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The Business of Soccer

March 23, 2007
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Things are crazy at work today, but I wanted to pass on three bits of soccer-business news that encourage me.

1) Crew coverage increasing

The Crew have sent out a number of press releases in the last week, the end result of which is that for the first time ever, all league games will be broadcast on TV and in both English and Spanish over the radio.

Let that sink in. Every Crew league game, all 28 of them, will be available via three separate broadcasts. Many home games will be broadcast over a new TV channel called the Columbus Sports Network – which will be on many cable systems and (and this is the part that excites me) over the air on channel 32 here in Columbus. IIRC the road games will mostly be on ONN – which is cable-only, but covers most of the state. All league games have been on the radio – in English – for as long as the Crew have existed, but the Spanish radio used to cover only the home games.

I\’m very excited about this development.

2) Record TV Viewership For Club Match

The Mexican First Division Torneo Clausura regular season
match between Club America of Mexico City and Chivas Guadalajara
on March 18 recorded the highest U.S. television viewership
for a professional club soccer match (a soccer match NOT involving
national teams) in the past 13 years (since the 1994 World Cup),
according to data collected by Nielsen Media Research as part of the
Nielsen Television Index (NTI) national general market
television rating system.

Granted, the ratings were for a Mexican league match – but it was still 4.3 million people in this country watching a club match. That surpasses every NHL game shown over the last two seasons (except game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final).

Now, if only MLS games drew that well…

3) U.S. Soccer League Finally Hopes to Score

This was an article in today\’s Wall Street Journal that includes the following points – all announced separately – but painting a good whole:

  • Real Salt Lake sold their jersey-front sponsorship for $4 million over 4 years. Today, the Galaxy are going to announce selling their sponsorship for significantly more – between $3.5 million and $5 million per year through 2011.
  • MLS is going to be receiving $20 million this year for the broadcast rights to its games.
  • The league or its teams have announced strategic partnerships with the Bundesliga, Arsenal, and the Mexican league.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jamie permalink
    March 26, 2007 8:01 am

    I would be happier about #1 from a business standpoint if it included television black-out possibilities for games that don’t sell out, personally. I believe that if Columbus fans think that they can see games without having to buy tickets, then too many probably will. I think this is only going to cut into ticket sales.

    But if they were to black out games that didn’t sell out… then I’d be all for it. MLS is growing in popularity, and the league and its teams need to act like it.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    April 14, 2007 8:52 pm

    did you see the flares in RFK for the Wizards / United game tonight? I had to do a double take.

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