The Monday After: FSC Deal, Champions League & More

As has been widely reported, FSC and MLS have re-upped their broadcast relationship for the 2011 season.  Reports indicate that the deal is for slightly more than the $6 million and reprents a significant increase over the $3.25 million FSC had been paying.  Under normal circumstances, this would be viewed as a success for MLS, but after SBJ broke a story earlier in the offseason that
MLS was demanding $20 million per year for a long term relationship, MLS is left looking bad.  However, the one year deal affords both the league and the network maximum flexibility.  From the league perspective, MLS can spend the next year searching for a long term, big money deal with the security of a significant payday from FSC.  From FSC’s view, they only committ to a one year relationship that afford them the opportunity to monitor ratings before agreeing to a long term deal.

Sticking with the FSC theme, the network will be one of two outlets televising the Columbus/RSL quarterfinal match this week.  Galavision will provide the Spanish language telecast and all quarterfinal games will be available on either Galavision or Telefutura.  As we said in the Summer, FSC pours significant resources into televising an event that has yet to interest a significant portion of American Soccer Fans.  Games from Honduras, El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago do not grab the imaginations of fans focused on European soccer and the MLS regular season.  The stands are typically empty for these games (whether in the US or abroad) and field conditions are typically terrible   While ratings are tough to come by, it is almost certain that far less than 100k people (and likely less than 50k) tune in to watch the CONCACAF Champions League matches.

Despite these challenges, FSC has made a devoted and dedicated effort to broadcast these matches from all reaches of the region.  For fans of MLS and soccer in the Americas, FSC’s coverage is more than sufficient and is welcome beacon in the late Winter when the knockout stages of the tournament kick off.  FSC’s coverage may not be ideal, but it is important.  If the tournament wasn’t televised, it would fade into obscurity and importance.  Improved camera work and commentary are inexpensive enhancements that will come with time.  Until then, celebrate FSC’s broadcasts of the Champions League.

One final note.  For an update on the status of Portland’s efforts to get PGE Park ready for 2011, click here.