A sell-out crowd is expected at Reliant Stadium in Houston for the MLS All-Star game tonight.
But for those who subscribe to the theory that soccer won’t really count again in the U.S. until 2014, when FIFA takes its tourney to Brazil, a big test will come when Nielsen tallies how many tune-in ESPN2’s coverage of MLB’s best, led by Landon Donovan, tonight at 8:30 p.m. (ET) against Manchester United.
Sure, the Red Devils aren’t bringing their full side with notables like Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand not available. But this is ManU, one of the world’s most recognizable and valuable sports brand on the globe and a staple of Fox Soccer Channel’s and ESPN2’s Barclays Premier League coverage (not to mention pub watchers).
Local MLB action aside, MLS-ManU matches up nationally against the St. Louis Cardinals-New York Mets contest on ESPN.
The futbol fare should surpass the 727,000 that watched the domestic league’s best draw with BPL’s Everton (where Donovan played quite well as a transfer) last year.
If it doesn’t approach/exceed the 1.09 million average of the 2008 game, a 3-2 win for the home side over BPL’s West Ham that featured David Beckham crossing State side, then there isn’t even a WC halo effect less than three weeks after Spain hoisted the golden trophy as 2010 champions.