On Sunday, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas are looking to clinch the Supporter's Shield. The Red Bulls were set to kick off at 5 pm eastern time against the Chicago Fire. The word "was" is used because the match has now been moved.
This is great because FC Dallas takes on San Jose at 7 pm eastern. Now you have two games, both of which will decide the Shield race at the same time, so you get to show drama on TV. It's a brilliant move! Except for when it screws up the plans of traveling fans.
Moving #RBNY to 7pm is great for the SS race, but how many traveling fans does this effect?
— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) October 20, 2015
That's a good question. There are more than a few people complaining about the move of the game. Air fare and tickets being wasted are just two of the complaints. The issue comes down to the day of the game. Since MLS decided to put all of the final matches on Sunday (in and of itself a smart move to have a "Decision Day"), that doesn't leave a travel day in between for fans to return home for work on Monday. A lot of people don't have vacation time saved up where they can take a day off to travel to a match, especially given the distance that the US introduces. This tweet by Tim Hall, from before the switch was announced, demonstrates the problem perfectly.
EVERYBODY STOP! Games are staying where they are. Flights are booked and my column is in. LEAVE THE GAMES ALONE.
— Tim HELL!!! (@timtheredmenace) October 20, 2015
A trip to Chicago though shouldn't affect THAT many people, right?
@EmpireOfSoccer Seems like there are at least 70, according to Ralph Garcia's FB post— Ainslie Binder (@ainslieann) October 20, 2015
Ouch, 70 people is not a small amount, especially with how long it takes to get to Chicago. In changing the start time, MLS has guaranteed that there won't be any competitive advantage. At the same time, it just made a portion of the fans that support a team in the league upset.
For those who are not traveling for this match (the author included) the time change will make things more interesting, but MLS, and the team, just dug a hole with some of their fans.
UPDATE: The Red Bulls now appear to be taking steps to address the issue for traveling support.
Sources tell me that #RBNY is finalizing details to help those traveling supporters who had travel plans effected by the time change.— Mark Fishkin (@MarkFishkin) October 20, 2015