MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER’S TELEVISION RATINGS ARE POOR! THEY’RE LOWER THAN THE LEAGUE WANTS! DON GARBER WANTS MORE EYES ON SETS AND DEAR GOD HE’S NOT GETTING THEM! WE CANNOT HANDLE THIS MUCH LONGER AND IF WE DON’T FIX IT THE ENTIRE HOUSE OF CARDS IS GOING TO FALL. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE MAD DONNIE!
THEY’VE HIRED – Sorry, I just realized I typed the last paragraph in all caps. I won’t fix it, it was too good and I custom-ordered this keyboard to be without a backspace key, my therapist said it’d help me be more assertive. It hasn’t, but I must work with what I have.
They’ve hired me – inspired by the incredible view counts I’ve earned on all of my posts about MLS – to offer solutions. I only get paid if they work, and only thirty five dollars at that. But it’s a labor of love. As a fan of Major League Soccer, I have to spend some amount of my time fretting about either low attendance or low television ratings numbers. It’s in the bylaws. No you may not see the bylaws.
Step 1: Reengage Fedora Garber
It’s one of the rarest forms of Garber – but make no mistake, it is his most powerful. The fedora/velveteen scarf combo he brought to a very cold Sporting Park in December 2013 for the MLS Cup Final. Deployed, to my knowledge, only once – and to great effect. Doesn’t it just have an aura? Isn’t there something drawing you into that picture? Doesn’t it inspire you to keep looking on? I realize that too much saturation of Fedora Garber can be harmful, lethal, even, but minor, scattered cutaways to Fedora Garber sitting in a suite next to Arthur Blank on a given Saturday afternoon Philadelphia/Atlanta tie on ABC will have the necessary effect.
Imagine everyone talking about Don Garber’s fedora, all the Twitter feeds about Don Garber’s fedora, the Reddit threads about Don Garber’s fedora. It could, as the slightly out of touch ad executives like to say, “Break the Internet”. And ultimately, isn’t that the point? We want fewer people on the internet and more people watching Major League Soccer on TV.
Step 2: An MLS Manningcast
So I will admit – The Manningcast was nonsensical to me. I tried watching the Peyton and Eli Manning Monday Night Football commentary special broadcasts last year, and I did not get what everyone else got out of it. I will admit that I’ve enjoyed this sort of programming before, but primarily just because it was absurd and the first time that ESPN did it with the College Football playoff in 2015, they inexplicably let everybody eat dinner during the broadcast.
What we don’t need is two retired players doing commentary over the games. At least, I don’t need that. I couldn’t think of two retired players that would be funny to have. I tried really hard and all I ended up with was a lone Mike Petke free associating about whatever’s upsetting him about the game at the moment. That would be funny and I would watch that, but I acknowledge that most networks would have to drop it by like the twentieth minute and Petke’s twentieth crossing of the proverbial line.
No, what I would like is not two retired players broadcasting from their home. What I would like is current coaches (most of whom, to be fair, are retired players), mic’d up for ninety minutes from the sidelines.
You’d have to be specific in whom you’d pick. Certain guys wouldn’t be that interesting. You don’t want, like, Gonzalo Pineda and Gerhard Struber mic’d up all game. You want it to be scarce, a big occasion when it happens.
But just imagine it… Coming up this weekend – The Columbus Crew versus Sporting Kansas City. Caleb Porter versus Peter Vermes. The perpetually annoying versus the perpetually annoyed. Every word over ninety minutes. And I’ll throw a spanner in the works – Get Baldomero Toledo to referee the game, slip him like fifty bucks and tell him to be as hands off as possible, and mic him up as well. Uncensored.
The possibilities are endless. And the possibilities would also cause the sponsors to get the game pulled off of TV by halftime. But it would be highly entertaining.
Step 3: Hire the Max Headroom Broadcast Intrusion Guy
If you can’t get viewers to switch their TVs to MLS… Get their TVs to switch THEM to MLS. They never found the guy who did the 1987 Chicago Max Headroom Signal Intrusion Event (for those of you unaware I’ll send you to our main man Ben from the Oddity Archive.), so he’s probably still available for hire, or at least he’s probably not in jail. It’s pretty simple, you get him to hack into some channel that everybody’s watching, and you put some mid-week MLS match on there. I’ve mocked up what that might look and sound like here:
WARNING: YOU WILL RESPECT ME LESS FOR THE VERY CREEPY THING I’VE MADE HERE. IF YOU HAVE ANY MODICUM OF RESPECT LEFT FOR ME AND YOU’D LIKE TO KEEP IT PLEASE DON’T WATCH THE VIDEO THAT FOLLOWS
Simple as that! Now you’ve brought the game to them.
Step 4: Get a Third Commercial
As we know, MLS has two commercials. We all wait on pins and needles for the two commercials. On any commercial break, be it pre-game, halftime, or post-game, you will see the two commercials. It always goes Audi, then Heineken. Audi, then Heineken. Audi, then Heineken. Last year it was Janelle Monae for Audi the entire year and three or four repeating but still annoying Heineken ads immediately following. Any stoppage, and you knew it was coming: Janelle Monae would go “Singiiiiiiiing……. or Speaking” and then there would be an ad where a bunch of people carried Heinekens around to some old Dean Martin song, or something like that. The guy they have this year for Audi is not Janelle Monae and he does not go “Singiiiiiiiiing…….. or Speaking” and the Heineken ad I think is just a reused old UEFA Champions League ad.
I know that MLS has had other sponsors – Target, Cheez-It, Captain Morgan, Continental Tires – but for whatever reason, nobody can break the Audi/Heineken stronghold atop the MLS Commercial break hierarchy. We need a third. We just need a third. I want Freddy Adu eating soup again:
Step 5: Mascots are Allowed to Carry a Huge Mallet Around and Take One Swing Per Game
Okay. Hear me out. One swing only. They can run out on to the field, but they can’t take more than one swing per game. If they miss, they miss, and that’s it. But if they connect… Might be a big advantage. Might work out. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? Who wouldn’t want to watch a mascot with a comically oversized mallet walk out and just take a swing. Could be at a guy, could be at the ball, doesn’t necessarily matter. The player should be able to easily evade the mascot – but you never know. Just imagine… An opposing player, goalbound, one-on-one with the keeper, surely a goal… but here comes Crew Cat
Huh? Right? What about ol’ Slyde?
There’s some evil in those eyebrows, right? Don’t you think he’d enjoy taking a nice swing? How about Rapidman?
Oh fuck, oh no, Oh fuck I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mocked that up. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have given Rapidman the mallet. I see the stretcher next to him. I see him approaching me. I see the dead eyes behind those sunglasses. I see the evil glee in that smile… oh god… oh here he comes… HERE HE COMES
Tell me you wouldn’t pay money to watch Rapidman beat me to death with a huge mallet