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Sepp Blatter comments that MLS has decided to adopt FIFA calendar; League VP denies

Aug 5, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

Canada FIFA Women U20 Soccer AP

He’s not exactly a font of accurate predictions, but FIFA head honcho Sepp Blatter has a made a claim that, if true, would drastically alter the future of Major League Soccer.

Blatter claims that Major League Soccer will be moving towards a European calendar.

[ MORE: Latest MLS news ]

The topic itself is not new, but Blatter’s comments are, and Duane Rollins of Canadian Soccer News posted audio from the FIFA man’s Monday press conference ahead of the U-20 Women’s World Cup.

And inside of that audio comes the remarks from Blatter, which comes in stark contrast to the “not in the short-term” comments of MLS commissioner Don Garber when asked about the shift to a ‘winter schedule’ in his State of the League address this December.

[ RELATED: Sepp Blatter grades World Cup a 9.25 out of 10 ]

But here’s the gist:

The question for me has not been about the fields and North American weather, rather whether MLS is anywhere near ready to compete full-time with college football and basketball, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL (let alone other European leagues). Right now, the summer is basically MLS vs. MLB. It’s an exclusivity window the league would sacrifice in order to align with Europe.

[ RELATED: Could Manchester City’s global expansion hurt MLS? ]

Perhaps a split season could work, closer to Liga MX or some of the Scandinavian countries, but is MLS — and more importantly, its clubs’ attendance — possibly ready for the competition?

UPDATE: MLS vice president Dan Courtemanche says Blatter doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  1. ll8078 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    This reminds me of when the USFL went from being successful and playing in the spring to failing when they tried to play in the fall and compete directly with the NFL.

    It won’t work. I won’t be watching MLS soccer over NFL or even some top NCAA football games. No one will. I’ll watch the Premier League + other top leagues, but their games also hardly interfere with the NFL. Just sounds like bad news.

    • scoochpooch - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Spot on. MLS would be a distance 6th once NBA and NHL get their seasons rolling too.
      MLS’ growth shocks me, don’t listen to Sepp, keep the schedule where it is.

  2. amostovoy - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Really? OK, so I’ll break this down into 2 categories: The Elements and The Competition.
    The Elements: Chicago, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, New England, etc… in January. Outdoors. Hahaha!!!!
    The Competition: NFL, NHL, NBA, hmmmm………
    Sure Blatter you corrupt thieving moron, why don’t you just kick MLS in the nuts as it’s starting to get up.

  3. davidebrown - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    The NHL? Seriously? Their TV ratings are tiny, and the MLS has already blown past them during the times of the year when they do compete.

    • jhnyr45 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      you are an idiot sir…. huge hockey markets in the country and have a way bigger following than the mls…. they cannot compete with the NHL let alone the NFL for tv ratings

      • vtcrusade - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Not true, MLS TV ratings routinely trump NHL broadcast now.

    • jhnyr45 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      you also seem to forget there are canadian teams in the MLS, most of their fans would abandon the team once the Leafs and Habs and Canucks take the ice

  4. jacquespugh - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Idiocy… from the man who oversaw the awarding of a World Cup to Quatar. It’ll be interesting how the MLS will “nuance” his comments given everyone knows that type of schedule will hamstring the league, and it’s growth, while it’s gaining much-needed momentum and publicity.

    Seth, just go it in a mansion’s closet and count your money until you’re relived of your present position, please!

  5. Jeff - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    If this is true, I will cancel my season tickets.

  6. twerkslikeMiley - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    One word: Dumb.

  7. bwana63 - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Right. Good one. Looking forward to the WC in Qatar.

  8. The Saucy Intruder - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Seriously stupid for the MLS to do this, not only will they be competing against the NFL, the NBA, College Football, the NHL, and College Basketball, but now they will be competing against the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, and other more established leagues.

    Is it too early to ask that Crew Stadium become a domed stadium? I hate Columbus in the winter.

