Soccer Business Bits

Here is a look at some business stories making headlines in the soccer world. First, we recommend this read from Yahoo Sports looking at Major League Soccer television ratings early in the 2012 campaign.  The article looks at the dramatic increase in NBC ratings when compared to FOX Soccer’s ratings in 2011.  NBC Sports Network is averaging 106,000 viewers per match.  According to the article, the “magic number” is 100k viewers and the league is just scraping over that number now.

Keeping with the television theme, Fox announced that every game of the English Premier League’s final weekend will be aired on American television.  Seven different Fox networks, including Fuel, Speed, FX and others will televise matches on May 13 as part of “Survival Sunday.”  The final game will be broadcast on ESPN’2  per the network’s relationship with the EPL.  Between Fox’s mid-day broadcasts of the EPL during the NFL season, promotion across other brands and other aggressive measures, FOX has really upped its effort to sell soccer.  This may be part of its bigger plans for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Commissioner Garber spoke to a group of AP reporters on Thursday hitting on a number of typical business themes.  These included New York expansion, league television ratings and the success of new teams in the league.  One notable addition was the suggestion that the league would be a willing guinea pig as part of efforts to bring goal line technology to soccer.  The league would welcome the opportunity to sit at the forefront of these efforts.  This is a good fit for the league because American sports fans are comfortable with the use of technology to improve game accuracy.  The technology will not lead to any appreciable delays (it alerts the refs within one second if a goals is scored).