MLS is working with Twitter on several initiatives leading up to the championship match, which will kick off at 3 p.m. ET Sunday and air on ABC and Univision, marking the first time the MLS Cup will air on big broadcast networks in both English and Spanish.
Twitter partner manager for sports partnerships Will Exline said in an interview that the effort kicked off with tweets that will send gameday reminders to Twitter users who press the like button.
Exclusive pregame and postgame shows will be livestreamed on Twitter, including analysis, highlights and special guests, and MLS senior vice president of media Chris Schlosser said in an interview that talent will be on the field, out and about in Seattle and at the studio in New York.
In-game Twitter hashtag voting for the most valuable player of MLS Cup also returns, with fan votes on the social network counting toward a portion of the official vote.
Players, guests and broadcast talent will create exclusive content using Twitter tools including its Periscope livestreaming application and its VIT (Very Important Tweeter) tool for celebrities and major publishers.
The Twitter Moments feature will come into play, as well, with Exline saying, “MLS is using Twitter Moments as a time capsule to look back at previous MLS Cups.”
The two previous meetings between Toronto and Seattle will no doubt be a part of that, as the Sounders won in 2016 and Toronto FC reversed that result the following season.
Schlosser said, “Twitter is such a remarkable partner for us,” and Exline returned the favor, adding, “The way our team and our partnerships group has worked with MLS has very much been complimentary—knowing our partners inside and out, shining a light on the biggest moment of their year. MLS is always looking to innovate and try new things.”
As for the rest of the postseason, Schlosser credited the first season of the league’s new, single-elimination playoff format with driving great awareness and interest among fans, saying that engagement on MLSSoccer.com is up 47% compared with last year’s postseason, while that figure is 30% for the MLS App.
Video views on Twitter are up 86% year-over-year during the playoffs, and minutes watched are up 113%.
Schlosser said the momentum carried over to the field, as well, with this season marking the highest-scoring playoffs in the league’s history, as well as the highest average attendance, over 31,000.
MLS is expecting nearly 70,000 fans to pack CenturyLink Field Sunday, and SeatGeek said the average resale price of a ticket for the match was $622 as of Wednesday, trailing only the 2014 National Football Conference championship game (in which the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks edged the visiting Green Bay Packers), at $628, in Seattle history.
Oct. 24 was the most trafficked day on MLSSoccer.com since 2016, spurred by the El Tráfico conference semifinal match (LAFC 5, Los Angeles Galaxy 3), which drove a 90% year-over-year leap on the web and a bump-up of 41% on the app compared with the previous season.
In fact, Schlosser said Schlosser said was one of the most-viewed soccer matches overall this year on ESPN in Mexico.