    But, on the good side, Man City wanting to use the MLS as a summer home for some of their players while the EPL isn’t playing, guess that’s gone. So at least one good thing will come out of this.

  9. dws110 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    People, this is Sepp talking. He’s probably still drunk on the tears of Brazilian orphans.

    • Nicholas Mendola - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Comment of the day and it’s only 2pm

  10. Jim Barg - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Sepp being Sepp, everybody!

    MLS moving to a FIFA-based schedule makes no damn sense right now. The league is just starting to gain inroads attendance-wise, and allowing for an extended winter break would be pure folly. Whatever hope you’d have at higher TV ratings would be shot.

    If Don Garber said this, then clearly they will have researched it up and down to appease the section of the fanbase that wants a European-style schedule. But Blatter’s got a history of shooting his mouth off and saying stupid things, and I’d put this right with the others.

  11. eddi101 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I think it’s a great idea for the MLS to adopt the FIFA calendar, this is where the true fans of the MLS will showtheir support, and stop crying on how the MLS will compet with the NFL, NHL, NBA, or any NCAA sport.

  12. denyank27 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    What the hell is the NHL?

    • mose31 - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      That’s the league that gets 10-15 times our ratings, but it still considered too small for ESPN contract.

      • cdwrx - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        In the 2014 regular season NHL averaged 351,000 viewers on NBC over 88 games. In 2013 MLS averaged 181,000 on ESPN2, 104,000 on NBCSN and 223,000 on UniMas over a combined 87 games.

      • mose31 - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:01 AM

        This is ridiculous because I have made two posting which included links to websites which show the actual ratings, but I suppose this site does not let you quote other sites. So I will just summarize the numbers. According to an NBC press release, during the 2013-14 season, “NBC is also on pace for its most-watched regular season since it began broadcasting the NHL with the 2005-06 season. While national data is not yet available for NBC’s final broadcast this past Sunday, the network averaged 1.73 million viewers through its first 12 games, which tops the previous best of 1.65 million viewers for the 2010-11 season and is up 22% vs. last year’s lockout-shortened season (1.42 million).”

        Now NBCSN has lower ratings because it is in fewer homes and gets much lower ratings in general “NBCSN recorded its most-watched full regular season ever, averaging 351,000 viewers”. NHL has proved that when you put it more screens, A LOT more people watch. MLS has not shown that – they got horrible ratings on ESPN. USMNT has, but not MLS. People attend MLS games, but do not watch it in great numbers (WNBA has greater tv ratings). TV is everything. The 2014 NHL Final average 5 million viewers (according to zap2it and network press releases). The 2013 MLS Cup final had 505,000 viewers. That’s a 10 fold difference. For the entire 93 games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBC Sports Live Extra delivered 1.52 million uniques. The MLS last TV contract was worth $27million/year. The NBA and NHL contracts are worth $900 and $200 a year.

        This also does not take into account the NHL has monster ratings in Canada, which MLS does not have.

    • jhnyr45 - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      You have no clue what you are talking about…. if they put the mls season on the fifa calendar the Tv ratings would plummet… or if you put the nhl season on the MLS schedule, it would also lower MLS ratings, check the top tool bar or go into Pro hockey Talk and try to tell me that The Mls has a better following than the NHL….. pure stupidity coming from your mouth

  13. mahezam - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    I highly, highly doubt this is actually happening anytime soon. Garber’s not that much of a moron.

  14. tmuck - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    In all honesty, I think the best thing that could happen for the MLS is the Qatar World Cup to be moved to the winter. It throws this whole stupid FIFA schedule argument out the window. There’s no way the MLS could or should be played in the winter time. It just doesn’t make any sense other than to avoid the summer tournaments.

  15. mikeevergreen - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Is Bladder TRYING to destroy MLS? Get this corrupt piss balloon off to the retirement home.

    • ausoleil - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Sadly, Blatter will stand for re-election and even more sadly, he will win because he will have bought off the African and Asian FAs.

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