After an exciting and remarkably popular (in the US) month of World Cup soccer, we thought it worthwhile to take a quick look at the business of American soccer moving forward from July 12, 2010. The World Cup was a business success in the States, with ESPN’s significant investment of resources validated by the ratings earned both over the air and online. Sponsors who invested in ad time were rewarded with viewership often 50% greater than pre tournament expectations.
In MLS, action has restarted after the World Cup break with strong attendance around the league. An array of international friendlies will draw big crowds to MLS parks across the country as will the All-Star game at Reliant Stadium against Manchester United. We also saw the opening the opening of PPL Park in Philadelphia. Starting with the expected reveal of Thierry Henry of July 14, this coming week will see the formal introduction of Designated Players in DC, Seattle and elsewhere. MLS fans will also be interested to see what what surprise players make the trip to MLS. At the same time, it will be interesting to watch MLS ratings and whether ESPN can continue its devotion to televised soccer.
American soccer fans will also be casting a business eye to Europe to follow the transfer market for American players based in Europe. Following the World Cup, a number of American athletes will likely be on the move, parlaying their South African adventure into big contracts and impressive transfers.
WPS is settling into its second season with a new stadium in Atlanta, a successful All Star game and additional jersey sponsors entering the league. WPS is now part of the American sports landscape and looking to grow.