Tuesday, September 16, 2003

No demand for soccer: Just think of the sports that are comercially viable (from a broadcaster's standpoint). Not just the four major sports, but golf, tennis, bowling, billiards. In small doses, at least, ESPN, the four big networks, and cable outlets find a place to televise everything from the X-Games to Little League Baseball. How pathetic must viewership have been for nobody to want to pick up women's soccer? And for that matter, I don't see men's soccer storming the nation. With the exception of the World Cup, if it's played in America, there's virtually no demand for it, no matter who's playing.

Update: Julie Foudy was on Kudlow & Kramer tonight, being interviewed about the WUSA's demise. What's wrong? You guessed it, not enough corporate sponsors. So your challenge, lady soccer stars, is to convince corporate execs why pitching their products through you will be more effective than other methods. Take a cue from the PGA and LPGA tours. Corporations aren't sponsors of the sport, but of individual events. They own the week, they get massive TV time, be it on a big network like NBC or a cable outlet like USA or The Golf Channel. It's harder with a team sport that plays a traditional season, granted, but you have to find a way to create a compelling event every week (or month, whatever is feasable) and make it appealing to Kraft, Nike, or whoever wants to reach women, kids, or families.

It's not just about associating their product with soccer, it's about giving them a chance to communicate a message to your audience. Better luck in the future.

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