By Paul Kennedy
Major League Soccer is averaging 345,000 viewers on ESPN/ESPN2, reports the Sports Business Journal. That represents an increase of 12 percent and 18 percent from 2011 and 2010, respectively.
In its first season as an MLS broadcaster, NBC Sports Net is averaging 121,000 viewers, an increase of 78 percent compared to same period last year on Fox Soccer.
These numbers, modest as they might seem, are good news for MLS. While average attendance has been steadily on the rise, television viewership has been until now flat.
UNIVISION DEPORTES GETS CHIVAS RIGHTS. New sports channel Univision Deportes will become the U.S. home of popular Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara, effective July 2013. The multi-year agreement covers rights to all of Chivas’ Liga MX, Copa Mexico and worldwide friendlies across all platforms. Univision also holds exclusive U.S. media rights to the home games of Toluca, UNAM, Monterrey, Tigres, Club America, Pachuca, Tijuana, Santos, San Luis, Queretaro, Atlas and Atlante.
SHAMPOO WARS. Lionel Messi has signed an agreement with Head & Shoulders to promote its shampoo. Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi's rival, promotes a rival shampoo Clear Men. (View Messi's photo shootout here.)
MICOACH TO GO LEAGUE-WIDE. MLS will integrate the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, providing coaches, trainers and players of all 19 teams with real-time performance metrics including heart rate, speed, acceleration, distance, field position and, for the first time, power. The data-tracking technology will be introduced at Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
T3MEDIA TO MANAGE U.S. SOCCER VIDEO. T3Media, a leading provider of cloud-based video management and licensing services, has signed an agreement with U.S. Soccer to manage its video library through its footage licensing site, www.t3licensing.com. The U.S. Soccer Collection features includes full-length broadcasts, fully produced highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and other shots from home matches.
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