Soccer Business Bits: TV Stage, Women Return & More

MLS Conference Finals are this weekend with NBC Sports Network and ESPN.  The Spanish language broadcasts will be handled by Univision and ESPN Deportes.  The NBC game will be at 4:00 on Sunday while the ESPN match will be at 9:00.  The first leg of the Galaxy/Sounders series drew almost 550k viewers, a great number from a Sunday night match.  As impressive as that number is, the NBCSN drew less than 60k viewers for its Sunday afternoon game, a terrible number for the network.

Womens’ soccer was again in the news today with rumors bubbling about the resurrection of a top level professional league.  According to soccerwire and other sources, an 8 team  league is planning to open play in the Spring of 2013.  The league would purportedly include teams from a number of former WPS markets while adding franchises in the Pacific Northwest and other markets. According to the cited article, the markets and teams are “the product of months of maneuvering and negotiations by their ownership groups, U.S. Soccer and other women’s soccer stakeholders. The latter group includes the national team players themselves, whose contracts are being structured to include both international and league duty – a unique arrangement which has apparently contributed to the delays in the new league’s rollout.”

One final note. College soccer has entered the tournament phase as teams are competing for the title of NCAA champion. Until very recently, college soccer had been relegated to the furthest and remotest reaches of the sports world.  Fans of the game were dependent upon internet reports, newspapers, the occasional FSC telecast, or game attendance to follow games. Now, with the proliferation of team and conference television networks, college soccer has become omnipresent on cable with games from across the country available almost every night during the season.