Soccer Business Bits: Trumpeting TV Ratings, National Weekend & More

Following their inaugural broadcast, the folks at NBC Sports expressed some low key optimism after the television ratings were released.  Following the release of ratings from the network’s second broadcast, NBC Sports PR was shouting from the roof tops.  The second broadcast averaged 124,000 viewers, a 50% increase from the first match.  Even more impressive, the viewership increased when only the game (rather than the pregame) is included in the sample.  Most importantly, the most highly rated 15 minute segment was the end of the game where viewership peaked at more than 210k.  The ratings are especially impressive when compared with FSC’s numbers from last year.

Keeping with the television theme, MLS will have four nationally televised games this coming week.  The NBC Sports Network will open with a Seattle home game on Friday night, the first prime time broadcast for the league’s new partner.  TSN will follow on Saturday afternoon with Toronto hosting San Jose for the Reds home opener on TSN.  ESPN2 gets back in the MLS business with a Sunday afternoon home opener from Red Bull Arena and Galavision will conclude the weekend with a Sunday night broadcast from LiveStrong Sporting Park.

Finally, Lionel Messi broke Barcelona’s all time scoring mark on Tuesday at the tender age of 24.  Typically, this site doesn’t cover European soccer and certainly doesn’t focus on individual achievements.  However, Messi’s accomplishment is notable from a business sense, because mainstream sports sites felt obligated to cover the event.  CNNSI an USA Today’s sports sections put Messi on their front pages.  It is fairly remarkable that soccer has reached the level of popularity where the feats of a 24 years old Argentine playing in Spain is news in the States.