Soccer Business Bits: Defer to the Nats

tv soccerWe know that the soccer world’s attention is focused on the aftermath of USA/Mexico, so we will defer from any business posts today.  We will return tomorrow with Part IV of our soccer fans series.  Until then, take a look at this nice attendance break down courtesy of MLS Daily. Also take a look at the excellent USA/Mexico breakdown by MatchFit USA.

One other note.  Since we covered the Mun2 broadcast issue fairly heavily (see our interview with Mun2 executive Kevin Dugan), here are our quick thoughts on the broadcast.  The frequent break-ins to promote the network were fairly annoying (but not unexpected).  I was surprised that all of the commercials were in Spanish because the network is intended to attract English speakers.  The commentary was fine and overall picture and sound were of reasonable quality.  I was very impressed with the ESPN pre-game live from Azteca.  Amazing that ESPN went to Mexico while Mun2 did not.

Soccer Business Bits: MUN2 Interview, MLS Expansion Update and More

us-soccerWith the Mexico/USA qualifier set for Wednesday on MUN2, we posed a couple of questions about the broadcast and the channel to Kevin Dugan of NBC Universal/Mun2 digital media.  Please see his thoughts below:

Footiebusiness: mun2 seems targeted to the Spanish speaking offspring of native Spanish speakers, yet this game will attract many native English speakers outside the typical target audience.

Does mun2 intend to retain these viewers going forward?

Kevin Dugan: Most of the original programs on mun2 are in English. We also program the best Spanish language content form Latin America with English subtitles – not unlike other networks, which regularly import English-language shows from the United Kingdom.

FB: Do you believe your programming is attractive to those of a non-hispanic  background?

KD: Absolutely! Check it out for yourself:

holamun2.com/chicas http://www.holamun2.com/chicas
holamun2.com/xtreme http://www.holamun2.com/xtreme
holamun2.com/hookup http://www.holamun2.com/hookup

FB: In addition to the game, what else will mun2 be doing to keep these viewers?

KD: Being ourselves – uniquely American!

FB: Given that this is the first time many viewers will be exposed to mun2, you will have a unique opportunity to create a first impression.  Did you consider broadcasting live from Azteca in order to improve the level of the broadcast?

KD: The Telemundo Deportes team will handle the production of the game. The Telemundo Deportes team is incredibly experienced having covered hundreds of matches around the world. We’re in great hands!
We have also just posted a video that includes interviews about the game with Lionel Messi, Carlos Bocanegra, and Jorge Campos, among others. Check it out: http://www.holamun2.com/usavsmex.  We will be posting similar videos leading up to the game. We look forward to you joining us on mun2 next week. Thank you!

Thanks to Kevin Dugan:  Here are a couple of additional notes from around MLS:

We are traveling this weekend, so just a couple of quick  hits.  First, Don Garber has seemingly foreclosed the possibility of Montreal joining MLS in 2011 as part of the Vancouver/Portland entry into the League.  However, according to this article, the addition of Montreal seems like a certainty, perhaps as early as 2012.  For our thoughts on Montreal (and South Florida) joining MLS click here.

One team that will definitely be joining the League is the Philadlelphia Union.   The team is reportedly nearing 10k in ticket sales.  For those eager to see stadium progress, click here for construction photos.

Our series on MLS fans will continue this week.  Please stay tuned for more.

Soccer Business Bits: Mexico/US 3, Portland Expansion and Shirts in Seattle

us-soccerA recurring theme of this blog is the importance of soccer businesses interacting with soccer fans.  Whether it be MLS franchises, WPS, US Soccer or soccer media, we frequently advocate for open lines of communication between fans and those in charge.   Through the years, American soccer officials (from all leagues and teams)  have done an outstanding job of making themselves available to fans and “new media”.  Given soccer’s lack of presence in mainstream media (an improving situation), the web is the most important resource for soccer news and these same officials have historically been receptive to the internet soccer coverage and reporting.

Along these lines, we offer kudos to NBC Universal for reaching out to a number of soccer bloggers and websites to present their side of the debate over the televising of the Mexico/US match.  Specifically, Kevin Dugan of NBC Universal reached out with an offer to answer any questions about Mun2.  He also offered this brief promotional video and announced that the station will be available on Direct TV and Dish Network as part of a preview on August 12.  Longtime soccer broadcasters Phil Schoen and Marcello Balboa will handle the English broadcast (from a studio).

The situation is obviously not ideal, yet we certainly appreciate NBC Universal’s efforts to reach out and make the best of the situation.  Far more native English speakers will now have access to Mun2, yet are they the intended audience of Mun2?  From a business perspective, the decision to show the game on Mun2 (instead of a different NBC English language channel) should still be analyzed.  Mun2’s intended audience is the English speaking offspring of Spanish speaking parents.  Will the provision of this network to a larger population of native English speakers for the Mexico/US game really increase the audience for Mun2 over time?  We have put these questions to Mr. Dugan and eagerly await his response.

In Portland, the improvements to PGE Park were approved last week by the City Council.  We will address this story in depth going forward, but for now, please see our previous stories on expansion in Portland.

Finally, there is this nugget from the New York Times about MLS merchandise sales.  As part of a promotion putting MLS jerseys in Toys R US, MLS shed some light on merchandise sales in the League.  Seattle is number 1, followed by TFC and the Galaxy.  Not suprisingly, Designated Players are the most popular jerseys.sounders

US/Mexico 2

tv soccerYesterday we posted the following:  There are a couple of interesting TV notes surrounding US soccer this week.  The most significant is the announcement that the English rights to the USA/Mexico World Cup qualifier belong to……Telemundo.  According to Mr. Goff, Telemundo will show the game in Spanish on its main channel and in English on “mun2″ a station available in only 30 million households.  Telemundo is owned by NBC.  According to Goff, ESPN attmpted to purchase the game from Telemundo, but the rights were not for sale.  Given the strange start time (4:00 p.m. ET) for the midweek game, the match will likely not be a ratings dynamo.  Yet, the lack of availability in English will dramatically impact the ability of the work crowd to catch the game at a bar and of the college/school crowd to watch the game at home.  This is the biggest World Cup qualifier in years, and Telemundo’s power play will likely deny millions of American sports fans the opportunity to watch the game.  In the last 24 hours, the issue has generated a substantial amount of publicity.

Here is another post from Match Fit USA on the issue.

There is an online petition circulating in order to convince Telemundo and its parent NBC to move the game to a more traditional english langugage network.  Go here to participate.  The American run in the Confederations Cup generated a substantial amount of interest in American soccer and there is no bigger US soccer event than then a World Cup Qualifier against Mexico.  Given that confluence of factors, it is a shame that the game will not be on traditional US TV.  While the benefit of online petitions is dubious, we recommend that you participate.