In my last article, I made a passing remark about how much I enjoyed the early start time this past Saturday when our Colorado Rapids hosted the New England Revolution at—wait for it—4 pm! I almost wish they hadn't schedule this at this time of day! I didn't know what I was missing!
I recognize that a thousand-and-one factors play into the scheduling of games: MLS HQ, Altitude TV, etc. But is it unrealistic to have games a bit earlier more frequently during the year? Even 6:00 pm?
What are the pros and cons of having an earlier start time? Let's start with the pros:
- More family-friendly. I'm glad my boys are older and able to handle getting home at 10:00 pm on a Saturday night. But I remember just two years ago how brutal 7 pm games were, not just that evening, but in their mood the day after. Oy! Earlier games would allow families to come and it not monstrously* affect their children's bedtime.
- Less overlap with Rockies home games. Granted, Dick's Sporting Good's Park is east of Coors Field, but I-70 (real or perceived) is seen as a nightmare of gridlock. Most Rockies games start at 6:40 pm. Rapids games would end at 6:00 (with a 4 pm start) and may prevent extra traffic on the Interstate.
- Less chill. This one is more for the transplants than the natives or long-time residents of Colorado whose blood has thickened and acclimated to the climate. This past Saturday, the weather turned downright chilly once the shadows came in. This even happens during the summer. Earlier start times would offset the child. "Bring a jacket," you say. Adults do fine—children may struggle.
What about the cons? What are the drawbacks of having earlier start times periodically?
- Kids in sports. At 4 pm, some kids' sports are still going on/wrapping up. My boys play for Littleton Soccer Club's U-13 Rec team. We at times have games that end around that time (and if they're away games? Forget it!).
- Here's a con from a commenter: "Spring, I’m okay with the early start times but after may I much prefer the later times. Our seats in the east stands are way to hot with the sun in our eyes." See, someone from the South Stands (in the SW corner, mind you) where the sun's effects went away quickly (leaving a rather cold chill in its wake) cannot empathize with those in the east stands. But this is a fair point.
I understand that on the business side of things, a 7:00 pm start time is the path that's forged. But from a fan's perspective, that's my view on it.
(While I'm at it—8 pm starts stinketh to high heaven!)
What do you think? Sound off in the comments section or on Twitter.
*I used the adverb 'monstrously' intentionally, for that's what children turn into when tired—monsters! And we love them nonetheless!