Business Blogging: MLS Cup 2011

As we do for a number of big soccer events every year, tonight will offer a business take on the broadcast of the MLS Cup Final.  Over the next couple of days, we’ll look the business ramifications of the new schedule, offer some thoughts on the new MLS Cup Final format and discuss the expansion draft.  However, America’s soccer eyes (including those on the East Coast staying up late) are focused on the rain soaked Home Depot Center.  Before we get to the game, some quick thoughts on ESPN coverage in the lead-up to the match.  The game featured on PTI in the lead up to match and got some good coverage on Sportscenter.  Coverage on the front page of was fairly limited until the hours leading up to the match.

Game lead in with Bretos talking over shots of players entering the facility an in the locker room.  The opening continued with a voiced over montage of both teams.  Moreno, Lalas and Twellman join Bretos for the pre-game and Beckham gets the focus to start.  Opening includes interview with Beckham, recap of his career and discussion of his legacy.  Eight minutes in, ESPN finally alerts viewers to the kickoff time.  Darke and Harskes join the telecast ten minutes in with lineups and a brief take on both teams.  Pregame presented by VW.

First commercial break 14 minutes into telecast starting with a spot for VW followed by a trailer for the new Mission Impossible movie and a “This is Sportscenter ad.”  Local spots followed.  Twellman and Moreno are both very comfortable in the booth.  Lalas and Bretos both old pros at this point and provide steady hands.  The second set of ads included a spot from adidas, another of the Howard Allstate ads, a re-run of the VW ad, Continental Tire and ESPN Monday Night Football promo and local ads.

The lead-in to the game included another voiceover filled with highlights and then directly to Darke and Harkes.  Rob Stone on the sideline with a pre-game interview with Kinnear.  Actual kick off time is 9:28 on the East Cost. VW gets the first on screen ad while Continental Tire presents the “Analysts Corner: in the 5th minute.  Chelada from Budweiser joined in the 10th minute, Dick’s  and Continental Tire thereafter.     Usual advertisers evident on the sign boards, including Bud, Castrol, adidas, Continental Tire, Degree, el Jimador, Four Points, Gatorade, Home Depot, Jeld-Wen, Makita, Panasonic, AT&T, Pepsi Max, Visa, XBox 360, Allstate, ESPN, MLS Gear and more.

Oscar De La Hoya gets screen time in the 19th minute. 20th minute promo for ESPN coverage of the EURO draw. Rob Stone appearing in the 25th minute.  First EPL promo in the 31st minute.

Hot Pockets sponsoring the halftime show.  First set of ads at the half start with VW, followed by Continental, Dick’s and local spots.  Pregame crew returning at halftime at the desk. VW presented a series of top goal highlights before a package of commerical including AllState, Bud, Fabenko, Dick’s, AllState again and back to the halftime show with an interview if Commissioner Garber conducted by the studio team with Moreno removed.  Playoff structure, expansion, DC United, Beckham are the business topics that Garber addressed.   The final set of ads included adidas, continental Tire, ESPN and local spots.  The second half started with another voice over.