Friday, March 20, 2009

MLS 2009 Survey Results

Thanks for participating. The results from the similar surveys I did in 2007 and 2008 are linked, if you're interested. This year's survey was posted here, as well as on the MLS General forums at Bigsoccer and Soccerpubs. Thanks to a link from Dan Loney, this survey received more responses than either of the past two.

My intention was to cut off the responses when the first game started, but I forget to check the option which sends you a copy of each survey at the time it's taken. So a few responses may have gotten in after the game started.

MLS 2009 Survey

(337 responses. Percentages are rounded.)

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Don Garber is doing as MLS commissioner?

Approve 80%
Disapprove 11%
Unsure 10%

I have asked this question multiple times now:

Apr-07 85-2 +83
Aug-07 87-6 +81
Mar-08 87-3 +84
Nov-08 76-8 +66

Everybody still loves the Don. Speaking of which, great article in the Sports Business Journal this week.

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job ESPN is doing with their MLS broadcasts?

Approve 44%
Disapprove 34%
Unsure 22%

Third time asking this question (previously phrased as "ESPN2/ABC"):

Apr-07 55-22
Mar-08 53-29
This is actually a more negative response than in either of the past two years, which surprised me a bit. It seems like we as a soccer community have more important things to talk about now. I suspect either the people answering this survey were different than in years past (most likely) or maybe MLS is attracting more fans that they were previously.

Incidentally, a couple days ago I received an ESPN Fan Zone survey on soccer. They asked a ton of questions about their soccer coverage, and it was great to get the chance to tell them what I felt. I posted the questions they asked here.

3. Two years later: Do you approve or disapprove of the signing of David Beckham?

Approve 71%
Disapprove 19%
Unsure 10%


Apr-07 91-4
Mar-08 91-4
The drop from the past two years is expected, but it wasn't as big as I thought it would be. Fans have little regrets when it comes to this decision, and why should they? Most people who are paying close attention to the league realize the benefits of his signing to the league (maybe not if you're a Galaxy fan).

4. Do you feel that MLS as a whole is too "traditional," too "Americanized," or just right?

Too traditional 2%
Too Americanized 32%
Just Right 59%
Unsure 7%


Apr-07 2-24-55

Mar-08 1-30-62


Very little change. The majority of people are pretty happy.

5. For MLS teams, do you prefer "American style" nicknames (Galaxy, Rapids, Wizards) or traditional "soccer names" (United, FC, Real)?

"American style" nicknames 30%
Traditional "soccer names" 47%
Unsure 23%

Again, virtually unchanged from last year's results (27-48-25). I could've provided a "nice mix" option but I like to see people forced to go one way or the other.

6. Assuming that it was feasible, would you prefer a multi-division MLS with promotion and relegation, or an NFL style large league with playoffs?

Multi-division with promotion and relegation 58%
Large league with playoffs 37%
Unsure 5%

This year's results are very consistent (last year: 56-39-5). I really should change the wording of this question to "Assuming that either were feasible." Without getting back into the pro/rel debate, I will say that if the league gets to 20 teams in 2012 that it will certainly come up over and over because 20 is the normal limit for leagues. Should be some interesting expansion speculation at that point.

7. Which team has the nicest soccer-specific stadium?

BMO Field (Toronto) 10%
Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus) 6%
Dick's Sporting Goods Park (Colorado) 6%
Home Depot Center (Los Angeles) 26%
Pizza Hut Park (Dallas) 2%
Rio Tinto Stadium (Salt Lake) 39%
Toyota Park (Chicago) 12%

The new broom makes a clean sweep, which is pretty hard since it's named after a mining company. Last year the HDC was the clear winner with 43%. DSG Park is off by 10% as the newness wears off. I bet Rio Tinto will drop by at least as much next year too. Part of that because Red Bull Arena will be open, taking away some support.

8. Which foreign signing will have the greatest impact on MLS this season?

Alberto Celades, NY 9%
David Ferreira, DAL 4%
Santiago Hirsig, KC 3%
Dejan Jakovic, DC 5%
Sebastien Le Toux, SEA 4%
Eduardo Lillingston, CHV 1%
Freddie Ljungberg, SEA 22%
Fredy Montero, SEA 45%
Donovan Ricketts, LA 2%
Pablo Vitti, TOR 6%

Montero's off to a good start. Hopefully he fairs better than Marcelo Gallardo who won last year's poll by a 2-1 margin over Claudio Lopez. A season ago, two of the Newcomer of the Year finalists weren't even included; Darren Huckerby arrived midseason while Andre Rocha didn't make my top ten list. If I had to pick someone who was underrated here, I'd say Ferreira. Hirsig a close second.

9. Which American signing will have the greatest impact on MLS this season?

Bobby Convey, SJ 42%
Ty Harden, COL 2%
Andrew Jacobson, DC 1%
Kasey Keller, SEA 40%
Matt Pickens, COL 7%
Steve Purdy, DAL 1%
Tony Sanneh, LA 1%
Zach Scott, SEA 0%
Michael Videira, NE 2%
Cam Weaver, SJ 4%

This didn't include draft choices. There were really only two choices here, and Convey barely edged Keller. I thought there would be more distance between them. I had a hard time finding eight others to include. The last guy I put in was Scott, and he ended up being the only option in any of these questions to get exactly zero votes. But he did start the opener. I also thought Weaver would easily take third, but it's Pickens instead.

10. Who is the best MLS player at this moment in time?

Juan Pablo Angel, NY 16%
David Beckham, LA 1%
Cuauhtemoc Blanco, CHI 3%
Jimmy Conrad, KC 0%
Kenny Cooper, DAL 1%
Dwayne De Rosario, TOR 6%
Landon Donovan, LA 33%
Shalrie Joseph, NE 5%
Freddie Ljungberg, SEA 2%
Guillermo Barros Schelotto, CLB 33%

Schelotto won by exactly one vote, 111-110. First he beats Donovan for the MVP and now this. Can you guess who won this question last year? It was De Rosario, coming off back to back titles with the Dynamo. Donovan came in 6th and Schelotto was 8th. Beckham went from 9% to only 1%. I wonder if people even count him as an MLS player any more? I wanted to include Sacha Kljestan and Javier Morales but I was limited to 10 options. I had to have a defender in there even if I knew he would do poorly (one vote).

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