Thursday, November 03, 2005

$425 million for FIFA US TV rights

Late yesterday evening, FIFA announced that ABC/ESPN and Univision had won the US TV rights for the 2010 & 2014 Men's World Cups, the 2007 & 2011 Women's Cups and the 2009 & 2013 Confederations Cups. The combine total cost of the deal is $425 million. This is the largest single country deal in FIFA's history.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said of the deal, "Today's news, will prove to be a historical turning point for the sport. These recent developments further solidify soccer's standing and value as a major television property in the United States with even greater future potential."

Just so you know, the English language deal was for $100m while the Spanish broadcast rights went for $325m.

It will be interesting to see what ABC & ESPN do with these rights seeing as soccer is a low priority for them. Will they finally interrupt billiards or poker to show high-quality soccer, or will the games end up on late at night or ESPN Classic? Also, will this mean ESPN & ABC will think about broadcasting more MLS matches or do they only care about international events.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see that soccer got a high payout, but I worry that the ABC family did that more to prevent Fox from getting the rights then due to any love of the game. However, if ABC is serious about soccer, they could show it by putting more matches on with better advertising, getting better commentators and maybe having a pre-game show. Little things like that could make me believe in their desire to expand soccer in America.



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