Monday, March 29, 2010

The New MLS Website

MLS replaced their website, MLSnet recently, since then it seems it's been one misstep after another with that website. Today MLS fans received an update on the situation, and while it's a step in the right direction, there are just so many problems with this website. My biggest problem is general is that the site went live with ALL these bugs still in the system. This is the type of thing that a beta version, a test environment and QA is for. I mean I work for a company that updates our system weekly. Every week we're pushing in software. But if by chance the software pushes don't do entirely what they're supposed to, or screw something up, guess what, we back that software out of the system. We went back to the old system, apologized to our customers, and went back and did more testing on it. MLS didn't do this, instead they basically threw it out there, killed MLSnet, and said deal with it. That's poor customer service and in the end pisses off your most loyal customers more than anyone else.

As I mentioned over the weekend, it was a pain in the butt to find the match center, or anything the site to help me with my stat information. The match report didn't contain the time subs came into the game or even what players were on the bench that were unused subs. I finally found the match center for the game after scouring bigsoccer, finding one for another game and changing the web address until I got the Wizards link. It was at least a little better, and had some rudimentary play by play, although the substitutions only included one player when they were mentioned.

Before the game, it wasn't much better. The Wizards preview was short and didn't give any real information, nothing on the injuries, referees, suspensions, national team call ups, etc. All the stuff I'd come to expect from the previews was non-existent. I didn't even really want to visit the website as it gave me nothing to read.

Those are just my problems with the site when it comes to Wizards and game related stuff, there are other issues I currently have with the site. First is the scores on the website. It's been 4 days since the first game and STILL it lists the Seattle-Philadelphia game as 0-0. They must have superimposed Seattle fans from last year into the broadcast as well, as they list the attendance as being 0. Pretty sure there were a few more people than that there. Another problem (one that they've actually fixed already) was the times of the games on the website. It originally listed last week's Wizards game as starting at 1:30am. But as I said, this bug at least appears to be fixed.

Two final things that bother me about the site. First is the fact that the league site is posting article like this. The headline says it all, Quakes MAY Add Busch (emphasis is mine). Or this article about a report that it's being reported that Manchester United will be the all star game opponent. Seriously? The league website is posting a speculation article on someone that a team may sign or who the league might play in the all star game? I go to MLS' website to see finalized news, not speculation on who a team might sign. If I want speculation news, I'll go to one of the newspapers that covers the team. I want REAL news from the league website, especially when that league is a single entity league that owns all the player contracts, there should be no need on the site for an article that says a team MAY sign a player. Or if speculation articles aren't your interest, there's plenty of Tiger Beat type news, include photos of "Hot Players" and "Scary Men". Seriously is MLS going after the Twilight crowd now? Are we going to see ads for games featuring a vampire Jimmy Conrad and a werewolf Davy Arnaud? Some of the content is just horrible.

Finally, my other complaint with the new website is something that doesn't even affect me directly, but is something that could greatly affect the Wizards, and that's the changes to MatchDay Live. According to posts I've seen, this system is now not available at all outside the US and Canada. MLS signed an international rights deal back in 2008, but that didn't seem to stop people outside the US and Canada from being able to buy the package last year. My biggest issue with this part, is the fact that the Wizards just signed a player from the world's second most populous country. And while much of that country doesn't use the internet, plenty do. The league and the Wizards are going to be missing a huge opportunity. So instead of getting some money from those people via MatchDay Live, those people in India will instead be finding pirate feeds on your favorite online TV sites.

Overall the new MLS site is a nice visual website, it has lots of bells and whistles, but the meat, the part of the site that most people I talk to enjoyed is no where to be found, lost around a corner you can't reach without climbing through 3 different hoops to get there. Get your act together MLS.


Chris S said...

Thanks for your comments and feedback, see the link below for more details on what we are working on.

On the editorial side we have hired a team of journalists to cover the sport of soccer, this includes linking to other credible sources when they have an interesting article about American soccer.


dr gooch said...

I'm just impressed that you can get see! I have been trying to pimp some of the improvements to the video page on my blog and I can't even get the site to appear.

Anonymous said...

Christopher, he links to that in the article. His overall complaints are still valid, the site is incredibly unnavigable and looks like it's still in it's beta phase, it was launched WAY too early. That's MY main problem with it, the fact that it is so horribly done that it looks like it's in beta form. Read Mike's example in the first paragraph again, it's a perfect example of what to do.

Or you could just blindly just cut and paste the same post you've probably put on numerous posts about this.

DBM said...

And lets not forget the photos section, instead of being divided up by team or by game, or something that actually makes sense we get sections called "Hot Players" and "Scary Guys" :)


Don't get me wrong, I like the new video player (minus its flaws) Although I am sure that was designed by a completely different company.

Also, the stats and standings are awful and sub par, I much prefer a very plain site that caters to the stat whore in me.

SombraAla said...

If you are interested in a bit more in-depth (and discrete) stats feed for the match, check out:

Nice XML formatted stats for the entire match, including all the players involved in particular actions (and position on the field, etc).

drew said...

I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I found out I could not pay to stream the MLS games live this season. I'm from Missouri originally and now live in England. The only way I can now stream the games is on pirated sites. Funnily enough, when I lived in South Korea from '07-'09 I could get the MLS Live Stream.

mrdot said...

The new HD video stream is awesome, but literally everything else about the site is a downgrade from MLSnet.

Ron Bishop said...

Mobile. Mobile. Mobile....A large audience checks out news and sports on mobile - especially younger fans, new immigrants, and foreign countries - and more and more "mainstream" fans.

Most people don't want to be stuck sitting in front of their computer.