1. Save 40-80% on great soccer jerseys. Shop today at BigSoccer Shop!

MLS' TV rights strategy for 2014

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by Bora Fan, Sep 1, 2011.

Moderators: Real Corona
  1. Bora Fan

    Bora Fan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 1998
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Country:
    United States
    Am I right in thinking that the NBC 3 year deal is really just a play to position ESPN and Fox to go to battle for a combined MLS/World Cup package that will be where the real money is spent?

    Sure you take NBC's $30 million/3 year deal - but by shifting away from Fox - you create product scarcity.

    So if you are ESPN you can't risk losing MLS/USSF/World Cup to Fox in 2014 - leaving you with nothing. Or you could really hurt them by taking it away. . .

    And if you are Fox and growing your soccer base in the US what better way than to sock it to your competitor and get a World Cup package in the process?

    Both sides end up in a bidding war - something MLS hasn't really seen.

    I don't think NBC is going to be a viable option in the long run - they just don't get it and have really zero experience outside of the Olympics.

    It's Fox v. ESPN - and I guess the date the circle now is 2014?
     


  2. jkrdevil

    jkrdevil New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Total misread. MLS' goal is a bidding war, but create a bidding war between NBC and ESPN. NBC after the Comcast merger and now having a full general sports network is emerging as ESPN's biggest competitor. Also remember NBC almost got the World Cup last time around it was the lack of having MLS that prevented that. Obviously with this it is going to be less of an issue now, which is why the bought the rights (that and the need to fill summer programming).

    Fox will also be interested in the World Cup rights, but i don't think MLS is that interested in Fox, unless Fox were willing to put 50-60 MLS games on FX. I don't see Fox doing that. Fox Soccer doesn't have the distribution needed long term for the league and because it is a specialty channel it likely never will have the distribution. That's why Fox is making the push for Premier League and Champions league games on over-the-air Fox. In hopes that appeases FIFA enough where they can get the World Cup rights because they likely won't have the domestic league.
     
  3. JJ Mindset

    JJ Mindset Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2000
    Neither of the entities involved (NBC, ESPN, Fox or Univision) is willing to commit to a permanent deal with MLS/USNT. "Permanent" means set days and times written into the schedule, with no prior sporting programming that could run into its scheduled time. See the examples of the last US-Mexico match and last night's US-Costa Rica match for what I'm talking about.

    No permanent deals mean that fans will continue to bitch and moan about matches scheduled at un-good-ly hours or other programming cut into their scheduled time (even preempting them).

    Here's my plan for how MLS can truly improve their position: Go to Univision, propose that MLS pays for the installation of Secondary Audio Protocol for only gametimes. Offer the MatchdayLive package to Univision. This would include most the games involving Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, DC, New York/New Jersey and San Jose. The MatchDayLive deal must be worth tons more to Univision than a few matches involving teams who may not be in the hunt for playoffs on Telefutura. This way, Univision would have more flexibility in scheduling that matches that can get the most interest. The trick here is that once their Univision Deportes channel is up and running they'd have moved their few Telefutura matches to there, anyway. You will still need exposure on the main Univision network. This is where the big matches involving NY, LA, DC, Houston, Dallas, etc., come in. Put the match-ups involving those teams on the main Univision channel. You'd want to demand a weekend package with a set time, because 1)They don't want to preempt their telenovelas with MLS and 2) Mexican League is still their bread and butter. But you can still have MLS right before a Mexican League match on Univision.

    This just a guess but here's how much these items would be worth with a committed deal with Univision:

    MatchDayLive (including the markets popular with Latins) - $40-50 million
    Regular MLS games moved from Telefutura to Univision Deportes - $10-15 million
    Match-of-the-week Univision Network - $40-50 million
    USMNT, including WCQs - depending on whether they qualify but something between $50 and 100 million

    Total - Between $140 and $215 million per annum. That's just for MLS and US Men, not factoring what they'd pay for Mexican NT matches on US soil. I think that having exclusive rights to these properties would be worth the price for Univision, provided that they allow English SAP and even have English-language pregame and postgame shows (paid for by MLS) on a Univision network.
     
  4. noel R

    noel R Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    chicago
    Lets remember NBC won the bid until ESPN put in higher bid which included MLS. This wouldnt be happening if Comcast hadnt bought NBC. Based on World Cup ratings alone all those games should be on network tv. Fox and CBS should join in the bidding, wait CBS will never cover soccer.
     


  5. Bora Fan

    Bora Fan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 1998
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Country:
    United States
    Not to be a jerk - but what does "network tv" or "over the airwaves" even mean anymore?

    In 3 years - who will still be watching TV using rabbit ears - who won't have high speed internet running at home or on their mobile smart phones?

    I realize there are rural parts of the country but it seems that the definition of a network will change - as will distribution. . . granted soccer will always have the fact that it's timely - so you can't DVR hte final of the World Cup and watch in a few days later since you'll know what the score is etc. . .

    But still it seems to me that so much can change - but what takes time is how you figure out how to package, show, promote soccer etc. . . and NBC has no track record of doing that.

    Why waste 2-3 years of figuring stuff out - if Fox or ESPN are ready to go.

    Still think NBC is just being used to bump up ESPN/Fox's bids.
     
  6. blackhornet

    blackhornet Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    United States
    has Univision ever done English SAP? I was under the impression that that wasn't their thing.

    NBC has no track record with soccer but they have tons of experience with international competition - which is essentially what attracts the lucrative casual fan to the World Cup - in addition to it being a summer product.

    And with Comcast pulling the strings and declaring that the Ebersol Tape Delay strategy is dead, there's no limit to what NBC Sports can do now (and Comcast can leverage along their vertical monopoly).

    Fox is done with the World Cup. They're out of the SUM/MLS/USMNT cartel. They're whole focus now is the Premier League and the Champions League. And if their bet is correct, they'll make more money showing the best teams in the world/europe than showing a mid-summer tournament that requires excess promotional hype.

    There will be a bidding war for WC2018 but it'll be between ESPN/Univision and Comcast-NBC
     
  7. JJ Mindset

    JJ Mindset Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2000
    I don't remember them having it but, then again, I don't watch much of Univision to begin with. After Andres Cantor left, I still watched the World Cup but it wasn't the same. In 2010, I watched all matches in English. :D
     
Moderators: Real Corona

Share This Page