Soccer Business Bits: Union Ink Sponsors, RSL TV News & More

No, we are not burying our heads in the sand when it comes to the labor issues in MLS.  There are are obviously enormous business implications if the players strike, the season is delayed or there is another form of work stoppage. We’ve kept our coverage of the CBA negotiations  fairly minimal, simply because it is a topic that has been adequately and aggressively covered elsewhere. Presuming there is a deal, we will discuss the implications of the features of any agreement at great length.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported last week that the Union have signed a deal with Turkey Hill Dairy to be the team’s official ice cream, ice tea and lemonade provider at their new stadium. They will also be the “official” ice cream of the Union.  These deals typically include player appearances, signage boards at the stadium and other promotional relationships.   Turkey Hill also announced a relationship between Turkey Hill and the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (there is now a “Turkey Hill Cup”). The Union has also recently signed deals with Herr’s foods, a PA based snack maker and SCA Tissue, NA, a Swedish company with its US headquarters in Philly.

The Deseret News is confirming that all RSL games will be televised in 2010.  Games that are not nationally broadcast will be on KUTV, the local CBS affiliate.  In the alternative, some games will be broadcast on the KUTV sister station, digital 2.2.  In other RSL news, the MLS Cup tour continues.  RSL is bringing the trophy to just about every county in the State of Utah in a great combination of celebration and promotion.

One final note.  Check out this story at about a lawsuit in Greenwich, CT brought by parents of a youth soccer player who was injured while playing on a Town field.  Notably, the parents are claiming that their son will not be able to play sports collegiately because of the injury.  What is the value of not being to play soccer collegiately?

The Monday After: MLS Playoff Business Bits

mls cup 2009A great weekend for games in MLS as Los Angeles and RSL went through to the MLS cup final with thrilling wins over Houston and Chicago respectively.  In Los Angeles, just over 25k turned out to see the Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over Houston.  Though just shy of a sell-out, the crowd was lively despite two power outages during the game.  In Chicago, almost 22,000 were at Toyota Park as the home side went down to upstart RSL.  On both broadcasts, the stadium atmospheres looked great and stood in start contrast to the playoff environment at Gillette Stadium in the first round. Check MLSTalk for a review of past playoff attendance.

The MLS world now turns its attention to Seattle, where Qwest Field will play host to MLS Cup.  According to official reports, the original offering of 36k seats has been sold out and an additional 6k seats have been opened up.  While it remains to be seen how many Sounders’ season ticket holders will make the trip (the game was part of their package), it is evident that there is strong interest in the game from many in the Seattle area.  There are also reports that Qwest has only designated 100 seats for each of the Supporters’ groups.  Hopefully, Seattle will find a way to organize the seats so greater numbers of RSL/Galaxy fans can sit together.

Both conference final broadcasts were will done, despite the unfortunate power outage in Carson, CA.  The typical advertisers were present for both ESPN & FSC, including an increased presence from Best Buy.  There was plentiful on screen advertising for both networks as well as presenting sponsors for pre/post game shows. ESPN smartly built a 25 minute buffer into the broadcast by adding a pre-game to absorb some of the likely runover from the preceding college game.

We will of course cover MLS Cup in full this week from a business perspective, including sponsorship, media, attendance and more.If there is something that you want us to address about the game, please shoot an e-mail our way.

The Return of Beckham: The Business of the FSC Broadcast

becks2The big story in American soccer is the return of David Beckham to MLS and the Galaxy lineup.  As we have on a number of prior occassions, we thought we would blog about the business of the TV coverage of an important American soccer game.  As is typical, FSC started with a 30 minute pre-game.  The pre-game was sponsored by Geico, and included a Beckham interview, a Grant Wahl interview and the usual FSC personalities breaking down the game.

Advertisers for the broadcast included a slew of national companies, including Home Depot, American Airlines, Sketchers, Adidas, Quiznos, Panasonic, Dick’s and more. During the game, there were on screen logos for Home Depot, Adidas, Panasonic, Glidden, Dick’s, USSF and Makita Tools.   Stadium advertising included VW, Pepsi, Makita, X-Box, Napa, Gatorade and more.

The halftime show was sponsored by Dick’s, but the halftime commercials were of a lesser variety, including adds for Gracie Combat, American Airlines, USSF and more. During the second run, there were commercials from Dick’s, Home Depot, Glidden and Panasonic and FSC standard, Pro Activ.

The crowd was lively and FSC did a fairly good job of conveying the atmosphere through its broadcast.  FSC did a fairly reasonable job of advertising the upcoming Gold Cup matches both in game and during the pre/half time. Max Bretos was also sure to promote the CONCACAF and UEFA Champions League competitions on FSC.  They also did some promotion of the AC Milan/Galaxy match.   Beckham fawing was largely kept in check.