Commentary

Chivas USA, finally, signs TV deal

By Ridge Mahoney and Paul Kennedy

So poor has been Chivas USA’s season that the absence of a local TV package might be regarded as a good thing, yet on the heels of improved performances comes the announcement that all nine remaining games will be televised.

Starting Sunday with a match at Vancouver, games will be broadcast live in English and Spanish. Seven games each will be shown on KDOC (English) and MundoFOX22 KWHY TV (Spanish), with the other two already scheduled for national Spanish-language distribution on the Univision system. Chivas USA will also continue its Spanish-language radio coverage on W Radio 690.

KDOC-TV is an over-the-air station that has carried Chivas USA games in the past. Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket was the team’s English-language broadcast outlet last year; it lost rights to the Galaxy and Los Angeles Lakers last year and will lose Dodgers rights at the end of 2013.

“LA56 is thrilled to partner again with Chivas USA to bring MLS action to LA viewers,” said John Manzi, president and general manager of LA56, in a statement. “The team is improving each game and the remaining schedule promises to showcase an exciting style of soccer the club worked hard to develop.”

In Spanish, two of the seven games will air on Meruelo Media’s independent station, Super 22.

“We are extremely excited that Chivas USA has decided to partner with MundoFox 22 KWHY-TV for these games,” said Lino Alvarez, KWHY-TV vice-president and general manager. “We are looking forward to re-establishing KWHY-TV as the hyper local channel serving the Latino community in Los Angeles.”

FLORIDA SOCCER EXPO DEBUTS. South Florida has entered the soccer trade show business as Florida Soccer Expo, a two-day event at Sun Life Stadium aimed at player, coaches, fans and referees, will be held Sept. 14-15.

The Miami Herald reports that Florida Soccer Expo, whose event director is Fernando Descatelli, is hoping for more than 8,000 attendees over the two days. Admission prices will be $9-16.

WORTH READING. ESPN is the gorilla in the sports media business, but it faces a host of new challenges as the habits of sports fans change. Soccer isn't directly mentioned in the excellent New York Times series (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) by Richard Sandomire, James Andrew Miller and Steve Eder, but it has and will be influenced by some of the dynamics of sports and sports television.

In Part 2, the New York Times looks at how Louisville has used its relationship with ESPN to become a national sports powerhouse in football and basketball and other sports (including soccer). Rights to live sports remain hugely valuable to networks, and Part 3 examines the dominance ESPN holds on the market for live sporting events.

ESPN and the new Fox Sports 1 are expected to engage in a bidding war over the few remaining media properties not tied up in long-term deals. MLS will be able to make the case that its core demo of 18-34 males, however modest the current numbers, will be one of the few loyal viewing groups still watching, if not on traditional television then via other platforms, in years to come.
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1 comment about "Chivas USA, finally, signs TV deal".
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