No Impact in the USA

Don Garber's scheduling minions made an error not including Montreal in and U.S. telecasts.

On Thursday, Major League Soccer released the highly anticipated 2012 schedule. And everyone except for Toronto FC fans got to see when they would play this season. Montreal Impact’s schedule is quite interesting, with a few milestones and interesting matches ahead.

With that said, there is a big problem. With the new schedule, the league also released the U.S. national television schedule for this coming season.

The Montreal Impact are on U.S. national television zero times.

That is correct. The 19th, and latest franchise in Major League Soccer are not shown once on American television during its inaugural season. It may seem odd at first glance, but it gets more surprising. According to Jonathan Tannenwald of The Goalkeeper, last year’s expansion Portland Timbers made it on television 11 times.

Now, Portland’s Jeld-Wen Field is impressive and Timbers Army are well-represented (to say the very least), it may not be far fetched as to why this happened. The atmosphere was certainly shown off well and MLS had a right to be proud of it.

That was one of the expansion teams. The other, Vancouver Whitecaps received three matches on national television in the United States. Surely, there isn’t a Canadian bias as Vancouver was the second Canadian team to receive a franchise in the North American top division.

The Impact are opening their season in Vancouver, which is already a heated rivalry, and this match will be televised all over Canada. In addition, the Impact’s home opener one week later on March 17th is against Chicago in Stade Olympique. Another match that would be fair game, certainly.

Americans will be unable to watch midfielder Davy Arnaud this season because of the schedule.

To add to it, when Montreal opens Stade Saputo in June, it will be against Seattle Sounders. The Sounders have been the U.S. soccer media’s darling since the team appeared in MLS in 2009. This, arguably more than the first two would be a great option to put on national television. Apparently, that was not what MLS wanted.

The team has these three matches listed on MLS website in a list of important matches for fans to keep an eye on. These matches are three of the four on the list which are not televised.

So why did Montreal get snubbed?

Montreal is in a situation where it can be a huge part of MLS’ growth. As a team in its inaugural season, MLS could (and should) parade it around as its new plaything. Why MLS does not do this is shocking. Fans in the city may not notice as much due to multiple channels covering the team north of the border. However, when it comes to former residents of Montreal living in the United States, other Impact supporters and other soccer fans who are interested in seeing a new product, this could be taken the wrong way.

The only way to watch Montreal play in the United States in 2012 will be via channels that cover other MLS teams locally, or through the league’s Direct Kick package. This likely means many Americans will be switching to watching illegal streams in order to see Montreal in one of these big matches. While this will fix the problem short-term for those who are keen to follow the team, it could put a bit of a damper on the club’s season.

The lack of coverage hurts the team’s growth during a critical period in its history, and it sends a message to Montreal fans that their team is not as important as the rest of the league. Not that Impact fans needed any other reasons to be alienated.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Adam on 01/06/2012 at 13:38

    c’est la vie

    Reply

  2. I hope this gets remedied soon, it seems unfair that it is receiving the short end of television media coverage =(

    Reply

  3. Posted by marekzyskowski on 01/07/2012 at 21:20

    I have a good feeling that the Impact will end up on US TV all the same.

    Reply

  4. Posted by exposhabs on 01/11/2012 at 01:57

    we cant have coverage in our own city,,,imagine un states,,,,,personally i dnt care….i just want more local coverage…it will be a good step

    Reply

  5. Posted by bs on 01/14/2012 at 22:00

    look here is the deal. The “national television” you speak of is for the USA. Americans honestly want to want Americans. I get that Impact Montreal is a new expansion team and MLS should parade them around as much as they have past expansion teams, but how do you know they didn’t try? I’m guessing NBC, ESPN, NBC Sports, ect could care less about Canadian Teams. Those channels sell advertising spots to an american audience who wants to watch American teams, Vancouver made it on TV playing American teams like Portland, LA, etc, which was more of a coincidence than anything because the networks are selling the American teams.

    Reply

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