Free Kicks is a new feature we're bringing to Once a Metro. This feature will be a special one as it'll be written by just me. This will be an occasional feature that will have opinions, site news, and announcements.
Major League Soccer (through the use of a 3rd party) has this service you may or may not have heard about called MLS Live. It allows you to watch out of market games and in-market after a specified blackout period. It's a great tool for watching games, but it could be better.
Games on national tv (Fox Sports, ESPN, UniMas) experience a 48-hour blackout on the service. If you are lucky enough to have a cable company that carries all three, you're set. If you are like me, however, things can get a little tricky. A few simple changes can make the service better, bring the league some extra money, and get the blackout restrictions lifted.
- Air both broadcasts for a non-national game. When the Red Bulls played Columbus in April, fans could only watch the Columbus broadcast. There's no choice of which feed to watch, so you couldn't pick the MSG broadcast (in this case) if you wanted to.
- Air the same feed that the cable companies get, to help their ratings. The Nielsen ratings are the standard by which television programs are judged. They help drive demand and get the team and league more money on TV contracts. Nielsen has recently started to count online viewership (albeit independent of the Over the Air/Cable ratings). Help the local/national tv ratings. It will prove there is a demand, especially in areas that don't get UniMas/Fox Sports.
- Along with using the same feed as the cable companies, allow the ads to be shown. This will allow the broadcasters to sell more ads as they'll fill the space the local providers use. More money for the companies will eventually equate to more.
- With the three suggestions above, remove the blackouts. MLS Live may have to cost more money, but most of the biggest market for MLS Live would gladly pay it. The market is millennials that are looking to (or have) cut cable. Give them a way to watch MLS for say $100 a year, and you'll have a much bigger subscriber base to sell.
Coverage of NYRB II & Sky Blue FC
You'll have probably noticed our coverage of New York Red Bulls II & Sky Blue FC that we picked up this year. Well we have some handy hubs for you to visit for both of those.
Earlier today we put up a call for new contributors. We're looking to expand our coverage and are looking for people to help. If you are interested in writing for Once a Metro, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.