FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt is confident that upcoming TV rights deals could help Major League Soccer become one of the big boys in US sport.
MLS is out-attending NBA, NHL and MLB but TV viewership, as well as the fees paid for broadcasting deals, are nowhere near as fruitful for America and Canada’s top soccer competition.
The Hunt Sports Group president, however, sees the landscape beginning to shift in favour of MLS and suggests it won’t be too long until they are on an even playing field with the top four codes in the US…or even better.
“Up until [the early 1990s], baseball was the most popular sport in the United States and then the NFL has since sailed past it,” Hunt told MLSsoccer.com in a recent interview.
“With the growth coming in soccer, it is very quickly going to pass a lot of these other leagues.
“Our product is on at a lot of different times and I think we need to have that go-to time,” Hunt added.
“For the most part, the [English Premier League's] go-to time [in the US] is Saturday morning. On Sunday, you usually get some other games and one key matchup. It’s my belief that we need to be a little bit more standardized.
“I think that will drive attendance and again, I think that our national team having the success that I hope is coming will drive MLS ratings.”
Hunt added further that impending rights deals will help boost the popularity of MLS and soccer in general in the US.
“These are the most important [TV deals] in league history,” Hunt added. “Your next one always seems to be your most important one. I think they’re going to be a big improvement, but I would tell you that the one after this one could be the life-changing moment in time.”