First of all, Happy New Year to all of you and all of your families. I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for everyone, with health, happiness and joy to all. For American soccer, 2013 promises to be an exciting year. World Cup Qualifying, an increase of games from an array of leagues and on a variety of networks (included increasing over the air television), a new Women’s soccer league and the continuing growth of Major League Soccer. But before we jump into 2013, it is time to unveil the winner in our Business Story of the Year vote.
The clear winner was NBC’s two footed jump into American Soccer. With just over 70% of the vote, NBC’s new role as a primary medium for delivering live soccer and soccer content to the United States is easily the biggest business story of 2012. In addition to MLS, NBC announced a three year deal to provide EPL games (starting next season) to American audiences.
In 2011, NBC and MLS announced a three year deal that would make the Peacock the rights holder to the second level television package for the league. During the 2012 season, soccer fans got a taste of the big time promotion and top level production values that NBC promises as part of its relationship. Arlo White and Kyle Martino proved an excellent broadcast team and the network’s “between the benches” approach offered a great perspective. The network’s companion coverage on MLS 36 was excellent.
During the Spring, the NBC Sports Network did an excellent job putting MLS in front of their NHL audience. When Fall came and went without any NHL hockey, MLS arguably became NBCSN’s most important live property. With no hockey to show, NBCSN devoted extra air time to the MLS Cup Playoffs. Ratings were solid, showing a significant increase over the FSC broadcasts from 2011. The ProSoccer Talk website has also become an important online stop for fans looking for soccer news.
Thanks to all who voted.