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What: The choices for brands looking to engage in soccer in North America are vastly different than five years ago.
Why it matters: Soccer in North America is a business not just worth watching but engaging in as an emerging market, with the region seen as an emerging market in the sport.

There is no doubt that over almost a quarter century, Major League Soccer (@MLShas built a North American brand that has elite status, proactive marketing, a young, engaged fan base and a diverse and growing ownership group that has put professional soccer not just on the map, but into the fabric of professional sports fandom.

Over that time the interest from the professional level to the grassroots in playing and engaging in soccer has risen on a path in North America that is even beyond the growth level of MLS as a property, something which many diehards had hoped for but sometimes not thought possible in the years prior to MLS launch and subsequent expansion as a property.

However with the meteoric growth of the MLS brand, and its clubs, athletes, coaches and partners, has come the realization by many of the elite clubs of the world that soccer in North America is a business not just worth watching but engaging in as an emerging market. North America as an emerging market in anything may literally seem foreign to many, but in the case of some global sports; not just soccer but sports like rugby and even in some isolated areas cricket, the market for monetization, and even expansion is more fertile than anywhere else on the planet that’s not China, and even China, in terms of commercial interests in sports business, in many ways cannot trump what North America can for now.

…[I]f you want to sell product and grow consistently in key markets in soccer, you look to MLS as your partner here. It all comes down to where you want to spend and how.
Aly Keita

In the eye of that growth area is also the sexy baubles of demos that brands, and teams, want: rising numbers of Latino fans, more engagement with women, and even a growth to be the choice of millennials who now have more discretionary income, and soccer, as MLS can attest to with the largest growth numbers in each of those categories for sports leagues, can talk to all of those more than most other professional sports in North America.

So if you are a brand, one with solid budgets, a look to engage wide audiences in all forms of media as well as at the grassroots activation level, and you want to make a big impact with a push towards a measurable ROI, and you also want to make sure you take care of your North American interests, you may pick soccer as your “all in sport,” right? The trends are going that way. But would you pick MLS? Maybe yes, maybe no, it depends on your scope.

The reason why you could look to soccer, or football, is that the marketplace today in North America has changed drastically in the past five years as the elite clubs, and leagues, of the world have put down roots and are looking to import their brand and experience and expertise into North America more than ever before.

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How and why? The why is pretty simple. A marketplace that is more savvy and more engaged in all things soccer than ever before. How? First start with media. NBC’s pioneering coverage of the Premier League (@premierleague), finding a live home for the EPL that became acceptable to fans on Sunday mornings, combined with ancillary programming both online and on broadcast, created the perfect test case to show that live soccer had an audience. That opened the door for other elite leagues to expand broadcast offerings with everyone from Fox to Turner to beIN to ESPN to Univision and Telemundo, and the ability to watch your favorite clubs, the most elite soccer stars of the world in real time without having to search out a pub or a small supporters group, made the best soccer in the world easy to find.

Then you lop on the move to digital and streaming not just by broadcast outlets but by other platforms (Bleacher Report Live, ESPN +, Eleven Sports), and suddenly you could almost find any club available on any device. This helped growth of soccer among a mobile friendly audience, especially down to the grassroots level, and also renewed easier alliance with the new immigrant, who craved soccer and the loyalty to his or her home club, and could now watch that club easily in their adopted home.

The explosion and availability of merchandise for global clubs also fueled the brand fire, with families getting access to club kits from around the world, and those kits became part of school apparel for boys and girls laying the game in cities big and small. You also lay on top of all of that access the influx of ownership dollars into elite global clubs by deep pocketed American owners, and the connection between clubs once far away and the suburban living room was easier once again.

Next step, as mentioned earlier, is the elite clubs and leagues of the world tracking fan loyalty in the digital space and seeing the opportunity for sales and brand growth in a country where they were not playing games, but where fans were watching and engaging. Into that mix came a number of clubs; most notable was FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernUS), who enacted a very savvy supporters group campaign run through social media, whereby local fans could build their own sanctioned clubs.

The plan, which was well in advance of the clubs US tour, gave Bayern a leg up on local loyalty and set the way for what is arguably the most effective local supporter network for a non US team of any kind in North America, with followers of various sizes in every state in the U.S. and most Canadian provinces. That helped show the opportunistic door for what clubs, and leagues could do in North America, and really set the stage for anywhere from 10 to 12 non US soccer clubs setting down stakes in North America in the past few years, including the teams that have US owners.

