As I was watching Saturday’s Columbus-Chicago game, I noticed something terrible. No, it was the announcing, although many people harp on that. The two announcers in this game, as well as the sideline reporter (touchline reporter?), felt the need to fill every second with inane chatter about anything and everything without letting the game just happen. It wasn’t the few vuvuzelas that I heard, even though I’m ready for them to be gone. No, what annoyed me the most was seeing the terrible picture quality to which Fox Soccer Channel subjects us. Instead of watching a professional sporting even, it felt like I was watching a soccer game being broadcast on a college-run channel. All that was missing was advertisements for the Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
I’m not asking for everything to be in HD, although availability of FSC HD is ridiculously tiny and they tease us with the words “HD LIVE” in the upper right hand corner. All I’m asking for is that I be able to identify which players are which, rather than seeing yellow and red blobs running around on the field. So, as far as I’m concerned, MLS may as well go to Versus, if for nothing else than the picture quality. Versus has experience with broadcasting a season’s worth of games for a professional sport, whereas the majority of FSC’s programming is syndicated content from around the world. FSC can be found in approximately 37 million households in the United States; in 2009, Versus could be found in over 75 million households. That could take MLS to the next level and allow them to grow while allowing FSC to continue to invest in their syndicated content.
There have been rumors of MLS being in the early stages of talks with Versus about the switch. There have been blogposts from hockey fans who think that the MLS moving to Versus would benefit both leagues. And I think it would benefit Versus as well. They’ve been slowly moving away from their heritage as the Outdoor Life Channel, and advertisements for hockey and soccer matches might keep a more fans and different fans than ads for cage fighting and bull riding. I think that if MLS can manage it, a move to MLS would work out great for them and for the network.