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What: N.Y. Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso has put forth a US $500 million plan (half of which would be his own investment) for an American soccer entity to rival MLS and boost U.S. Soccer.
Why it matters: A push to host a future FIFA World Cup, providing a major boost to the sport in North America, would be helped by an even stronger, more unified pro base.

With American soccer fans —and brands— scrambling after the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCupfor the first time since the Reagan administration, there has been no shortage of opinions about potential ways to get the program back on track— from the grassroots on up, numerous outlets have reported that New York Cosmos (@NYCosmosowner Rocco Commisso has put forth a US $500 million plan for a league that might even compete with MLS (@MLS).

The outspoken Commisso —a native of Italy who has made his fortune in the U.S. cable industry— has his own issues with the U.S. Soccer Federation (@ussoccer), which has borne the brunt of the national team’s failure to qualify for Russia this summer. The 67-year-old, who has two lawsuits pending against U.S. Soccer, is offering to fund half of the planned half-billion dollar investment in the new entity, which would have a ripple effect on the sport and its partner brands, whether it exists as a direct competitor or a second-level feeder.

Would brands that haven’t traditionally invested in the sport and its fan base get on board, even more than they did for the 1994 men’s and 1999 and 2003 women’s World Cups held in the U.S.?
Rocco Commisso (Mediacom Communications Corporation)

The breadth of such a league could further connect with the Latino fan base, similar to how the NASL (@naslofficial), in which Commisso’s Cosmos compete, included Miami and Puerto Rico entries in its most recent (albeit trimmed down four-team) iteration.

Indeed, marketing is at the heart of Commisso’s dispute with USSF. In a series of letters to U.S. Soccer, FIFA, CONCACAF and the U.S. Senate that were made public this week, Commisso enumerated his demands as part of the huge investment, notably the dissolving of the relationship between USSF and its external marketing, for-profit outfit Soccer United Marketing, which he sees as too interconnected, to the detriment of other soccer entities (notably the NASL), as well as changes in national team licensing procedures, broadcast rights and other areas critical to the sport’s success here.

How might this proposal benefit soccer fans and brands? In short, a push to host a future FIFA World Cup, providing a major boost to the sport in North America, would be helped by an even stronger, more unified pro base. If so, would brands that haven’t traditionally invested in the sport and its fan base get on board, even more than they did for the 1994 men’s and 1999 and 2003 women’s World Cups held in the U.S.?

Cover Image courtesy NY Cosmos

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Far removed from their height in popularity during the Pelé years of 1975, ’76 and ’77, the New York Cosmos have enjoyed a huge resurgence lately, but are at risk of becoming defunct unless the North American Soccer League scores a major assist.

Since a rebirth in 2010, and just as they were in the 1970s and 80s, the Cosmos are a mainstay of the NASL. Their imprint on the pitch and in the soccer community is widespread.

Considered by many as a force in the NASL, the Cosmos have won the championship three out of the previous five seasons — 2013, 2015, 2016.

And after a four-year stint on the campus of Long Island’s Hofstra University, the 2017 club relocated to the more intimate setting of MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The move not only helped expand its fan base and brand recognition to Brooklynites, but it also catapulted them to their third consecutive championship game.

They ultimately fell short to the San Francisco Deltas, yet in the losing effort, the Cosmos positioned themselves for an exciting 2018 campaign.But, that’s assuming that there will be a 2018 season.

On a conference call with the media in late September, NASL legal counsel Jeffrey Kessler stressed the importance of the league’s upcoming appeal on December 15: “In order for the NASL to continue in 2018, and to grow and to survive, it needs to obtain a preliminary injunction from the court to retain its Division II status,” said Kessler.

NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal confirmed last month that they remain confident about regaining their Division II status, which had been rescinded by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Also part of Sehgal’s announcement was that the defending champion Deltas and FC Edmonton would not return next season.

Despite the hearing quickly approaching, Sehgal has been buoyed by the number of expansion candidates that have expressed interest in joining the NASL.

As the fate of the NASL rests with the court’s decision on Friday, an injunction would benefit the Cosmos the most, as they would like to get back to the business of winning.

A summary of the most exciting recent news in sports marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

U.S./U.S.-HISPANIC MARKET

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Dwyane Wade

George Pyne, founder of Bruin Sports Capital, announced the acquisition of deltatre, which specializes in broadcasting soccer games and other sports events. The company also provides graphics, data and live-streaming technology for sports and broadcasting clients. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Basketball player Dwyane Wade made what he called “an extremely emotional and tough decision” and decided to leave the Miami Heat after 13 seasons and sign a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, for about $47 million.

Walt Disney has agreed to buy a 33% stake in the video unit of Major League Baseball’s digital arm, MLB Advanced Media. According to Bloomberg’s report, the deal values the business at about $3.5 billion.

Nike named Mark Parker as successor president and CEO, after announcing that its founder, Phil Knight, is retiring. The athletic giant also named Apple CEO Tim Cook as lead independent director of the board.

New York Cosmos and Fantástico, a Spanish-language mobile ticketing site that launched last month in the New York metro area, have signed a partnership. The Cosmos will have category exclusivity and premium placement on Fantástico’s website, while Fantástico will have promotional opportunities at games and in the Cosmos fan zone.

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LATIN AMERICAN MARKET

In celebration of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Samsung Electronics, a Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Wireless Communications Equipment category,  announced the launch of a Rio 2016 app, with on-the-ground activations throughout Brazil to mark the official launch of Samsung’s global Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaign.

Huawei, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, announced a two-year sponsorship with Argentinian Boca Juniors football club. The brand will appear on the team’s new shirt sleeves.

The Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys club was invited to be a special guest at Mexican Club Atlas’ 100th birthday this Saturday in the Jalisco stadium in Guadalajara, where both teams will meet in a friendly match.

Voit revealed that this season’s football will be named Legacy, and that it will be used during the Liga MX 2016 opening game. Accompanying the presentation was Mexican goalkeeper ‘Conejo’ Pérez, who has been sponsored by Voit for the past 23 years.