With all that as the backdrop, the opportunities and choices for brands now looking to engage has changed a great deal, and presents some really unique challenges or opportunities. There was time not too long ago, when Coke (@CocaCola), a longtime World Cup sponsor, and Ford (@Fordand Chevrolet (@chevrolet), two dyed in the wool American brands, took on new sponsorship deals in the Premier League. Those were seen as game changing for their non U.S. scope. Today, the ability to engage with soccer fans around the world has made elite clubs even more attractive to US brands for activation, in part because of the deeper roots that the biggest clubs of the world, from Barcelona to Chelsea to Roma to Bayern, have planted on North American soil, and their ability to deliver ROI in the States, through media partnerships, through social, and culminating when the clubs play matches in the States on summer tours, that was not as realistic even five years ago.

That does not mean that the option of MLS, or even the U.S. Women’s National team this summer for World Cup, is less strong for brands, especially those hyper focused on local markets and on the North American footprint primarily, it just presents more options and choices today.

What Are the Differences and the Advantages?

“With La Liga (@LaLigaEN) having a bigger presence in the U.S. now, our offering is much more than it could have been a few years ago,” said Rebeca Díaz González (@rebsdg), who leads international business development for La Liga in the U.S. “We have what we think is really a compelling offering to bring to U.S. businesses in soccer: premium association of two of the big sports brands in the world in Real Madrid and FC Barcelona (as well as the other clubs of La Liga), an association with the best players and some of the most recognizable faces in sport, an eight month long advertising property that runs from August to March (keeping in mind the MLS season is virtually opposite of that), customization in content creation for U.S. partners (content, academies, media assets, activations and grassroots properties), and the cultivation of a young and diverse soccer fan base in the U.S. that appreciates the high level of play of La Liga. All of that makes us really well positioned to take advantages of opportunities here and into the future, and that’s very exciting for us.”

From a club level, FC Bayern Munich saw early on the advantage they had with companies like Audi (@Audi), Adidas (@adidas), T-Mobile (@TMobileand Allianz (@Allianz), as well as a partner in Qatar Airways (@qatarairwaysthat had its own agenda for U.S, growth. They leveraged those brand partnerships that had U.S. ties and marketing budgets (some of which, like Audi and Adidas, were already spending in the U.S. with MLS) to create programs that catapulted the visibility of FCB, not just to fans, but to casual consumers who were enjoying soccer but were not yet aware of the Bayern story.

“When FC Bayern came to the U.S. our aim was to grow the fan base in the Americas, form mutually beneficial partnerships and help to grow the sport of soccer on and off the field,” added Rudolf Vidal, President Americas, FC Bayern München. “After five very successful years, FC Bayern can now talk extensively about our reach, engagement and activation in the Americas as well as Europe and Asia highlighting the club’s global appeal. “Since 2014, the club’s following has almost tripled from 13M to 32M followers. We started with eight official fan clubs and now we have 147 fan clubs in 49 states. We have signed seven North American based partners as well as forming media partnerships with ESPN, FOX, Goal.com and Univision. Our growth in North America is extremely valuable to our internationalization strategy and is consistent with our club values…responsibility, partnership and innovation.”

Vidal’s statements and scope echo the excitement of many clubs who see the U.S. as very fertile ground for growth. However not being in market with teams (the rare crossover ownership groups include City Football Club, whose global ownership presence and brand influence ties together nicely with NYCFC (@NYCFCof MLS and Manchester City (@ManCity)) still gives MLS a distinct advantage for brands that cannot simply be equalized with big name stars and elite brands.

MLS vs. the World

Tony Ponturo

“With MLS as a brand you are buying that national presence with a very passionate local following, and that’s very important when you look at your budget and your return,” added Tony Ponturo (@ponturo), who for over 30 years built and grew the sports marketing platform of Anheuser Busch and now works on the consulting side for Turnkey Intelligence. “Manchester United, Real Madrid are global buys way beyond soccer, but if you want to sell product and grow consistently in key markets in soccer, you look to MLS as your partner here. It all comes down to where you want to spend and how.”

“We are always aware of competition from all forms of entertainment, not just soccer,” added MLS SVP of Partnership Marketing Jen Cramer. “When brands look for consistent, proactive partnership activation in soccer in the U.S., we are able to create an opportunity that reaches millions and is very customized to what their needs are. We live and breathe soccer in the North America all year round, and we know that what we offer for partners of all sizes, be they club sponsorships or as a league partner, really drive ROI. Our record speaks for itself, and we are both proud and excited about what the future holds.”

