August 6, 2009
ESPN blowing up footy, good or bad for MLS?
First, ESPN grabbed the rights to some La Liga games. Good move for ESPN Deportes and ESPN360, with over 20 games also getting on the big boy networks. Then, the four letter drops an unexpected preview of the Gold Cup final, which they weren't even televising.
Now, they've bought the rights to some English Premier League games. Cue the squealing of EPL fanboys...
My question, is this a good thing for American soccer? I love that ESPN is focusing a lot of attention on the US national team. However, with their investment in televising the World Cup, it's a smart move.
Will it help MLS? I don't see how. As much as I love watching MLS, if you're comparing it in quality to La Liga or the Premiership, MLS is going to come up short. While it will produce some entertaining games, MLS just isn't seen as an equal of the biggest leagues in the world.
As long as MLS can keep its relationship with ESPN strong due to SUM's influence, things could work out. SUM has been brilliant in producing money for MLS by piggy-backing off of the cache of the Mexican national team, international exhibitions, and TV rights to the World Cup.
The minute MLS loses that connection, we'll have to start looking back to buying time on ESPN or going the Versus route.
Posted by Longshoe at 3:57 PM