Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by POdinCowtown, Dec 19, 2018.
Since the 2018 season is over..
2019, the screen-watching eyes of a nation turn to you.
Phew 2019 was a fast year. Remember how depressing it was when only 2,623 people watched the season opener on ESPN. Who would have thought at that time that the MLS Cup Final between Colorado and Orlando would outdraw the Super Bowl? Kroenke's gamble in signing the entire Barcelona squad at the end of May paid off big time! But kudos to Orlando for taking them to penalties with a roster comprised entirely of home-grown players.
At least the Loons made the quarterfinals!
And they were all signed on TAM deals! Gotta love MLS rules!
NHL 2017/18 regular season
MLS 2018 regular season (Wikipedia)
It looks like ESPN are going to go after NBC to get NHL on the ESPN+ platform from 2020/21, so despite regular season numbers similar to MLS, NHL may end up with more than $200 million a year for US rights.
The big difference is in one-off occasions, such as the Winter Classic or All-Star game, and the playoffs, where NHL completely dominates.
An average of 3 million watched the Stanley Cup final across the 5 nights. Mind you, several games did replace normal peak-time programming while the MLS Cup is tucked away on a Saturday night.
10/3/2018 Boston/Washington 633k
10/3/2018 Anaheim/San Jose 338k
10/4/2018 Nashville/NY Rangers 194k (non-exclusive)
10/4/2018 Philadelphia/Vegas 227k (non-exclusive)
10/9/2018 San Jose/Philadelphia 249k
10/10/2018 Vegas/Washington 543k
10/16/2018 Arizona/Minnesota 197k
10/17/2018 NY Rangers/Washington 329k
10/17/2018 Boston/Calgary 162k
10/19/2018 Minnesota/Dallas 196k
10/23/2018 San Jose/Nashville N/A
10/24/2018 Toronto/Winnipeg 167k
10/24/2018 Tampa Bay/Colorado 177k
10/30/2018 Vegas/Nashville 227k
11/01/2018 Winnipeg/Florida N/A
11/06/2018 Edmonton/Tampa Bay N/A
11/07/2018 Pittsburgh/Washington 642k
11/07/2018 Nashville/Colorado 222k
11/13/2018 Tampa Bay/Buffalo 243k
11/14/2018 St. Louis/Chicago 407k
11/14/2018 Anaheim/Vegas 230k
11/20/2018 Edmonton/San Jose N/A (non-exclusive)
11/21/2018 Philadelphia/Buffalo 290k (non-exclusive)
11/23/2018 Chicago/Tampa 160k (non-exclusive)
11/27/2018 Vegas/Chicago 189k (non-exclusive)
11/28/2018 St. Louis/Detroit 293k
11/28/2018 Pittsburgh/Colorado 281k (non-exclusive)
12/03/2018 Toronto/Buffalo 286k
12/05/2018 Edmonton/St. Louis 262k
12/05/2018 Chicago/Anaheim 125k (non-exclusive)
12/11/2018 Detroit/Washington 174k (non-exclusive)
12/12/2018 Pittsburgh/Chicago 519k
12/18/2018 Nashville/Chicago 140k (non-exclusive)
12/19/2018 Pittsburgh/Washington 697k
12/21/2018 Buffalo/Washington 278k (non-exclusive)
12/22/2018 Los Angeles/San Jose 192k
12/27/2018 Philadelphia/Tampa 248k
Cable average: 288k
Winter Classic audiences:
2014 (TOR/DET): 4.4M
2015 (CHI/WAS): 3.5M
2016 (MTL/BOS): 2.8M
2017 (CHI/STL): 2.6M
2018 (NYR/BUF): 2.5M
NHL All-Star audiences:
2015 0.9M (cable)
2016 1.2M (cable)
2017 1.6M (broadcast), 2.3M including digital
2018 2.0M (broadcast) including digital.
*I found these stats to be unreliable as some reports bunch TV plus digital platform while others don't. I stand to be corrected.
MLS US All-Star audiences:
2016 vs ManU 873k
2017 vs RM 1.9M
2018 vs Juve 947k
The Spanish language audience was 3 times higher against a Spanish club than it was against a non-Spanish club.
The simple fix is MLS vs. LMX
The NHL is on Unimas, I never knew that, 265K is not a bad number for Hockey on a Spanish language channel.
I think he mixed up some numbers as you are right NHL doesn't come on Unimas. It's only on NBC/NBCSN/ESPN+
Some good points but ESPN already has NHL on EPSN+. The digital deal expires in 2021 but unlike MLS NHL along with MLB have a minority stake interest in BAMTECH the brains behind ESPN +. So with that said I'm not sure how that changes things because Disney/ESPN didn't have to pay NHL to air these games under the current deal. In ways it's similar to Disney/ESPN not having to pay MLS for airing games on ESPN+ til 2022 new (Broadcast Rights) DAZN will be a big player in 2020/21 NHL/MLS both leagues enter their early negotiation periods with NBCSN/ESPN. DAZN will act to drive the digital rights fee for sure for MLS as former ESPN President and current DAZN President is a admitted big soccer fan and led to the push of rights fees for MLS last TV deal. DAZN has alot of money to spend and few inventory. They paid MLB $100 mil per yr just for Highlight package rights.
I see two scenarios the worst case scenario. ESPN low balls MLS and tries to package the TV deal with digital rights for say $60-80 mil per yr. In that case MLS pulls it large package of digital rights from ESPN+ and sells them to DAZN for a pretty penny possibly around $100mil MLS averaged about 55k streaming on ESPN+ in the first yr on the service. Bear in mind DAZN and MLS are partners in Canada digital rights.
