Salacious headlines are not the first thing that comes to mind when the American public thinks of Major League Soccer. Most people in America probably don’t even know what MLS stands for exactly. Many might say Multiple Listing Service, representing real estate and homes, which is what appears first on a Google search (MLS.com). Suffice it to say, if the question was narrowed to include sports only, still a big percentage would not know the answer.
If the public was asked what TMZ is or what the initials stand for, probably most would not have a clue about the initials (Thirty Mile Zone), but a decent percentage would probably respond by saying it’s that TV show that follows celebrities around. The gap between how many people know about TMZ and how many people know about Major League Soccer is hard to say, but more probably are familiar with TMZ.
TMZ purposely starts discussions to get headlines, like it has done in the past, comparing LA Galaxy players wives, David Beckham’s vs. Robbie Keane’s. ”Who would you rather?” is their way of phrasing the beauty contest.
It’s probably a safe bet to say that most viewers of TMZ.com’s television show or readers to their website are not huge soccer fans. The motivation to watch TMZ or go to their website is to get more acquainted with the day’s most interesting headlines in the entertainment world. Sports figures have been known to get lots of exposure on TMZ, but stereotypical sports fans are most likely not TMZ’s bread n’ butter followers.
Regarding the happenings with MLS players, the only possible result I see is for TMZ followers to become fans of MLS, not just pass the information off to someone else who might care more. In other words, MLS is getting some pretty awesome publicity out of TMZ. The fact that they are showing interest and displaying it for so many other Americans to see from sea to shining sea provides MLS a platform they would unlikely ever be able to achieve on their own.
Keane’s debut with the Galaxy last season was fantastic, as he became an instrumental part in helping the Galaxy with MLS Cup 2011. Keane may have also been a positive influence in Beckham’s decision to re-up in L.A. for more years.
For many reasons, the league desperately needs the Galaxy to become a dynasty, winning multiple Cups. A successful Hollywood team provides more negotiating power with sponsors and TV networks.
If the contemporary Galaxy of Keane, Beckham, and Donovan do achieve a lasting legacy, they can thank TMZ, who in their own way is contributing greatly to building the Galaxy and MLS brands.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com