Commentary

U.S. Soccer launches digital magazine

By Paul Kennedy

U.S. Soccer has gone digital with a new magazine and Facebook app to provide fans with content and interactive features on the men's national team as it plays in the Hexagonal.

The first issue of "Anthem" -- currently available for iPad and iPhone with an Android version coming soon -- included an inside look at the U.S. roster for the opening qualifier against Honduras, an interactive Hexagonal schedule, coaching staff bios, a gallery of photos and a look-back at the 2009 game in Honduras when the United States qualified for the 2010 World Cup.

The first issue is free, while future issues will be available for a small fee. About 12 issues around men's and women's national team matched will be published in 2013.

U.S. Soccer has also produced a Facebook app "Supporters XI" that allows fans to share their preferred starting lineup. Fans could select the starters for Wednesday's game from Jurgen Klinsmann's roster of 24 players, putting them in one of 10 different formations, and share their lineup with friends on Facebook ahead of the game.

RED BULLS LAUNCH TICKETING APP. MLS's New York Red Bulls released a ticketing app developed by their partner, AudienceView, that allows Facebook fans to buy and reserve seats on the social networking site. The Red Bulls are the first pro sports team to implement this technology that allows fans who "like: the Red Bulls on Facebook to buy tickets for themselves and reserve seats for up to 24 hours so friends and family can access and buy those same reserved seats and ensure they all sit in the same section and row during the match. The technology kicked off with a special 24-hour pre-sale window for the team’s March 16 home opener, available only to Facebook fans.

MORENO JOINS UNION TELECASTS. Alejandro Moreno will join JP Dellacamera as the color analyst on the Philadelphia Union's local MLS telecasts in 2013. The former Venezuelan international has also worked for ESPN. Comcast SportsNet and the Comcast Network, now in their third season, will air 20 Union matches, and WPVI-TV/6abc will air three games.

SKC EXTENDS RADIO DEAL. Sporting Kansas City announced a two-year extension to the club's broadcast agreement with Sports Radio 810 WHB, which has a listening audience that includes the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The station will broadcast each of SKC's five English-language nationally televised home matches in 2013 and also air an hour-long radio show hosted by Callum Williams beginning Feb. 26 and continuing weekly throughout the season.

ROMA MOVES ON TO VINE. Roma might struggling on the field -- Coach Zdenek Zeman was fired after last Friday's game -- but Michael Bradley's Italian club is touting itself as one of the most social media friendly clubs in the world with a presence on Pinterest, a LinkedIn club page and its own iTunes playlists. Digital-Football.com reports that the Giallorossi have moved on to Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing app to show behind-the-scenes clips of the players on matchday.

MEXICO-JAMAICA VIEWERS. Despite the 0-0 draw, Mexico's World Cup 2014 qualifier against Jamaica on Wednesday drew the second largest audience ever on its new Univision home, UniMas. The broadcast averaged 3.3 million viewers. It was also the most-viewed program in the Los Angeles market.
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