Why doesn't ESPN buy a share of MLS?

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by Bora Fan, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Bora Fan

    Bora Fan Member

    Dec 14, 1998
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Looking at the NBC/AFL deal - why doesn't ESPN buy into MLS? Is MLS opposed to selling a share to ESPN?

    At this point the only thing holding back MLS in the US is marketing.

    We've won a few battles with the media thanks to 7 hard MLS seasons and the recent WC success (and the ladies winning in 96' and 99').

    The work though of spreading the gospel continues and right now MLS has to rely on MNT success and small "Strike Force" type campaigns.

    If ESPN would jump on board and do some NHL type marketing - I believe MLS ratings would increase substantially and the sponsors would flow in.

    Let ESPN keep a significant portion of what they make off of MLS games. . . incentivize the network to promote the game. . . and in 5 years MLS can leverage all that marketing and soccer awareness into a significantly more lucrative TV contract.
  2. kebzach

    kebzach Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Greenfield, WI
    what is their incentive for buying into a league that already pays them $$$ to show it's games? charity?
  3. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Colorful Colorado
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Have you already forgotten the XFL, in which NBC also owned a share?

    When NBC decided to pull the plug, the XFL collapsed like a house of cards.
  4. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ask yourself this...why would they? And just because NBC has a co-financial interest in the television deal with the AFL doesn't mean they have an equity stake in the league like they did with the XFL. The AFL was going to sell 49.9% of itself to the NFL owners, but the owners tabled the discussion.

    Had MLS thought to include ABC as an actual equity partner at start-up, maybe. But there would be absolutely no interest on ABC's part now, and it's quite possible that if they had done it at startup, that ABC would have bailed by now and MLS would be screwed.
  5. snorklefish

    snorklefish New Member

    Mar 26, 2001
    Miami, FL
    I agree that MLS needs to create incentives that will align the long term interests of it and its broadcaster. I worry that the time-buy makes promotion irrelevant from Disney's point of view and that that Disney employees know that whether they promote or ridicule, MLS will pony up their cash.

    Whether its through direct investment or a long term contract, I'd like to know that Disney has a stake in the long term growth of MLS.
  6. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well Disney (who own's ESPN) also owns the Anaheim Angels and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and are actively trying to sell them, but nobody's buying. disney is in bad shape right now and they are trying to "return to their core markets" and are getting out iof the sports team biz.

    Still, I always thought that Disney should have bought Tampa, moved them to Orlando, and put a small stadium at their wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. As it stands now, nobody goes to that place except during Sptring Training for the Braves. With the number of European visitors to WDW, there's a base interest in soccer, a little promotion on the property before each home game would get a small, but noticeable, attendance boost.
  7. Minnman

    Minnman Member+

    Feb 11, 2000
    Columbus, OH, USA
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh really? What a relief.
  8. Preston McMurry

    Preston McMurry New Member

    Jul 28, 1999
    For the same reason Hustler readers don't buy Ladies Home Journal: It's not what gets them off.

    Alice's Restaurant: Every year around Thanksgiving, radio stations will play "Alice's Restaurant", the true story by Arlo Guthrie about a hippy (himself) who wasn't drafted due to his arrest for littering on Thanksgiving. In that vein, with the endless basketball season winding (slowly) down, and with the even more endless baseball season about to start, we at TotW World Headquarters in Milwaukee, WI, offer you this annual bit of wisdom regarding sports urinalists from the April 16, 1999 Turd of the Week: ... every sports reporter is at heart a baseball geek. Not just a baseball fan, but a geek. Oh sure, sports journalists will report extensively on other 'major' sports like football, but deep down in their heart of hearts they are baseball geeks. A geek in the same way that Trekkies are Star Trek geeks. It's what they live & breath and all they think & dream about. They even look alike: fat, pasty-skinned, poor grooming habits, unathletic, never get laid. In other words, like Paul Gascoigne. If another sport even crosses the sports journalist hive conciousness, it is basketball -- which also has its fair share of sports journalist geeks. (But at least Marv Albert gets laid, even if he has to wear women's undies to do it.)" (TotW #90: http://www.execpc.com/~pvmiii/brewcity/totw/totw2001/totw010331.html)

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