Commentary

Mizuno enters U.S. market

By Paul Kennedy

Mizuno, the well-known Japanese brand, is moving into the U.S. soccer market. Mizuno USA will be offering select models of its premium soccer cleat line-up online starting December 2013.

For the brand’s U.S. launch, four Mizuno soccer cleat models will be available: two exclusively made-in-Japan models, Morelia Neo (MIJ) and Morelia II (full leather/MIJ), and the Morelia Neo and Wave Ignitus.
 
“The decision to enter the U.S. soccer market was spurred by the many inquiries and requests received from U.S. soccer players who are already aware of the quality and performance of our products and their current use by elite players globally,” said Ahmet Abaci, Mizuno USA's vice president of brand management and change. “With consumer attention focused on soccer in the coming months, it was the right time to bring American soccer players the same quality, innovative product we’ve been offering to other sports, like baseball, running and golf, for many years.”

Among the players wearing Mizuno boots are Hulk, Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson and Japan's Keisuke Honda. Mizuno has also partnered with the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks, hosts of Saturday's Soccer Bowl 2013.

ARSENAL-LIVERPOOL TOPS VIEWERS. Last Sunday's Arsenal-Liverpool game with first place on the line in the EPL draw the largest audience yet on the NBC Sports Group networks. The game averaged 991,000 viewers on NBC. That mark could be challenged by Sunday's Arsenal-Manchester United game on NBCSN.

Largest EPL TV Audiences (NBC Sports Group):
AVG. MATCH (NETWORK) DATE
991,000 Arsenal-Liverpool (NBC) Sat., Nov. 2
917,000 Everton-Chelsea (NBC) Sat., Sept. 14
865,000 Crystal Palace-Sunderland (NBC)  Sat., Aug. 31
852,000 Man. City-Man. United (NBCSN)  Sun., Sept. 22
792,000 Swansea City-Man. United (NBC)  Sat., Aug 17
789,000 Aston Villa-Liverpool (NBC)  Sat., Aug. 24
574,000 Arsenal-Tottenham (NBCSN)  Sun., Sept. 1
570,000 Liverpool-Man. United (NBCSN)  Sun., Sept. 1
536,000 Man. United-Chelsea (NBCSN)  Mon., Aug. 26
459,000 Tottenham-Swansea City (NBCSN)  Sun., Aug. 25

BRICENO NAMED TO TOP BEIN SPORT POST. beIN Sport has named Antonio Briceno as deputy managing director of beIN Sport for North America.

Briceno, who was instrumental in the success of the network's U.S. launch, will report to the network’s managing director, Yousef Al-Obaidly. He will oversee operations, production, marketing, sales and distribution efforts for beIN Sport and beIN Sport en Español, as well as for the authenticated-streaming service beIN Sport Play.

beIN Sport, which features La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, has surpassed all initial distribution goals, reaching more than 80 million pay-TV homes.

“Antonio brings a level of understanding and know-how to beIN SPORT that resonates with our audience and our affiliates, helping us become one of the fastest-growing sports networks in the U.S.,” said Al-Obaidly in a statement. “He consistently has exceeded expectations and has built a dynamic, creative and results-driven network team.”
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