ESPN purchases MLS broadcast rights in 8-year deal

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by Spydey629, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Spydey629

    Spydey629 Registered User

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    BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- ESPN has bought the rights to broadcast Major League Soccer games and other related events under an eight-year deal.

    ESPN2 will broadcast 26 regular-season games on Thursday nights as well as three playoff games a year. The deal also allows televised coverage of the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.

    Also, ABC will broadcast the league's season opener, the All-Star game and the MLS Cup.

    The deal marks the first time that a network has agreed to pay for the rights to MLS games.

    "ESPN has rights to our games, highlights, chats with our players, etc.," MLS commissioner Don Barber said. "This new relationship will have a positive impact on our sport."


    Again ESPN throws the NHL a slap in the face. They will pay for the B-grade soccer that is the MLS and won't pay for NHL games. :madfire:
     
  2. Paxton Fettel

    Paxton Fettel Registered User

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    MLS is a joke.
     
  3. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    No -- they just didn't want to pay too much. And now that there is a competitor, they actually have to spend the money.


    Fine by me anyways. The MLS is trash. Maybe by the grace of God, OLN/VS can end up with some European soccer.
     
  4. FLYLine27*

    FLYLine27* BUCH

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    And they thought they got low ratings from hockey? Can't wait to see these ratings.
     
  5. vbet*

    vbet* Guest

    I don't see why people get so worked up about this. Just like baseball TV markets are mainly local revenue. Teams need to develop their market themselves if they want to be successful. As long as Basketball and Hockey are on at the same time the NHL won't have a US national broadcast.
     
  6. Guy Legend

    Guy Legend Registered User

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    I don't mean to compare the NHL and MLS, but let's not forget that the NHL had missed a whole year with plenty of predicitions of doom and gloom (mostly by people who don't know the sport), had seen a decline of quality of play and ratings over the years, and had come to a revenue sharing agreement with NBC. Also, OLN threw out a number much larger than anyone was expecting.

    The MLS is on an upswing, helped by the popularity of world cup (which drew in more viewers - including in the US than ever). Now that the NHL is back and presumably better than it has been in a long time, I would expect the parameters to be vastly different the next time the NHL and ESPN are at the table.

    I'm really hoping that Versus gets the rights to the last MLB package that is available. Regardless where hockey broadcasts end up, I'd love to see OLN/Versus develop into a formidable rival to ESPN.
     
  7. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    They only drew a 4.X in comparison much more people watch Family guy and WWE than the world cup. Soccer has a longggggg way to go. Not to mention that MLS ratings are far more abysmal than the NHL's. The MLS gets 0.2 and stuff like that. I wonder how much ESPN paid, whatever it was I bet it wasn't that much.
     
  8. Guy Legend

    Guy Legend Registered User

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    Again, I qualified my statement by avoiding a ratings comparison between the NHL and MLS. Rather, I'm taking a look at the upswing both leagues faced at the time (downswing in the NHL's case). I would think that ESPN and the MLS expect decent growth throughout the life span of their new agreement (an uncertainty with the NHL at the time).

    I still think ESPN was wrong in all aspects for offering the NHL the deal they did, but I can make sense of what they did. Of course, the scenario will completely different the next time the two are at the table...
     
  9. 19nazzy

    19nazzy Registered User

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    I think they're hoping Beckham comes over to play.
     
  10. polarslam

    polarslam Registered User

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    I don't see the big deal? Of two fringe sports that draw flies and are cared about by small segements of local fans ESPN wen't with the cheaper option in MLS, which after the world cup I guess they are hoping for a little jump. Smart business move.
     
  11. shoothepuck

    shoothepuck 88

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    Espn blew the deal with the NHl, and now with MLS they figure that post world cup #'s will justify picking up another sport to broadcast. Anyone who watches any MLS games will tell you that the stadiums are never more than half full, if that, and TV viewership is really low. It has to be real cheap to be a smart business move.
     