Jen Cramer

So is there a decision on where and when brands will spend, if they are steeped in American business? “Global football clubs bring with them the eyes of the world, and with that comes a big price tag,” added Chris Lencheski, a longtime sports marketer now teaching at Columbia University. “There are brands that can choose to go that route, and now you will see a bigger return in the U.S. because of the visibility of those clubs with media, social play, and as time permits, local summer tours. However as a market that is still growing, MLS continues to have the position of a cost effective, proactive property that gives you a return in very specific cities that you can tailor to. That also does not include the spends you can do around clubs in fervent markets like New York and L.A. and Atlanta and Portland and Seattle. There you can also take advantage of spends and exposure that can nicely complement all you are doing elsewhere. It’s not an easy balance, but it comes down to how and where you see your brand succeeding and there are pluses and minutes to both. It’s certainly does not have to be one or the other.”

The Pool Remains Deep and Very Wide for Brands

The good news is that for brands looking to activate in North America the choices are pretty vast, and are more unique than ever before. Do you want the allegiance of a global club with a footprint that resonates well beyond the shores? There are clubs, and even leagues, with offices here to talk to. Do you want to be hyper focused on the Americas, including Liga MX, that option exists and is growing. Do you want a hybrid? You can create that as well. It certainly is not an easy choice, but it is a buyers market, and the market is well stocked and growing it seems, each week.

What: The financial troubles of leading media rights firm MP & Silva leaves international football, and other sports rights, in flux.
Why it matters: The unexpected availability of these rights may present opportunities for brands to partner with some of the world’s biggest football properties.

As most of Europe begins a new season of football now, many leagues are facing a very unforeseen issue in the next few weeks (and potentially the next few years): namely where their games can be seen—and who can see them—as massive media rights company MP & Silva (@MPSworldwidecontinues to go through its huge financial issues.

Monday the Scottish Professional Football League (@spfltook their rights back from MPS before a default that would have threatened a global blackout of their new season. A potential audience of tens of millions across the Middle East, Australia and North Africa were “denied coverage” of Saturday’s action. But the SPFL’s “cash-stricken” media partner “failed to stump up payments to continue selling the Scottish game abroad,” allowing SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster to “terminate the cut-price deal” five years ahead of schedule.

…[T]he global sports rights business especially for soccer, with one of its biggest players, remains in a great deal of flux.

The move by the SPFL follows that of Serie A (@SerieAlast week, which is now suing the company, which was founded in 2004 by the Italian trio of Andrea Radrizzani, Riccardo Silva and Carlo Pozzali, before being sold to Baofeng Technology and Everbright Securities in May 2016. The two Chinese companies took a 65 per cent stake in a deal that valued the company at US$1.1 billion.

What this means for leagues like Serie A and the SPFL is unclear, but for competitive companies looking to garner international rights it presents great opportunity to partner with some of the world’s biggest football properties at a time when those deals were thought to be off the table for years to come. According to TV Sports Markets (@TVSportsMarkets), MP & Silva has also missed scheduled payments to English soccer’s Premier League (@premierleagueand the European Handball Federation (@EHF), and is said to be in arbitration with FIFA (@FIFAcomover its advisory contract for Italian rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

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The default can also open doors for streaming services to engage and pick up rights for football leagues that were thought to be tied up in traditional broadcast deals, although the rights could be repositioned to the original holders. In the United States, MPS has had a burgeoning business that now appears to be on hold, with deals selling for the NFL, Monumental Sports and others.

For his part Doncaster painted a very positive picture for Scottish Football, looking to see what new deals, and potentially new dollars, this could open up.

“Scottish football is growing in popularity at home and abroad We are working to ensure that fans across the globe are able to enjoy matches from the Ladbrokes SPFL, the Betfred Cup and the IRN-BRU Cup as normal this season,” he added. “This also allows us to explore opportunities to give even more fans worldwide the chance to watch our games.”

As this plays out, the global sports rights business especially for soccer, with one of its biggest players, remains in a great deal of flux in a story that could become one of the biggest of the year.

cover image: SPFL

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Paris Saint-GermainFrench soccer team Paris Saint-Germain is ending their shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates after the upcoming 2018/19 season. Emirates were not willing to meet president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s up to US$93 million-per-year demand. PSG are searching for a replacement for Emirates, with an Asian company in insurance or electronics a possibility. Qatar Airways has also been touted as a potential replacement.

 

  • English Manchester United have expanded their partnership with German coffee company Melitta. Melitta is going from a regional agreement to a global one. The expansion includes the creation of a global initiative which will bring some of the club’s international fans to Old Trafford for a VIP experience. “At Manchester United we pride ourselves on offering to our fans the best possible experience when visiting Old Trafford,” said Richard Arnold, United’s group managing director.

