland-Real Salt Lake game on Sept. 17 was unwatchable. Portland was outfitted in dark-green jerseys, shorts and socks; RSL was in dark red jerseys, shorts and socks.
I might just as well have been watching it on a black-and-white TV. They were indistinguishable.
OK, I’m a bit color blind. But that’s not particularly rare. According to the National Eye Institute, as many as 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women with northern European ancestry have red-green color blindness.
But even those who have full color vision would have had an easier time watching that RSL-Portland game if one of the teams wore white jerseys. An even the truly colorblind can tell the difference between a dark color and white.
If an MLS club is so concerned with making a fashion statement and white just won’t do it for them, at least make wear a much-lighter or decidedly different color. BYU wore royal blue and Utah wore red when they met in football a few weeks ago, and that worked. The Seattle Sounders’ almost neon green jerseys were far more easily distinguishable from RSL’s red this past Saturday. (Even when all the jerseys were darkened by the driving rain.)
And the Columbus Crew’s all-neon yellow uniforms provide plenty of contrast.
One team wearing white used to be the standard. It’s simple. It’s free. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It makes for a better television-viewing experience.
Isn’t that what MLS is supposed to be all about?
A peek at Pac-12 Network ratings
The Pac-12 Network has never released ratings information — heck, it’s never released any info about how many subscribers it has. And in TV, no news is bad news.
No business brags more than TV. Even mediocre ratings or distribution info is trumpeted as a triumph.
So it’s news that Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News got ahold of some ratings info — although it’s info that, under other circumstances, I’d ignore. It covers just one market (one city) in the Pac-12 — he doesn’t reveal which — and just four Saturdays last fall.
So the decent ratings for football games don’t mean anything, unless you’re selling local advertising in that one market. And it’s not necessarily worth panicking because the ratings for unnamed Olympic sports are essentially non-existent.
But let’s panic a bit anyway.
In 21 of 22 time segments, the unnamed Olympic sports on the P12N national feed in that one TV market registered a 0.0 share. That means so few people were watching that it didn’t register on the unnamed ratings service.
If this is any indication of how many people watch Olympic sports on P12N, then — from a purely TV perspective — the league is throwing money away by producing and televising them. You can’t sell advertising if no one is watching, and you’re not attracting subscribers.
The Big Ten Network and the SEC Network do very few live telecasts of Olympic sports and are hugely successful, raking in tons of money. The Pac-12 Network telecasts of hundreds of Olympic sports events live and is considerably less successful.
I wish that weren’t so, but it is.