If there's one sport that can survive the global financial crisis then it's soccer, writes the AP. It says that while individual clubs "will certainly suffer" by losing sponsors and investors, and perhaps some players with high wage demands, "cash flowing into the top end of the market, from television deals and multinational backers, is unlikely to dry up."
In fact top-level soccer "is poised to become an even stronger TV draw in hard times when people want cheap entertainment," it adds. The next World Cup is already sold, with soccer's global governing body FIFA budgeting to take $3.2 billion from the competition. UEFA made a net profit close to $400 million from this year's European Championship, and the Champions League will pull in over $1.1 billion this season, with TV deals for the tournament sealed up until 2012. Rights for the English Premier League will soon be sold for the period 2010-13, and at a likely higher price than the last deal.
It quotes Philipp Grothe of the Swiss-based Kentaro agency, which has just struck a six-year deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation to distribute national team matches, as saying that when money is tight, soccer is a reliable commodity. "Only the big live events in sport, i.e. football [soccer], generate the mass audience," Grothe told the agency. "They are the ones delivering to sponsors and broadcasters the big audience numbers."