Soccer Business Bits: Confederations Cup, Getting Friendly II and More

us-soccerOn a day when American soccer fans are busy celebrating the USMNT victory over the Red Fury of Spain, we thought we would take a quick look at coverage of the big win opn outlets around the country. Online, the victory has been the top sports story of the day, with the game getting first position on ESPN.com, Foxsports.com and CNNSI.com.  Even traditionally anti-soccer TSN gave the match a fairly prominent position.  On ESPN proper, Sportscenter led with the game as did the boys on PTI. Even radio stations like WFAN in New York featured the game on their 20/20 sports flashes and espn radio’s “Backpage” show carried a lengthy discussion about the significance of the win
(as compared to the “Miracle on Ice”)

Outside the sports world, the game also got prominent attention. The New York Times gave the match front page space as did the Washington Post.  The Yahoo! home page put the game front and center.  Even Slate got into the act with an article that we highly recommend (it has some interesting information about the ESPN.com poll about the game).  Foxnews and CNN also gave the game a prominent place on their respective web pages.

Americans love an underdog, especially when the underdog wins.  There will be a fair amount of attention on the US Men on
Sunday, a weekend game for the title will definitely generate some eyeballs.  The last time this Team garnered this much attention, it was before the 2006 World Cup; the team promply got washed 3-0 in the opening game.

In Friendly news, TFC has announced that all tickets for the Real Madrid match this summer are sold.  Given the size of the stadium and the demand for soccer, this news is not surprising. In DC, the Real Madrid friendly with United has already reached the 35k tickets sold number.  It seems that Kaka and Ronaldo are a great draw, and with 6 weeks until this game, a large crowd can be expected.

Finally, in WPS news, the DC/Boston game was “nationally” televised on Comcast Sports as part of the four game regional television package that was recently announced.This deal will provide the League with additional exposure in big sports markets and will include interviews, highlights, game replays and other coverage.

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Soccer Business Bits: Soccer on TV and More

tv soccerIn what has been something of a recurring topic over the last couple of weeks, we thought we would again discuss the televising of soccer in the United States.  We’ll start with the UEFA Final, which drew a big number both on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.  This press release from ESPN sets forth the numbers.  A quick glance: more than 1 million English language homes and approximately 500,000 Spanish language.  This was the most watched telecast in ESPN Deportes history garnering a 9.9 Hispanic Coverage Rating; the second largest such rating in 2009.  Bear in mind, this game went off in the middle of a weekday.

The Confederations Cup kicks off on June 14 and ESPN will be showing all games live.  It will be interesting to see how these results compare to the UEFA game.  The United States will get two mid-week games and a Sunday match-up against Egypt.  The mid-week games will be televised live; it will be interesting to see if ESPN chooses to replay the matches in primetime.   The entire ESPN schedule for the tournament is here.

Keeping it with the U.S Men, a large crowd turned out to Soldier Field for the Saturday evening qualifier against Honduras.  Not surprisingly, more than 50% of the fans were wearing the blue and white.  After watching the crowd in Costa Rica (no thanks to ESPN which broadcast the match from Bristol and appeared to have little access to stadium microphones), the Chicago crowd was quite a shock.  Nevertheless, it is heartening that the Men continue to sell large blocks of tickets.  This also goes for the news out of South Africa that more ticket requests for the World Cup have come from the United States than any other country.

We will touch on MLS tomorrow, but a quick word about the WPS week.  The League offered up a mid-week game in Los Angles with just under 4k in attendance.  Four days latter the Sol were back at it, hosting Washington in front of 5500 for the FSC game of the week.  I was pretty disappointed in the FSC production of the game.  The shadows made it hard, but it was impossible to see half of the field because of the light difference.  Also, the audio was pretty weak.  The crowd shots also looked pretty sparse.  As has become distressingly routine across the League, the St. Louis Sunday match is posting attendance as N/A.wps