SBD/May 11, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

True Hollywood Story: The Home Depot Center To Host '11 MLS Cup

MLS yesterday formally announced that The Home Depot Center will host MLS Cup 2011, the fourth time the AEG-owned facility has hosted the league's championship game. The game will kick off at 9:00pm ET on Nov. 20 and air live on ESPN and Galavision in the U.S. and TSN2 in Canada. The Home Depot Center previously hosted the MLS Cup in '03, '04 and '08 (THE DAILY). AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke "had let it slip a couple of months ago that the Home Depot Center was going to be the site for the game, but MLS had yet to officially comment on that" prior to yesterday's announcement (SOCCERBYIVES.net, 5/10). The championship game is "included in Galaxy full-season ticket plans as Bonus Game 1," and a "special ticket pre-sale will take place for all current Galaxy ticket plan holders who want to add additional tickets at a discounted price" (LATIMES.com, 5/10).

THINK ON YOUR FEET: In Minneapolis, Wendy Lee reported staffers at the MLS sales training program in Minnesota "performed scenes at Brave New Workshop, a comedy theater," last week as part of their training. MLS officials contend that it is "simply good strategy for its sales team to develop a little of the timing, confidence and attitude that you would find in a comedy club." Lee noted the 45-day sales training program is a "major change" for MLS. Eleven trainees are "picked from a hundred applicants who make short videos explaining why they love sales and soccer," and the program "prepares the selected team to sell league tickets." The initiative "began last July and is in its fifth session." In its first four sessions, 42 graduates "landed jobs, and in their full-time positions have produced more than $1 million in sales." The league declined to disclose the program's budget (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/10).

REAL WORLD: In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce notes Real Salt Lake is "one of the best teams" in MLS, averaging the most points per game this season, yet "only five of 18 MLS teams make fewer appearances on national television during the regular season than RSL." By comparison, the Red Bulls "make eight appearances on ESPN2 this season, three more than the last four MLS Cup champions combined." Pierce: "Four appearances by RSL is just this side of insane. ... When you're fighting for fans, giving RSL just four of a possible 86 national TV slots makes absolutely no sense" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 5/11).

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