 

  • The English soccer giant has also announced a multi-year global partnership with MoPlay, a new mobile betting and gaming brand. The deal will see the two brands create exclusive collaborative content for fans, as well as engage in innovative co-branded activations around the world. “MoPlay are an innovative and dynamic company looking to further enhance our fans’ gaming experience,” said Arnold.

 

  • Continuing with Manchester United, Scotch whisky Chivas teamed up with the English team in a three-year global partnership. No financial details of the multi-year partnership were revealed but the deal will see Chivas’ range of whiskies made available throughout Old Trafford’s hospitality suites, while the company’s branding will be displayed on digital perimeter boards as well as throughout the stadium.

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  • Sina Sports90min announced a deal with Sina Sport to provide fan-driven international football content to the Chinese market and help Sina Sports attract and engage with “the next generation football fan.” In addition, with assistance from Sina Sports, 90min is one of the first foreign sports media to open and operate an official Weibo account. In order to service Sina Sport in its localized language, 90min has created a dedicated community team which curates and publishes all content in Chinese.

 

 

  • ESPN and ESPN+ locked in an exclusive, multi-year rights agreement in the US for Italian soccer league Serie A TIM. The deal will bring more than 340 matches per season to ESPN+. Most telecasts will air on ESPN and ESPN2, and the Match of the Week will also be available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

 

  • Telemundo Deportes hit the Premier League this week, detailing production plans as for its exclusive Spanish-language coverage. The Telemundo Deportes soccer expert team returns to provide play-by-play commentary led by Andres Cantor, Sammy Sadovnik, Copán Álvarez, Carlos Hermosillo and Manuel Sol.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • FOX SportsAccording to Nielsen, Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal matches delivered FOX with an average of 5,664,000 viewers, making this the most-watched day of Quarterfinal action since at least 1990. The Croatia/Russia encounter averaged 6,317,000 viewers on the channel, while England’s win over Sweden got 4,763,000 viewers. Twitter had its best day ever across FOX Sports accounts, with 13.7 million views.

 

  • Facebook has become the exclusive broadcaster of the Premier League matches in four Asian countries. The deal starts with the 2019-20 season and runs through 2022. Facebook will livestream all 380 fixtures in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

 

  • On May, Toyota formed a partnership with Club America on their Tour Águila – their series of friendly matches that take place in the United States. Now, during the kick-off match in Dallas, Texas on June 30th, the Toyota Tundra pulled in with an actual section of the iconic Estadio Azteca and shared the excitement and thrill with fans who got a chance to sit in them. The branded seats have since traveled to the next few games including San Jose and Fresno, California.  “Soccer is a unified passion point among Hispanics and deeply rooted in their cultural heritage.  Beyond reach, their engagement with the sport is enormous,” said Veronica Elizondo, VP and Group creative director at Toyota.

 

  • The US Soccer Federation will host North America’s first-ever soccer-specific hackathon in Chicago on July 14-15. Attendees will have exclusive access to data used by federations and professional clubs, develop solutions for soccer industry problems, and share ideas to push the sport forward from commercial and soccer standpoints.

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  • Nashville SCPinnacle Financial Partners Inc. has signed a partnership as a corporate sponsor of Nashville SC. This is Pinnacle’s third sports-focused partnership, after sponsoring the Tennessee Titans and Memphis Grizzlies.

 

  • The Croatian soccer federation has been fined by the FIFA with over $70,000 for violating media and marketing rules at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Members of the Croatian national team were seen drinking “non-authorized beverage products,” this means drinks with no sponsorship deal for the World Cup. Coca-Cola is FIFA’s main sponsor, together they have set strict marketing regulations about what brand of beverages players are allowed to be seen with during matches.

 

  • CoinDeal, a Cyprus-based cryptocurrency exchange, has become a sponsor of the UK Wolverhampton Wanderers soccer club, which will feature its logo on all training kits. CoinDeal’s logo will appear on the team’s shirt sleeves.

 

  • Telemundo Deportes added new audio offerings for Amazon Alexa and Google to enhance the final stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Customers can ask Alexa to hear Telemundo Deportes’ daily two-minute brief in Spanish recapping the action of the day, results of matches, the most interesting stories coming out of the games, and more, directly from Russia.

 

What: Genius Sports Group Communications Director Chris Dougan will be one of this year’s speakers at Portada Miami. He will discuss Gaming and Gambling with Ben Spoont at the EAST hotel on April 19.
Why it matters: This is one of the topics that are changing the future of sports marketing. There will be plenty of questions moving forward as more entities, particularly in the U.S., embrace legal gambling on sports and eSports.

