New stadium and new cycle for the United States Men’s National Team. We thought we would business blog the broadcast of the match to comment on advertisers and ESPN’s first national team broadcast since its outstanding coverage of South Africa 2010. We also thought it would be interesting to see how ESPN promotes its MLS coverage and the new talent in the league. Old hands JP DellaCamera and John Harkes were the booth team and the match (which wasn’t aggressively promoted by ESPN.com) started without a pregame show.
Interesting that the first commercial break started with an MLS/Dick’s advertisement that didn’t feature any of the new DPs. Gatorade was the second advertiser followed by local ads. McDonalds was prominent on the outfits of the children involved in the pre-match ceremonies. It was also notable that US soccer was using the new Nike ball after all of the coverage garnered by Adidas in South Africa. The second set of spots started with with Bud and was followed by Dave & Busters. National retailer Rent a Center bought ad time as did Continental Tire.
The first view of the starting lineups came ten minutes into the broadcast. Around the stadium, Gatorade, USABid.com, Castrol, Visa, Jose Cuervo, McDonalds and Budweiser were among the evident advertisers. Gatorade was the first on screen advertiser, appearing in the 3rd minute. Gatorade sponsored a “prime to perform” in-game spot that featured Omar Gonzalez. Bud Light was announced as a sponsor in the 15th minute. In the 16th minute Dick’s had an on screen ad. Two levels of electronic boards circled the stadium. In the 20th minute, ESPN’s Premier League coverage was mentioned for the first time. NFL coverage was also promoted, but there was no mention of MLS broadcasts during the half (although the Red Bulls/Galaxy match was referenced)
Halftime sponsors included Taco Bell, Pepsi, Gillette, Gatorade and surprisingly Bridgestone. The halftime show was anchored by Rob Stone and Alexi Lalas with a focus on the national team coaching situation.
ESPN made no use of slo motion cameras and there was no advanced offsides technology utilized. Harkes and DellaCamera certainly have a comfortable banter, but it was a bit surprising how much Bob Bradley’s future dominated the conversation. Rob Stone was a bit preference during the game broadcast in his roving reporter role.
Just over 77k were in attendance.