MLS moves All-Star Game start time to avoid DNC conflict
Major League Soccer has changed the start time of the 2016 All-Star Game in order to avoid a conflict with the Democratic National Convention.
The July 28 match against Arsenal at the San Jose Earthquakes's Avaya Stadium was slated to begin at 6 p.m. local (9 p.m. ET), but with that window going up directly against the keynote speech at the DNC in Philadelphia, the league has pushed back its start time by 90 minutes. The match will kick off at 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 ET) instead.
The end of the 2012 DNC drew 35 million viewers and was on 13 networks and the league wanted to be conscientious of going head-to-head.
"A major event had been placed on the same day after we picked the 28th as our day for the All-Star Game. Any time there's an event that can draw viewers in like a convention can, it's probably smart to do your best to avoid that window and give people the opportunity to watch it in that market and on TV," MLS's senior vice president of media, Seth Bacon, told SI.com.
The league coordinated with the Earthquakes, Arsenal and all of its networks broadcasting the match and "everyone was pretty quick to agree this was the right thing to do," Bacon said. The earlier time slot also makes it more advantageous for Arsenal fans in England and Europe to watch.
Bacon said there is precedent for an early local start time, with Major League Baseball's 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego also slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.
"We still think it's a very good window that will position us for success," Bacon said.
Fan voting for the match commences on Thursday.