Joe Favorito, chair of the Sports Marketing Board, has prepared a background piece on speaker Chris Dougan and the topic he will be discussing at Portada Miami. To join the conversation with him and all our other speakers, register here!

The buzz words in sports business, not just in the U.S. but around the world, are gaming, eSports and gambling. As sports gambling becomes closer to a reality not just in North America but in other countries, including those in Latin America, how will the consumer be protected and the games stay safe? And how will data protection, and even gambling play a role in eSports?

At the center of all those discussions is Genius Sports, the world’s fast-growing leader in data protection around professional sports. Based in London, Genius (@geniussports) works 24/7 to make sure the data for some of the world’s biggest leagues, from the Premier League to Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour, are safe and secure. And as eSports becomes more valuable, Genius Sports work will take them deep into working with the biggest gaming companies to again make sure all data is secure and protected.

Helping lead the charge for Genius, not just in the U.S. but in Latin America as well, is Chris Dougan.

Dougan will explain the value of data protection, the scope of the gaming and gambling industry, and how companies will work to protect brands.

Dougan is the Group Communications Director for Genius Sports Group, with responsibility for developing and implementing the global corporate communication, marketing and public affairs strategy. He spent his early career at MGM Studios before moving into ballot measures and issue advocacy work. For over fifteen years, Dougan has specialized in managing integrated public affairs, strategic communications and issue advocacy campaigns on behalf of highly regulated sectors. He has planned and executed multiple campaigns across the US, EU, and EMEA region on behalf of national governments, institutions, and multinational corporations.

Since joining Genius Sports Group in 2015, Dougan has driven stakeholder engagement efforts and leads the US advocacy program by providing senior counsel to C-suite executives, opinion leaders, regulators and politicians. Outside the US, he has helped extend the Group’s reach into emerging markets by leading the debate on regulation and positioning the organization at the forefront of sports betting policy initiatives.

On April 18 at Portada Miami, Dougan will explain the value of data protection, the scope of the gaming and gambling industry, and how companies will work to protect brands, players, broadcasters and fans from catastrophic business failures tied to illegal activity in the space.

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

[featured image: Courtesy ESL, Fortune. Streaming of eSports event in Katowice, Poland]

What: Manchester City has released an interactive online game called “Football Striker,” available exclusively through Facebook Messenger.
Why it matters: Many games have grown in popularity as the use of Facebook Messenger increases, leading to Manchester City deciding to enter the arena.

Manchester City has released an interactive online game called “Football Striker”. The game, available exclusively through Facebook Messenger, gives the club a unique vantage point to interact with fans.

Manchester City is using “Football Striker” in a way where fans can play against each other on their Facebook Profiles. Facebook Messenger is an adjacent property of Facebook that houses all direct messages between profiles. Through the application, users can play a variety of games. Many of these games have grown in popularity as the use of Facebook Messenger increases, leading to Manchester City deciding to enter the arena.

Additionally, fans and players of the game can share their high scores directly to their profile. Because the game is housed through Facebook, the connectivity between the game and the social media site is very strong. Manchester City could reap in the benefits of creating a community of users and fans that all enjoy their team and the online game. Additionally, users on the Messenger App can send an invite to another user in almost no time. This makes sharing the game very easy, and will help it gain traction quickly. In the near future, we could see other clubs use their example as a reason to break into the online game arena.

Because the game is housed through Facebook, the connectivity between the game and the social media site is very strong.

Social Media Connectivity 

When I played the game, I found it almost addicting. The goal of the game is to head or kick the ball with a player who is running forward. Once the ball reaches a small zone next to your player, you then hit the blast the ball away. The game is quick, fun, and gets harder as you go. I thought that it was easy to use on both mobile devices and laptops. Anyone can play the game at anytime on their phone with just a few taps. As a result, the game is accessible, easy to use, and helps keep players engaged over time.

In terms of producing the game, Gamee, a social media gaming platform, partnered with Manchester City to release the game earlier this month. Gamee is also going to benefit greatly from the partnership.  They have now helped a Premier League Team enter a new environment in which both parties can success financially in the future. Also, Manchester City is starting to build up a reputation as one of the most technologically savvy Premier League soccer teams. They started working in Facebook Messenger and even virtual reality in 2016. Soon, we could see Manchester City and other Premier League teams marketing their upcoming games that will also be available in VR.

Overall, it is an exciting time for technology in soccer. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will feature improved replay technology to aid in important goal calls. More and more teams are looking into VR investments. This is a great time to be interested in sports technology, and there are no signs it is slowing down anytime soon.

