By Paul Kennedy & Ridge Mahoney
FOX Sports Media Group will broadcast all 25 Gold Cup matches for the first time in 2013. Coverage will include up to three games on FOX Sports, marking the first time it will provide network coverage of the Concacaf championship.
FOX Sports will air a live match from the group stage, a quarterfinal round if the USA advances and the final on July 28 (3:30 p.m. ET) from Chicago's Soldier Field.
Viewers will also have access to the entire tournament via FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer’s digital platform for computers, tablets and smartphones.
“Our dedication to the growth of soccer in America has never been more evident than by the extraordinary coverage we have on tap for this year’s Gold Cup,” said FOX Soccer Executive Vice President and General Manager David Nathanson in a statement. “In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing more details on our groundbreaking coverage plans.”
The tournament is a dress rehearsal of sorts for FOX, which will begin televising all FIFA events in 2015.
(Click here for the Gold Cup schedule.)
FA CUP VIEWING RECORD. FOX Soccer’s broadcast of Sunday's Manchester United-Chelsea match was the network’s most-watched FA Cup match ever, according to Nielsen Media Research. The match, which finished in a 2-2 tie, drew 460,000 viewers, making it the fifth most-watched contest of any kind in FOX Soccer history.
Top FOX Soccer Audience
1. USA-Mexico, 2011 Gold Cup final (1.1 million viewers)
2. Chelsea-Liverpool, 2011 EPL (579,000)
3. Manchester United-Real Madrid, 2013 UEFA Champions League (520,000)
4. Chelsea-Manchester United, 2012 EPL (499,000)
5. Manchester United-Chelsea, 2013 FA Cup (460,000)
FIRE SALES UP. Crain's Chicago Business reports on a steady upward trend in season-ticket sales, a lucrative jersey
sponsorship deal and a regular television partner has boosted optimism on the business side of MLS's Chicago Fire:
-- The Fire now employs about 70 people (not counting players), which represents a 30 percent increase since 2007. Most additions were in ticket sales, marketing and corporate services.
-- Partnerships doubled in both number and revenue in 2012, in the wake of a jersey sponsorship deal signed with Quaker that is worth a reported $8 million over its three-year term that expires next year.
-- There are multiyear agreements with 70 percent of the club’s sponsors, as opposed to about 25 percent a few years ago.
-- A local television rights deal announced with WPWR-TV/Channel 50 represents the first time the Fire has had a single, local TV destination.
On the attendance front, the Fire averaged 16,409 fans in 2012, a 13 percent increase from 2011. Season tickets have nearly tripled since 2010 to approximately 6,300, and the team is shooting to hit 7,500 this season.
An announced crowd of only 13,242 watched the 2013 home opener at Toyota Park, the earliest home game in Fire history. (Wind chills were in the lower 30s.)
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