The introduction of Major League Soccer to the Big Apple isn't a one day story. The press conference parade continued on day 2, with the introduction of Claudio Reyna as the first member of the team's front office. Once again, the partners trotted out Randy Levine, Michael Bloomberg and representatives of Manchester City to promote the partnership.
Major League Soccer made a huge announcement on Tuesday with the unveiling of the much awaited MLS franchise. That the league was determined to locate a franchise within the 5 Boroughs is no surprise, but the partnership of Manchester City and the New York Yankees was unforeseen.
The wealth of City's owners is well known to soccer fans, but the wildcard in this relationship is the New York savvy and television power of the New York Yankees.
The big business story a the end of last week involved the final retirement of David Beckham. Beckham had been playing for PSG in the French league, but it was only last year that he retired from the Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer. From a business standpoint, it's hard to argue that Beckham's tenure in the United States was anything other than an unqualified success.
Television ratings for Major League Soccer are stagnant and have been for years. Despite improved numbers since the switch from Fox to NBC, (which can largely be explained by the number of additional households in which the NBCSN is available), soccer remains well below the other major sports in television success.
The American soccer television market is crowded, perhaps overcrowded. ESPN, Fox, NBC, BeIn Sport and Gol all offer live soccer broadcasts to English language markets. There are also a variety of Spanish language providers. This spread of stations provides matches from around the world, year round, on weekends, prime time and more.
Major League Soccer and Topps have announced a six year deal between the entities to make Topps the official trading card partner of MLS. Per the Sports Business Journal, "the company plans to produce special cards of MLS stars such as Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls and Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Busy week in Major League Soccer with a host of mid-week games and a packed weekend, so we will jump right into attendance. The early games started in with DC United, with less than 11k at RFK to watch DC fall 4-0 in another disappointing outing for the Black and Red. The Red Bulls fell just short of 12k in their mid-week effort, while KC managed its usual 18,500 plus.
Since 2010, fans of Major League Soccer have become very accustomed to advertisements for Continental Tire during telecasts of MLS matches on national networks. There have been multiple reports that the North Carolina based company has re-signed a multi-year deal with MLS to remain as the league's official sponsor in the tire category.
Kelly Weller is the Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Strategic Planning for FC Dallas. Ms. Weller has been with the team since December, 2008. Prior to joining FC Dallas, Ms. Weller had worked for the Dallas Morning News, where she was the Director of Marketing and Sales for Quick.
The USWNT will play two home games in the Spring/Summer on the East Coast. Red Bull Arena and Gillette were announced as the venues. There was a some dispute about the selection of a turf venue for the matches, but for the first time in a while, Foxboro will play host a US International.
On to attendance, where the week started with a Wednesday night match featuring New England and Portland.
Every so often we like to take a look at how mainstream news and sports publications are covering the world of soccer in the United States. As MLS moves into its third month of games, the EPL is wrapping up and Champions League closing for the year, we thought now would be the perfect time to take a look.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway on the family of NBC sports networks, including the mothership, NBCSN and CNBC. The playoffs draw huge numbers for the network and provide an important opportunity for MLS to get put its product before a host of new fans. NBC continues to do an excellent job promotion MLS during its hockey broadcasts and the quality of their ads could be an effective draw for its soccer product.
After the 2007-2008 season, the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. At the time, the move ended 40 years of Seattle basketball. In 2009 the Seattle Sounders took the field for the first time as a Major League Soccer franchise. The City embraced the soccer team and crowds in excess of 35k soon crowded Qwest Field to cheer on their franchise.
Before we get to attendance, a quick look at some disappointing MLS attendance numbers. Even looking at NBCSN numbers, the numbers reveal that the league is struggling to gain viewers. In a week with two MLS games, neither broke the top 20 of NBCSN programming for the week, trailing a number of fishing shows and plenty of NHL hockey.