Major League Soccer

2009 MLS Cup to air on ESPN during prime time


The 2009 MLS Cup will air on prime time on ESPN, rather than ABC, which had been the home for the event in year's past. The move marks the first time in the league's history that the MLS Cup final won't air on network television.

This year's MLS Cup final is being played in Seattle on Sunday, Nov. 22, and the West Coast start time of 5:30pm Pacific, 8:30pm Eastern, means the final had to be moved to ESPN in order to accommodate a later kick-off.

What do you think of this development? Like the idea of the MLS Cup final going up against NFL Football and prime time Network TV? Prefer the game be played during the daytime like year's past? Plan to make the trip out to Seattle?

Share your thoughts below.

  • jon

    last year was against the NFL as well…

    I like it on ESPN… makes more sense because that is where casual fans have found the sport all year long… seems silly put the finals in a different place.


  • dantheblue

    Its about time we put this beautiful game and all its drama up against the behemoth that is the NFL. Even if the numbers are low, I’m certain that there are plenty of fans like me who prefer to watch a good football game than a good NFL game.

    I predict low numbers but not discouraging… In fact the opposite… numbers high enough to justify trying it again over the course of the season and eventually the MLS will play on the same timetable as the rest of the world!

    Go LA… See you on the tele that glorious day!



  • Michael Vann

    Interesting. All Prime Time shows/sporting events have obstacles so it should comes to no surprise if the ratings aren’t good. Regardless, I think Prime Time is good. It at least has an opportunity to reach a bigger, better audience. Whether it does or not remains to be seen. But it’s certainly worth a shot to have the game on prime time.


  • afrim

    no matter what time slot it was going to be on sunday it was going to go up against atleast 1 or 2 nfl games.

    had it been during the day cbs and fox most likley would have been playing games at the same time..im guessing garber would rther go up against one NFL game than 2.

    i better MLS FO is praying the galaxy get in so they can squeeze a few more cents out of the corpse of the beckham buzz


  • Reid

    still dislike the sunday aspect. Makes it almost impossible to travel cross county and make it back for work monday morning


  • Isaac

    Hey, why not? The league is making a leap of faith putting it up against football and I like it. The first risk is getting people to tune in as opposed to football. The second risk is the teams providing some good football. I really hope that it’s Houston and Seattle because they’re two good attacking sides( then again, Seattle hasn’t scored at home in a couple of months….)


  • gmonsoon43

    Anytime the game is on a Sunday it will be against NFL. The NFL has games 1-4, 4:15-7:15 and 8:20-11:20 Eastern Time. The only hope they could have is getting most of the game in that hour of downtime.


  • Brian

    Why is this news? This was announced in MARCH! All of a sudden, the SBJ pays attention and there is an uproar? Stupid.

    They have gone against the NFL many times. It happens. There is no good time for MLS so they need to stop worrying about everyone else and make the game the best they can.


  • David

    I can’t imagine any team wants to have to contend the title in Seattle at the end of November.

    The question is, if Seattle doesn’t make it, how many fans come out to freeze?


  • Jason

    Will it be on turf for sure, or are they going to put in grass?

    Any game on turf is a disgrace, much less a final.


  • CA

    MLS Cup is part of the Sounders season ticket package, so there should be a pretty good crowd. Playing sport in the cold rain is nothing new here in the pacific northwest, so I dont think many fans are gonna skip simply because it’s raining outside.


  • guillermo

    I’m going to Seattle for the MLS final. I live near Chicago and I’m also a Bears fan.

    I think the game should be played on Saturday. There is no reason to go up against the NFL right now.


  • Dman

    Until the MLS Cup is not held at a neutral location, it is a big yawn fest and bad for soccer in the US.

    See Crew vs. Red Bulls last year. On prime TV and plenty of empty seats. Not good marketing for non traditional fans to watch.


  • Dominick

    A good move. Even though ABC and ESPN are under the same umbrella, ESPN will promote the game more. Also–yes, it was going to go against any NFL game, or College game when it was played over a weekend. Sunday is the largest tv night of the week–at least the pie will be large so that even a small slice is better than the audience on a weekend afternoon.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    If through whatever series of flukes necessary puts the Sounders (for the rapid home crowd) and the Galaxy (for the star power and soap opera) into the final, it could be a watershed broadcast. If it turns out to be Chivas USA and Columbus, despite the promising quality, it won’t register a blip on the sporting scene.


  • Jay

    If you have it at night, you are only going up against on NFL game instead of several.

