This will be some interesting news for our American readers, as the MLS has slowly but surely grown into the 7th most watched football (soccer for Americans) league in the world.
David Beckham – has helped soccer in America big time
The average attendances at MLS grew to 18,807 during the regular season, not counting the play-offs, and that’s a healthy increase of 1,000 supporters over last season – and in percentage terms an increase of 5.6%.
The growth of soccer in America has been slow, but there are signs that the Premier League games are now being watched more and more, and Americans are starting to see just how good word-class football is.
I was at my dentist yesterday, and he came in and said “did you see that game at the weekend between Chelsea and Manchester United – what was the referee doing?”
So I immediately explained to him that Mark Clattenburg the referee, lives in my home town of Newcastle – and then we talked about the sending off of Fernando Torres – which was a little amazing to say the least – and then he looked at my teeth – they are still in place. .
But the point is that many more people now seem interested in football in the US (called soccer to differentiate it from American football – which is huge here) and particularly the Premier League.
And it was news to us, that NBC are going to broadcast some Premier League games starting next season, on their new sports cable channel.
And NBC executives have said why they are getting into Premier League football with a three year contract – the NBC Sports President of programming Jon Miller said:
“The Premier League is something we have watched for a long time, but it was not available to us.” “Even before the Comcast-NBC merger last year, we saw the passion of fans, the affluent audience, the demographics of young men that are so hard to find.”
“We spent a lot of time with the Premier League at the Olympics, and got ourselves in a position where when the opportunity came, we made the move.” “The invitation to tender a bid for broadcast rights came out in September, and we worked very hard and quickly to get ourselves into the process.”
“I have a 23-year-old and a 27-year-old son and I have a lot of friends who have sons and daughters of the same age – they have all become Chelsea fans, Arsenal fans, Manchester United fans, Tottenham fans. “And aren’t Newcastle United just a fantastic team to watch too?”
“When we were just NBC, we didn’t have the platforms to exploit a property like the Premier League.” “Once we took Versus in January and converted it to the NBC Sports Network, we got a lot more aggressive about our programming. At the top of the list with a big bulls-eye was the Premier League.”
“Even though there’s just a handful of Americans playing on those teams, they are appealing.”
Yes – I have to admit I put that bit in about Newcastle.
So that’s a bit of good news for soccer in the US, and it’s being helped by players like David Beckham, Robbie Keene and Thierry Henry playing over here.
And we must say that David beckham has done a wonderful job as an ambassador of soccer (and England) over here in the US for the last several years.
Things are picking up in football – if a little slowly – over here in America.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org