Check out last weekend’s top 25 live sports ratings! Here is a quick look at the live sports programming people watched the most

Which sport drew the biggest audience?

The start of the NBA playoffs made a strong mark on last weekend’s ratings as Basketball was the most watched sport nationwide. The encounter between Oklahoma City vs Houston Rockets was the most watched match, attracting more than five million viewers.

What broadcaster drew the biggest audience?

Turner Network was the most-watched broadcaster. More than 10 million people saw the Oklahoma vs Houston and Chicago vs Boston games.
The second most watched channel was ESPN, which also broadcast some NBA Playoffs.

What else is relevant?

The encounter between MLB teams Yankees vs Cardinals was the most watched non-basketball related game. The game attracted 1.8 million viewers.

Nominate your candidates! Call for Entries: 2018 Golazo International Soccer Award!

ProgramEpisodeNetworkStartEndTotal Viewers (000)Viewers Age 18-49 (000)Day of the game
1NBA PLAYOFFS- ROUND 1 LOKLAHOMA CITY/HOUSTONTURNER NETWORK TELEVISION9:17 PM11:43 PM5.1612.826Sun
2NBA PLAYOFFS- ROUND 1 LCHICAGO/BOSTONTURNER NETWORK TELEVISION6:40 PM9:17 PM5.1382.719Sun
3NBA PLAYOFFS-1ST RD LGRIZZLIES/SPURSESPN8:03 PM10:39 PM3.1561.546Sat
4NBA PLAYOFFS-1ST RD LJAZZ/CLIPPERSESPN10:39 PM1:12 AM2.911.523Sat
5NBA PLAYOFFS-1ST RD LBUCKS/RAPTORSESPN5:30 PM8:03 PM2.5921.294Sat
6NBA PLAYOFFS- ROUND 1 LATLANTA/WASHINGTONTURNER NETWORK TELEVISION1:09 PM3:52 PM2.5811.337Sun
7MLB SUNDAY NIGHT LCARDINALS/YANKEESESPN8:00 PM11:26 PM1.759612Sun
8PREMIER LEAGUE LCHELSEA/MANCHESTER UNITEDNBC SPORTS NETWORK10:57 AM1:09 PM816416Sun
9NHL QTR FINALS LTORONTO/WASHINGTONNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:03 PM11:40 PM759392Sat
10NHL QTR FINALS LPITTSBURGH/COLUMBUSCNBC6:00 PM9:26 PM613317Sun
11NHL QTR FINALS LMONTREAL/NY RANGERSNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:00 PM9:47 PM592235Sun
12NHL QTR FINALS LEDMONTON/SAN JOSENBC SPORTS NETWORK9:47 PM12:31 AM554308Sun
13PBA BOWLING LROTH/HOLMAN PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPESPN1:00 PM3:00 PM511186Sun
14NHL QTR FINALS LCALGARY/ANAHEIMNBC SPORTS NETWORK11:40 PM1:35 AM498262Sat
15MLB REGULAR SEASON LSAN DIEGO PADRES/ATLANTA BRAVESFOX SPORTS 17:45 PM9:34 PM427123Sat
16PREMIER LEAGUE LLIVERPOOL/WEST BROMNBC SPORTS NETWORK8:22 AM10:33 AM415210Sun
17F1 RACING LBAHRAINCNBC10:30 AM12:47 PM413143Sun
18LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LBARCELONA VS. REAL SOCIEDADBEIN SPORT ESPANOL2:34 PM4:47 PM403229Sat
19PREMIER LEAGUE LLEICESTER/CRYSTAL PALACENBC SPORTS NETWORK9:57 AM12:00 PM361169Sat
20LIGA MX LPUEBLA / CRUZ AZULUNIVISION DEPORTES6:37 PM9:04 PM327176Sun
21COLL SOFTBALL REG SSN LMISSOURI/AUBURNESPN3:00 PM5:00 PM277100Sun
22MLB REGULAR SEASON LDETROIT TIGERS/CLEVELAND INDIANSFOX SPORTS 14:00 PM7:45 PM27273Sat
23PREMIER LEAGUE LBOURNEMOUTH/TOTTENHAMNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:23 AM9:27 AM260121Sat
24LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LSPORTING VS. REAL MADRIDBEIN SPORT ESPANOL10:05 AM12:15 PM256149Sat
25LIGA MX LJAGUARES / TIJUANAUNIVISION DEPORTES5:50 PM7:57 PM18896Sat

Source: SportsTVRatings.com (“All data ©Nielsen, provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen”)

In this regular feature, we look at the most watched soccer matches in the U.S. over the past weekend, the networks that came out on top and other relevant insights.

