On June 12th, most football fans around the globe will have their eyes set on Brazil's Arena de Sao Paulo, where the host nation is set to take on Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Here in the States, ESPN has already revealed how it plans to deliver coverage of the world's biggest sporting event, making it easy for you to watch anywhere, anytime. Sure, there are some caveats (namely, you still need to be a pay-TV subscriber to watch games), but the way ESPN intends to bring you content from Brazil will likely still be better than anything we've seen from previous World Cups. And "The World Wide Leader in Sports" won't be the only one. Major League Soccer, too, wants to be a source of info for anything that comes out of the event in South America.
"It allows [us] to create real-time content. We have to innovate."
To do this, MLS recently revamped its digital properties, with one of the goals being to make great use of them during the World Cup. That, of course, includes the desktop and mobile sites, as well as apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV and Roku boxes. Also as part of the redesign, MLS MatchCenter has been drastically improved. Not only is it now prettier to look at, but also you can use it to get a ton of in-depth info during World Cup matches, like live stats and detailed shot charts. Chris Schlosser, VP of MLS Digital, told Engadget that it is very important for Major League Soccer to keep investing heavily in these properties: "It allows [us] to create real-time content. We have to innovate."
Speaking of which, providing live game info won't be the only thing MLS will be focusing on in Brazil. The league is also planning to produce an extraordinary amount of content on its YouTube channel KICKTV, which has become one of the most popular hubs for footy fans on the Google-owned video site. According to Major League Soccer, there will be great World Cup stuff to watch there, such as live daily shows and a behind-the-scenes look at the people on the ground following the United States team around. "The idea is to get more fans involved," Schlosser said.
MLS is excited for what's to come after the current season.
Beyond this year's World Cup, MLS is excited for what's to come after the current season. Thanks to a new deal with TV networks, Major League Soccer's exposure should improve and, hopefully, help it grow its fan base along the way. ESPN, for one, will stream over 200 out-of-market games starting next year in the US. Though, as you may know, ESPN3/WatchESPN requires a subscription to a cable or internet service provider, which isn't something that all would-be viewers have access to. As such, we had to ask if it was true that ESPN is looking to offer an MLS package for cord-cutters -- not surprisingly, however, we were told there was nothing to be shared at the moment.
"The world is changing. The key was to be able to watch on as many devices as possible," Schlosser stated, emphasizing that the most important thing for MLS is to give you the best experience overall.
[Image credit: AP]