Most of the United States was focused on the “other football” this weekend, but there were still some soccer business stories coming out over the last few days. We’ll start with FOX’s broadcast of the Manchester United/Chelsea match over the weekend. Once again, the network offered an EPL match over network television via a live broadcast. Once again, the network included Piers Morgan in its coverage. Two weeks ago, the live telecast of Arsenal/Manchester United on FOX drew 1.2 million viewers and a .8 rating.
Sticking with the networks, the SuperBowl provided NBC with an opportunity to really show its commitment to its new Major League Soccer partner. With hours of game action and promo spots to fill, the network’s new sports property did not rate a mention during the game (neither did the NHL). NBC also announced during the weekend that it will carry the June 3 match between the USA and Canada on the NBC Sports Network.
Elsewhere, the Timbers ran into a bit injury trouble with their new Designated Player signing Jose Adolpho Valencia. The intriguing Colombian was found to have a knee injury which could sideline him for the entire season. What makes the injury an interesting subject for this site is the excellent way the Timbers handled the news. Between Twitter posts from owner Merritt Paulson, to video interviews with team management about the contractual ramifications of the injury, the team did an outstanding job of connecting with their fans to keep them fully informed. A possible season ending injury to a young star in the preseason would be national news in many sports, but soccer does not yet enjoy that level of coverage. Yet the team effectively leveraged its social media presence to ensure they conveyed their desired message about the injury, the impact and the future.