The other scenario, the best case for MLS is ESPN offers MLS a little over 2x TV rights money about $100 mil per yr (currently $45 mil per yr) and offers $50-100 mil for digital streaming rights. This is similar in strategy to how they split the MMA deal $300 mil per yr = $150 mil TV $150 mil streaming). In this situation inventory strapped DAZN jumps in and offers MLS a can't refuse offer and ESPN counters not wanting to lose their huge inventory of live Spring and Summer content.
So I can see the next TV deal looking something like this with DAZN the wild card.
2006 ESPN $8 mil yr
2014 ESPN $45mil yr FOX $35mil yr UNI $15mil yr
2022 ESPN $150-200 mil yr FOX $100-125 mil yr UNI $50-75 mil yr
I think the broadcast rights will take a backseat in 2022 to streaming rights.
Translated into Spanish, hockey puck is el disco.
Broadcast rights aren't going anywhere the digital streaming rights just aren't there, the media in the form of viewership isn't there. Streaming cord cutting was enough the past 5 yrs for companies to create digital platforms because streaming have started to eat in to about 25% of their profit margins. Those sport networks like ESPN have adjusted and look at their OTT streaming platforms as an vehicle to recoup those losses. I think in 5-10 yrs streaming will make up an even greater share of what use to be lost viewership maybe 35-40%, but linear TV isn't going anywhere.
3 years ago, even 2 years ago, cutting the cord would never have crossed my mind. I lived without cable for about 6 months in 2018 and only switched back when I received an unbeatable offer from my cable company.
Even now I rarely watch cable TV choosing to stream most of my programs.
We don't know what the scenario will be like in 2022 but I agree that broadcast rights will still be important.
However, I think streaming rights will be vastly over-inflated as digital providers look to establish dominance not in 2022 but in 2026, 2027, 2030 and beyond.
In 1988 ITV signed a deal to cover top-flight games in England worth £11 million a year. Four years later BSkyB signed a deal worth what seemed like a ridiculous £38 million a year.
It seemed like a crazy gamble but in a very few years it turned BSkyB from a struggling news and entertainment channel into a highly profitable premier sports broadcaster.
I wouldn't be surprised if a digital fledgling put in a crazy offer for digital rights which would make them the exclusive digital sports broadcaster within 5 to 10 years.
Question for the intelligentsia in this forum: With the announcement that DC's local broadcasts are going to Flo, and the Fire already having gone to ESPN+, what does it say about the direction of television going forward for MLS? I have seen many smart people talking about the decline and possible fall of current TV networks, but many people are complaining about forgoing the casual fan and growth markets with these deals. I doubt they are the same people, but is this good, bad, or just different?
LAFC is also on YoutubeTV...
Different to bad. It implies a few things: (1) MLS teams can't get local TV rights fees in most markets like other "major" sport teams from local TV or regional sports networks; (2) the future of local TV rights in MLS is dim and getting dimmer so all the "TV money" is going to be from national TV contracts and streaming; (3) short-term thinking; teams are going to these streaming options because they want to save face and get something of a rights fee even if it means going to a streaming only platform that a large percentage if not vast majority of team fans will not sign up for. It many not matter but team sponsors won't all be happy that people have to buy a streaming service to watch a game that was on basic cable last season. But the team won't have to do a time buy on the local UHF channel or pay for production costs and split advertising revenues with the local sports channel.
I have yet to see any local TV ratings for MLS teams outside of Seattle and Atlanta I think. The numbers may be frighteningly low in some markets (like 0.0 rounded up to 1,500 viewers)
Yeah, cord-cutting or cord-nevers is growing but a large amount of the actual TV watching and product-buying audience isn't going to hunt around for a stream. MLS probably lucked out that ESPN+ launched and bought the MLS Live rights from them as they probably overpayed to help launch the service.
Not all of these streaming services will survive 5 years.
If you can't plop down and punch up channel 649 in HD on cable or Directv some folks won't bother. And you aren't getting any new fans that way.
It was once said that showing the home games of sports teams on TV was the best 2-3 hour advertisement for buying tickets to the product.
I think a lot of these FOs are trying to be too cute by half by being "trendy" and "cutting edge" and going with these obscure streaming platforms to make themselves seem visionary.
You could be right. Or you could be completely wrong, and these teams are just embracing the inevitable future.
If the inevitable future is MLS teams having to get all of their TV revenue thru pay streaming in their local markets then the league is gonna be cooked because streaming rights are not going to ever get to levels equivalent to what TV rights have gone for over the last decade
TV as we know it will be gone before you know it. Streaming will be the only option. The NFL doesn't air their games on Amazon for fun - they are preparing for this future too.
It's not quite that bad, but it certainly isn't good. In 2017, the Galaxy averaged almost 3 times as many people attending games than watching games on TV (9k average). In 2017, TFC averaged 93k, VWFC averaged 86k, and Montreal averaged 80k.
I strongly suspect that most MLS teams are closer to the Galaxy's numbers than the Canadian teams.
The Galaxy could probably triple their ratings by not being in spectrum Sportsnet. However spectrum pays them a ton.
Will advertising done in the stadium and on uniforms go down if fewer people watch? That's money clubs make from sponsors that aren't sponsoring the TV and/or internet viewing but still might offer less money if fewer people watched.
Do we have a breakdown on the national broadcasts by team?
Usually some intrepid soul puts that together. Though they smartly flexed the last month.