The US National Team plays a pair of important qualifiers over the next few days facing Jamaica in the rare international home and home. What makes the games an interesting business story is the television availability of the games in the United States. Recall that the last away US qualifier was only available via on demand. As we discussed at the time, the home team has the power to sell the broadcast rights for the away team’s broadcast. For a variety of business reasons, networks such as Fox, ESPN and NBCSN did not bid on the rights to the away match. However, for the upcoming away Jamaica match, newcomer beIN Sport has locked up the rights. The Al Jazeera owned network offers the recognizable voices of Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson. Unfortunately, many fans won’t have access to the game because the new network is just starting gain a foothold on American television carriers, including satellite and cable. That will not be a problem for the second game, when ESPN2 carries the match live from Columbus.
Elsewhere, the first Major League Soccer telecast on over-the-air NBC is set for September 15. With NBC’s regular season broadcasts of the NFL starting up, it will be interesting to see whether the Peacock will use the games to promote their new soccer property. The network has been aggressive in its promotions through other platforms, but will it use its biggest entity to promote soccer?
One final note before the weekend. For some great weekend reading, I recommend this excellent piece from the Sporting News. Brian Straus does an excellent job looking at the history of the Kansas City franchise.
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