3 Things: MLR Round 2

Each week brings too many story lines to cover in depth. 3 Things is our weekly feature to rectify that, taking a shallow dive into three story lines that deserve more coverage.

Only Six Games Left at the SportsDeck

If you’re one of the fans enjoying the San Diego SportsDeck, no you’re not.

Its hard to believe that the Legion are in their second year away from Torerro Stadium. Last year’s Covid induced exile made sense. Not being able to return this year is even less enjoyable.

In fairness, San Diego has already lined up the soon-to-be-opened Snapdragon Stadium for next year, returning the Legion to their place near the top of the MLR’s stadium rankings. The SportsDeck has proven to be a less than serviceable short term solution.

The biggest issue is in broadcasting. Camera’s are far from the field with inconsistent connections. Commentators can rarely tell who’s on the field. (Heck, the broadcasters didn’t even have the updated rosters during the game.)

Like all things MLR, its a set back in the short-term that will be rectified with a long-term solution, but we can all look forward to a day when the SportsDeck is in the rear-view.

NOLA’s Broadcasting is the Gold Standard

Seattle and Austin have packed stadiums. LA has the best pure venue, while Houston has the best looking field. But, when it comes to the total broadcast, NOLA deserves more credit.

Over the last couple years, the league has taken a more active role in broadcast production. Originally, Dan Powers and Pete Steinberg would man national broadcasts, while a local team would manage any other home game. As the MLR has centralized broadcasting as a service to the teams, NOLA has become an outlier.

Tune into an non-nationally broadcast NOLA home game, and you’ll have a local broadcast team that doesn’t try too hard to hide their rooting interests. Is the color commentator a bit of a curmudgeon? Absolutely. There’s a lot of ‘we’ instead of ‘they’. There’s interviews at halftime instead of the same prerecorded halftime content you’ll see on every single match that weekend.

That type of broadcast isn’t foreign to American fans. Tune into your local baseball game. Or NBA game. Or NFL game. National broadcasts are events, but you get to know your local broadcast teams. These are the people you’re watching the game with, whether you’re in a bar or streaming it on your phone at home. Central broadcasting isn’t the worst thing right now, but local broadcasting is a beautiful quirk that should be appreciated in its own rite.

Don’t Encourage More Thursday Footy

Just don’t.

The NFL’s big game might’ve forced some MLR schedule changes, but Thursday rugby is not something that should be regular.

Its tempting to want more media windows. Try watching three games at one on a Saturday night. (Hint: no more than two at once, and re-watch the other.) But short week rugby is too dangerous to be a long term solution. Injuries filled the Thursday game. That’s how we ended up with uncontested scrums, but the damage was far greater. Injuries will linger into later weeks. Compromising the season in the name of easier viewing isn’t the answer.

For teams, most revenue comes from game day operations. There’s no reason to focus on broadcasting, as much as many of us would like. However, squad’s aren’t big enough to rotate and put on compelling games.

The solution could be a Thursday night game following a team’s bye week. A Thursday night kickoff game could also be an option. But if its media windows you want, there’s plenty of options on Saturday and Sunday that limit player welfare concerns.

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