Soccer Business Bits: Red Bull Stadium Update, Philly Sponsor & More

This weekend marks the opening of Red Bull Arena, as New York takes on Brazilian side Santos in a pre-season match-up.  The sell-out will be broadcast on both MSG and FSC.  The planed “soft” opening last weekend was canceled because of the terrible weather in the NY Metro area.   FSC will also broadcast its annual MLS season preview on Friday night at 8:00.

In Philly, the Union have announced a multi-year deal with Horizon Services.  The Delaware based residential HVAC company is also a Phillies sponsor.  Last week the Union officially introduced PPL as its stadium naming partner.  PPL will also get hospitality events and experiences at the stadium, TV and radio advertising, signage boards and sponsorship rights in the youth soccer programs in which the Union have a foothold.   The terms of Horizon’s deal have not yet been revealed.  Soft drink king Coke was also announced as PPL Park’s official soft drink and Dasani as the official water.

Finally, the Sports Business Journal is reporting that “matchups” are the key factor behind ESPN’s return to Thursday night soccer.  2/3 of the ESPN broadcasts will be on Thursday nights compared to less than 30% last year.  We wrongly panned the decison to move away fro a defined night last year.  According to the SBJ, “viewership on ESPN2 rose 12.8 percent through 25 games during the 2009 season with an average of more than 290,000 viewers tuning in, up from an average of 253,000 during the 2008 season.”