SBD/Issue 99/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLS Releases '10 Schedule, Similar To European League's Pattern

Sounders FC's Presence In MLS Continues To
Grow As Club Again Has Season's First Match
MLS yesterday released its '10 regular-season schedule and "for the first time in the league's 15-year history, it conforms to the pattern set by Europe's leading leagues," according to Grahame Jones of the L.A. TIMES. Each of MLS' 16 teams "will play the other 15 teams once at home and once on the road" in a 30-game schedule. That follows the patterns "long established in Europe and should lead to an increase in MLS attendance because fans will have only one opportunity of seeing each visiting team and its stars during the regular season." All of the league's 240 games "will be televised regionally or nationally, with one third live on national television." In addition, 85% of games "will be played on weekends," including 75% on Saturdays. The MLS All-Star Game "will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston in late July or early August," and MLS Cup '10 "will be played Nov. 21 at a venue to be announced" (L.A. TIMES, 2/4). FANHOUSE.com's Brian Straus wrote of the schedule, "Each game is a one-off event, the only matchup of those given clubs in that stadium this year. It should add an element of interest and intrigue to each fixture that MLS has not been able to produce consistently" (FANHOUSE.com, 2/3).

STATE OF THE UNION: In Philadelphia, Marc Narducci notes the expansion Union will play their first game in the new PPL Park in Chester on June 27 against Sounders FC. Union President Tom Veit: "The league really worked with us because we wanted to have as many home games as possible in our stadium. I think this is the best possible situation." Veit said that the team has "sold nearly 9,500 season tickets at its new stadium," with a cut-off point of around 12,000. Until the new facility is complete, the club will play at Lincoln Financial Field (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/4).

STAR ATTRACTION: In Seattle, Jose Miguel Romero writes Sounders FC's "presence continues to grow," as the club again has the "first match of the season in the entire league" on March 25 against the Union at Qwest Field. The game is "one of seven Sounders FC appearances on ESPN2 this year," and "no other MLS team appears on an ESPN network more often." The team has 10 total games on national television, and Sounders Senior VP/Business Operations Gary Wright said, "I know the networks like doing games from Qwest Field, and that is a real tribute to the fans and the atmosphere they have created in the stadium" (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/4).

NO BULL: In N.Y., Michael Lewis reports the Red Bulls, who will debut their new Red Bull Arena next month, are "interested in hosting the MLS Cup this year." Red Bulls Managing Dir Erik Stover: "We're seriously considering it. We will put in an application." An MLS source said that the team is "under consideration along with several other cities" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/4).

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