Which match had the largest audience?

The encounter between Premier League Manchester United vs Chelsea, on Sunday, was the most watched soccer game during the weekend. It attracted an audience of 816,000 viewers.

Which broadcaster came out on top?

English Premier League rights holder NBC Sports Network was the most tuned in match during the weekend with close to 1.8 million total viewers.

What else is relevant?

The match played between LigaMX Puebla vs Cruz Azul, was more watched than Premier League Tottenham vs Bournemouth. The game came on number five, with 327,000 viewers.

Nominate your candidates! Call for Entries: 2018 Golazo International Soccer Award!

ProgramEpisodeNetworkStartEndTotal Viewers (000)Viewers Age 18-49 (000)Day of the game
1PREMIER LEAGUE LCHELSEA/MANCHESTER UNITEDNBC SPORTS NETWORK10:57 AM1:09 PM816416Sun
2PREMIER LEAGUE LLIVERPOOL/WEST BROMNBC SPORTS NETWORK8:22 AM10:33 AM415210Sun
3LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LBARCELONA VS. REAL SOCIEDADBEIN SPORT ESPANOL2:34 PM4:47 PM403229Sat
4PREMIER LEAGUE LLEICESTER/CRYSTAL PALACENBC SPORTS NETWORK9:57 AM12:00 PM361169Sat
5LIGA MX LPUEBLA / CRUZ AZULUNIVISION DEPORTES6:37 PM9:04 PM327176Sun
6PREMIER LEAGUE LBOURNEMOUTH/TOTTENHAMNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:23 AM9:27 AM260121Sat
7LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LSPORTING VS. REAL MADRIDBEIN SPORT ESPANOL10:05 AM12:15 PM256149Sat
8LIGA MX LJAGUARES / TIJUANAUNIVISION DEPORTES5:50 PM7:57 PM18896Sat
9LALIGA SANTANDER-LATLETICO MADRID VS. OSASUNABEIN SPORT ESPANOL12:19 PM2:29 PM14661Sat
10LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LBARCELONA VS. REAL SOCIEDADBEIN SPORT2:35 PM4:45 PM13981Sat

Source: SportsTVRatings.com (“All data ©Nielsen, provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen”)

In this regular feature we look at the most watched soccer matches over the past weekend, the networks that came out on top and other relevant insights.

Which match had the largest audience?

Last weekend the English Premier League came in first on our list, thanks to the match played between Arsenal and Liverpool, which drew 614,000 viewers on Saturday (see table below).

Which broadcaster came out on top?

Thanks to the fact that it holds the rights to the English Premier League matches, NBC Sports Network was the most-watched network with more than 2.1 million viewers.

BeInSports Español came second with 546,000 viewers thanks to its coverage of the Spanish Liga Santanter.

What else is relevant?

The MLS managed to make it into the top ten twice, once with the Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC match, and a second time with Atlanta United vs the New York Red Bulls. Between both matches, the league drew 786,000 viewers.

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#ProgramEpisodeNetworkStartEndTotal Viewers (000)Viewers Age 18-49 (000)
1PREMIER LEAGUE LARSENAL/LIVERPOOLNBC SPORTS NETWORK12:27 p.m.2:32 p.m.614348
2LIGA MX LCRUZ AZUL / JAGUARESUNIVISION DEPORTES6:03 p.m.8:00 p.m.442260
3PREMIER LEAGUE LHULL/LEICESTERNBC SPORTS NETWORK9:57 a.m.11:58 a.m.438231
4PREMIER LEAGUE LMANCHESTER CITY/SUNDERLANDNBC SPORTS NETWORK10:57 a.m.12:59 p.m.412179
5MLS REGULAR SEASON LORLANDO CITY SC/NEW YORK CITY FCESPN5:00 p.m.7:32 p.m.411210
6MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER LATLANTA UNITED/NEW YORK RED BULLSFOX SPORTS 17:30 p.m.10:00 p.m.375212
7PREMIER LEAGUE LEVERTON/TOTTENHAMNBC SPORTS NETWORK8:23 a.m.10:27 a.m.363173
8LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LBARCELONA VS. CELTABEIN SPORT ESPANOL2:35 p.m.4:48 p.m.351181
9PREMIER LEAGUE LBOURNEMOUTH/MANCHESTER UNITEDNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:24 a.m.9:31 a.m.329180
10LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LEIBAR VS. REAL MADRIDBEIN SPORT ESPANOL10:05 a.m.12:12 p.m.195103

Source: SportsTVRatings.com (“All data ©Nielsen, provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen”)

What: Follow the weekend’s ratings through the live sports top 25 ranking! A quick look at what people watched over the last weekend. (A new regular weekly feature!)

