Yes it is true that we focus on the business of American Soccer here at footiebusiness, but when a transfer is so prominent that non-soccer fans are asking about it, it deserves a mention. Real Madrid set a record with its record transfer purchase of Kaka from Italian Club AC Milan. The $90 million transfer is approximately $15 million more than than the $75.1 million transfer of Zidane to Real Madrid from Juventus. The record had stood for almost a decade and now it has been shattered by the 27 year old Brazilian (although not shattering the record in Euros because of exchange rates). For purposes of comparison, recall that the record transfer for an American is the $10 million paid by Villareal to secure Jozy Altidore’s services from New York.
From a business perspective, what makes these huge transfers interesting is the ripple effect. AC Milan now has plenty of money to spread around to smaller clubs to purchase their rising stars. In turn, these clubs will spend some of that money and down the line we go. Interestingly, part of Kaka’s motivation for agreeing to the transfer is to help the financial stability of its old club. Kaka had turned down a mid-season transfer to Manchester City for $100 million because he wanted to stay at AC Milan. Now, because of the economic climate, he felt he could help his old club by leaving. Interesting.
ESPN’s broadcast of the US/Costa Rica broadcast did not crack the cable top 20 last week (getting beat by Sponge Bob and John & Kate Plus 8 among others). This is disappointing because US Men’s games tend to do well and the Costa Rica match was in prime time. At the same time, the Sports Business Journal is reporting that MLS ratings on ESPN have remained flat this year at the .2 level. For reference, this generally means just over 200k homes. These numbers are disappointing, yet it appears that the new ESPN policy of changing nights for the MLS game of the week has had no impact on ratings .2 has been the MLS rating for a number of years.
Finally, Toronto has announced its plans for Real Madrid ticket sales. First pre-sale opportunities are going to season ticket holders followed by fans on the season ticket waiting lists. Tickets will range from $140-$215 (Canadian), a steep price in a League where season tickets go for not much more than that. There will be a small discount for season ticket holders. Kaka will likely play in Toronto before Spain.