On Saturday, the 2011 version of the Gold Cup will conclude in Southern Califormia with the much anticipated matchup between the United States and Mexico. Before the tournament concludes, we thought it worth touching on a number of business items from the CONCACAF event.
The tournament is a big revenue generator as it provides ex-pats from a number of countries the rare opportunity to see the teams from their homelands playing live. Unlike some versions of the Gold Cup, the 2011 version featured the top players from the region, as the teams are vying for a spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup. The games were scheduled for a mix of soccer specific stadiums and larger football venues including newly opened LiveStrong Sporting Park. For a stadium like Red Bull Arena, the game provided both an opportunity to generate game day revenues and show the beauty of the stadium to another audience.
Unlike previous years, Gold Cup matches were not linked with a series of double and triple headers that included MLS matchups. These games had always been attended as a “gateway” to MLS for many fans, but were not on the docket in 2011. With the semi-final in Houston and the final at the Rose Bowl, CONCACAF guaranteed maximum revenue generation from the traveling show that is the Mexican National Team.
On the broadcast side, Fox Soccer Channel has done a solid job broadcasting the games. JP DellaCamera and Kyle Martino are an improving pairing and the quality of the telecasts is better than prior Fox showings of the national team. The studio team of Wynalda, Jones and Sullivan have added a fair amount of soccer insight, but the group is missing the glue of a polished host to keep the discussion moving.
According to a press release from FSC, ratings are up 82% over 2009. The Panama/US match 389,000, a slight increase over the 2009 final. Stuart Holden will be part of the Final broadcast.
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