    Also, if you move it to Saturday you will be up against College Football.

    There is no reasonable time to hold the game that doesnt pit it up against football.


  • Trent

    I would like to make the trip up to Seattle to watch the Crew win again, but I will have a one month old and do not want to expose her to the Seattle pollution.


  • Frank

    Last year’s final was a big yawn fest? Not the game I watched!

    If Seattle season ticket holders will get their current seats, are “away” fans banned to the upper sections?

    Anyway, I’d prefer an afternoon kickoff. Having a family with young kids there is no way, I’ll go out to watch the game with friends. Instead I’ll be sitting at home with my wife flipping to other channels whenever she feels like. Thanks MLS!


  • Dabull

    Well if you play on Saturday so you don’t go up against the NFL game on Sunday, you end up going up against college football, which is sorta a big thing too. And then you get a bad time slot due to all the primetime games on espn and abc.


  • Colin

    I’ve always thought that MLS games look better under the lights (primetime) than day games (something about the kits and field looking way more vibrant). I think the Sunday night time slot is the best one available, considering there will be only one NFL game on, instead of 4 or even 8.

    As far as the Seattle location – should be a good crowd, based on what the Sounders games look like.

    I agree with everyone that the turf field should be taken out and replaced… would really suck to see a MLS Cup decided by a joke of a field. The Sounders really should consider changing the name of it to the Xbox Fake Grass at Qwest Field, since it’s not really “pitch” at all, is it?


  • Nate(Sounders)

    Its a good move, games are always better at night.

    There is a good chance that we will bring in grass, we did for Chelsea and Barcelona. Seahawks will be on the road so there will be no rush to bring the turf back.

    BUT be careful what you wish for! Bringing in grass for a game can be risky, especially since there will be a 95% chance of rain that day. Turf, while not the ideal surface, may be more reliable.


  • Dman

    Last year’s final was a big yawn fest? Not the game I watched!

    If Seattle season ticket holders will get their current seats, are “away” fans banned to the upper sections?

    Anyway, I’d prefer an afternoon kickoff. Having a family with young kids there is no way, I’ll go out to watch the game with friends. Instead I’ll be sitting at home with my wife flipping to other channels whenever she feels like. Thanks MLS!

    Posted by: Frank | September 21, 2009 at 02:01 PM

    The game itself wasnt a yawnfest but the amount of fans for a “major” sport championship was.


  • MKF25

    The subplot that nobody’s talking about is that MLS Cup is scheduled to be on the same day as the final NASCAR race in Miami, which will be on ABC during the day. So even if somebody decided they wanted it on free TV, it would be impossible, regardless. As opposed to last year where the Miami race was on the 16th and then MLS Cup the following week on ABC.

    Terrible job of scheduling by MLS.


  • Drew_ROC

    I realized more than ever the importance of having games on ESPN over the past week. I spent the week in Mooresville, NC for business (not related to the numerous NASCAR team HQ’s in town). If it weren’t for MLS on ESPN I would have not watched any soccer all week.

    Bars, restaurants and hotels turn their TV’s to HLN and ESPN. If the games are on ESPN, people will watch whether they would have chosen to or not.

    The more I travel, the more I think we oughta start a section on Yelp just for soccer fans to find bars and restaurants that show soccer.


  • Andy

    The benefit for soccer fans in the US is that it won’t be conflicting w/ any live European football. That’s a bonus at least for me. Sunday afternoon it was always like, “Okay….MLS Cup or Serie A?”


  • kebzach

    I don’t exactly see the risk here. It’s not like past MLS Cups on ABC have drawn good ratings. Because they haven’t.


  • harry

    If you want to make a statement……..have Seattle Make the Final with 66,000 roaring in Green. Yes, favor them the calls from here on out.if your a True MLS fan you will agree with me. We need our MLS cup finals to be looking good and World Class on TV, not 15,000 in half-empty LA like last year.


  • Gregory Leff

    I’d prefer it be on ABC since I don’t have cable … although I’d like it to be available online streaming as well.

    I’m likely a small minority that doesn’t have cable.


  • Andy

    What was the deal w/ last year? I went 2 years ago to RFK and it was 2 out of town teams. There were over 40,000 people there.


  • Camille

    RFK was awesome two years ago. Houston fans really showed up and were willing to make the trip. And Bob Kraft actually hooked us Rev Fans up with free buses down to DC. There were about 5k in Rev Fans alone.

    If the Revs make the final this makes it virtually impossible for me to make the trip all the way from Boston. Getting back post match will be terrible.


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