Which sport won?

There is no doubt that basketball is among the most beloved sports in the U.S. Proof of this is the number live sports event of last weekend: the college game between Florida State and Notre Dame. Broadcasted by ESPN, 1.3 million viewers turned on their TV on Saturday to watch the game (check out table below).

What broadcaster won?

ESPN (including ESPNU and ESPN2) was the most watched broadcaster. During the weekend the network broadcast all college regular season games, which explains why it became the most tuned in network group.

Out of 13.7 million who watched the Top 25 live sports events last weekend, 10.5 million watched ESPN.

The NBC Sports Network was in second place, through the broadcast of the Premier League matches, (check out our Top 10 most viewed soccer matches feature). Over the weekend,  it had two million viewers, significantly less than ESPN.

What else is relevant?

Surprisingly, the only NHL game broadcast over the weekend, on Sunday, managed to make it into the list of top 10 most watched live sport events. Once again, we can’t forget hockey’s popularity in the U.S.

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#ProgramEpisodeNetworkStartEndTotal Viewers (000)Viewers Age 18-49 (000)Day of the game
1COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LFLORIDA STATE/NOTRE DAMEESPN6:07 p.m.8:04 p.m.1,341572Sat
2COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LGONZAGA/ST MARYS (CA)ESPN8:16 p.m.10:22 p.m.1,305397Sat
3COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LOHIO STATE/MARYLANDESPN4:05 p.m.6:07 p.m.1,106477Sat
4COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LKANSAS ST/WEST VIRGINIAESPN12:00 p.m.2:19 p.m.939421Sat
5COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LKANSAS STATE/TEXASESPN2:19 p.m.4:05 p.m.926383Sat
6UFC PPV PRELIMS L208:HOLM/DE RANDAMIEFOX SPORTS 18:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.874420Sat
7COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LVIRGINIA/VIRGINIA TECHESPNU6:30 p.m.9:08 p.m.536161Sun
8COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LLOUISVILLE/MIAMIESPN22:09 p.m.4:09 p.m.503187Sat
9COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LCINCINNATI/SMUESPN4:00 p.m.5:58 p.m.499211Sun
10NHL REGULAR SEASON LMONTREAL/BOSTONNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:32 p.m.10:21 p.m.495198Sun
11PREMIER LEAGUE LWATFORD/MANCHESTER UNITEDNBC SPORTS NETWORK9:57 a.m.11:57 a.m.481292Sat
12COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LTEXAS/OKLAHOMA STESPN24:09 p.m.6:04 p.m.432124Sat
13PREMIER LEAGUE LLEICESTER CITY/SWANSEANBC SPORTS NETWORK10:56 a.m.1:05 p.m.409200Sun
14PREMIER LEAGUE LCHELSEA/BURNLEYNBC SPORTS NETWORK8:23 a.m.10:27 a.m.391196Sun
15COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LCALIFORNIA/ARIZONAESPN210:11 p.m.12:18 a.m.387141Sat
16LIGA MXSANTOS / CRUZ AZULUNIVISION DEPORTES6:32 p.m.9:00 p.m.373228Sun
17LALIGA SANTANDER MRQ-LOSASUNA VS. REAL MADRIDBEIN SPORT ESPANOL2:35 p.m.4:47 p.m.341201Sat
18COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LOKLAHOMA / IOWA STESPN26:04 p.m.8:04 p.m.31991Sat
19NBA REGULAR SEASON LDETROIT/TORONTONBA-TV6:00 p.m.8:28 p.m.313142Sun
20LIGA MX LQUERETARO / LEONUNIVISION DEPORTES5:51 p.m.7:56 p.m.308201Sat
21MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCR DARLINGTONFOX SPORTS 110:00 p.m.1:00 a.m.306151Sat
22COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LGAINESVILLE/TEXAS A&MESPN212:00 p.m.2:09 p.m.300112Sat
23COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LWASHINGTON ST/COLORADOESPNU9:08 p.m.10:30 p.m.299125Sun
24COLLEGE BKBL REG SSN LSOUTH CAROLINA/MISSISSIPPI STATEESPN28:04 p.m.10:11 p.m.28282Sat
25PREMIER LEAGUE LHULL CITY/ARSENALNBC SPORTS NETWORK7:24 a.m.9:27 a.m.279132Sat

Source: SportsTVRatings.com (“All data ©Nielsen, provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen”)