Loss of MLS Coverage by USSoccerPlayers.com

Letter and reply from me from ussoccerplayers.com quoted below:

Editors:

Thanks for the efforts over the last couple years. I truly morn this loss of coverage from you, as there is a great need for an insightful voice outside the PR machine of MLS. (In fact, I continue to get more and more disgusted with all the spin and hype that the MLS official site calls coverage.) I will miss your voice and analysis.

Ben Lukas

Albany, CA

—–Original Message—–

From: USSoccerPlayers [mailto:newsletter@usnstpa.com]

Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 10:03 AM

To: benlucky@sbcglobal.net

Subject: USSoccerPlayers: Nov 18, 2007

After several incidences concerning access and basic media relations at the local and league level, the 2007 MLS season will be the last that USSoccerPlayers.com treats as a regular beat. Moving forward, USSoccerPlayers will treat MLS the same way it does the Premier League, focusing on the play of US National Team players.

Annually, we spend around $45k covering MLS in general. This money like the rest of our budget comes directly from the members of the US National Team. It has historically been our editorial position that covering MLS in its entirety allows us to have a regular content schedule past the National Team schedule.

On one occasion this year, we had it confirmed that we were a minor outlet, at the level of glorified fan sites and shouldn’t expect anything past the basic in terms of access and credentials. On another, we were denied a credential for reasons that only discounted the years of work we’ve done covering Major League Soccer.

At the same time, we’ve been told by MLS staffers how much they like our coverage.

We remain one of the only soccer-specific outlets that pays all our contributors, takes every piece through multiple edits, and abides by our own policy for professionalism at games we cover.

Major League Soccer’s media relations is not at the level of the other professional sports, even when it’s staffed by people who have worked in those sports. Where the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball provide access, interviews, and raw materials well past Major League Soccer and still manages to run comprehensive league websites, MLS opts for one or the other.

The result is the kind of coverage where writers chase press release material and the majority of articles are responsive rather than the kind of profile or investigative work you read or see with the other sports.

There is better coverage than asking personnel and players the same vapid questions or confirming your allegiance to the project of soccer in America by not straying past ‘how great is it that…’

We are a player-owned outlet, and the players themselves have always been in agreement that there’s no value to yet another attempt at overt public relations.

As an outlet, we have an obvious solution to our specific issues – we pull general coverage. We notified the League of this last week and did not have anybody work Sunday’s MLS Cup final or attend any of the media events associated with MLS Cup.

In no way was this a flippant or easy decision for us. We’ve spent considerable effort and money covering MLS, and hoped to be a part of the solution for better working conditions for ourselves and our fellow MLS journalists. The fans deserve a better product.

Thanks for your time.

Editors

USSoccerPlayers.com

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