  12. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    I don't see how ESPN will profit from the MLS it will more than likely be filler.
     
  13. NYYmt62

    NYYmt62 Registered User

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    I agree. There is no way they profit from the MLS. I don't think there is any reason why ESPN would go after the NHL at this point. The league is still in the rebuilding process and ESPN is focused on the bigger fish- the NFL, MLB and NBA. Once the NHL gets back to a high level, and who knows when that will be, then they will get the big TV contract everyone pines for. Right now the league is very much for diehard fans in the US, and there is no way the mainstream public is willing to accept the game yet. There are simply way too many people not willing to give the game a chance. Which is a shame, because most people don't understand the game- so it is easier to knock it than learn about it.
     
  14. #66

    #66 Registered User

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    I'm actually hoping that the NHL and ESPN can work out a deal for a game of the week and for bringing back the classic games. IMO an exclusive agreement with anyone is a killer. The NHL needs to flood the market.
     
  15. TVanek26*

    TVanek26* Guest

    MLS probably gets better ratings then the NHL.
     
  16. TT

    TT Registered User

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    http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6357481.html?display=Breaking+News

    "With a separate, multi-year deal with ABC/ESPN —said to be worth at least $7 million-$8 million annually—expected to be announced as soon as this week, SUM could have four national TV deals. The others are a previously announced HDNet contract (said to be worth $2 million-$3 million annually) and another deal with Univision currently in the works."


    "U.S. pro league Major League Soccer (MLS) is about to cash in on the sport’s growing popularity with a series of television deals that will bring in upwards of $15 million annually. Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of MLS, is close to a multi-year agreement with Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) for a wide-ranging rights deal worth around $20 million through 2010, according to sources."



    Should the NHL be worried about the MLS in the near to mid future?
     
  17. Big McLargehuge

    Big McLargehuge 12

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    If there is anything that can out suck the NHL in the ratings game in the States it's soccer.



    I like the sport fine enough but I'm not going to watch that garbage league.
     
  18. USF Shark

    USF Shark Zôion politikòn

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    Who cares what ESPN does anyways? God, people can be so bitter. ESPN lost millions and millions of dollars when the had the NHL on. They got rid of the NHL because they were losing too much money broadcasting the games and didn't get enough money from sponsers, so of course they went to the cheaper option of the MLS. ESPN is a business and they just made a smart business move.
     
  19. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    By that theory, how much more will they lose since MLS has way worse ratings than the NHL? A 0.2? Come on.
     
  20. Trizent

    Trizent Registered User

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    Well, when you pay far less you don't need the same numbers to deliver a profit.
     
  21. HF2002

    HF2002 Registered User

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    MLS may not be a great league in comparison to other leagues (EPL, Serie A in Brazil & Italy, La Liga, Bundesliga) but it continues to grow, and the fact that they've stuck around long enough to sign a deal with ESPN (whatever the terms) is huge.

    Look at it this way - MLS has a deal with ESPN and the NHL doesn't.

    The US is about a generation away from a huge boom in international soccer. They've got the population base and the money, but more importantly, they've got a top league that kids can look at with the hopes of making it. With somewhere to aim they have somewhere to land.
     
  22. ScottyBowman

    ScottyBowman Registered User

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    More people watched the world cup final than the nba finals in the US. ABC/Univision had a combined audience of 18 mil. Not too shabby.
     
  23. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Never heard that before. :rolleyes:
     
  24. Tricolore#20

    Tricolore#20 PK PK PK

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    I don't think MLS will pick up as much storm in the US as some optimistic people tend to believe. The majority of soccer fans in the States prefer to watch the best players week in and week out, and with the arrival of Gol TV, Setanta, etc, they'll get greater access to those games. I just can't see millions of people going out, and saying "GO GALAXY!" or "C'MON Revolution." The league is such a gimmick that the hardcore soccer fans often cringe at (listen to World Soccer Daily, which is based in the States, and listen to all the MLS bashing that goes on).
     

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