media brands

Discovery's Long History with Soccer Leads to English Premier League

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2015 12:18 PM

Barclays English Premier League 2014 2015

TV execs are finding more and more to love about live sports, one of the last bastions of televsion where viewers actually tune in when the event is taking place. Because of that, consumer can’t exactly skip over the commercials, a fact that has led more ad dollars to be earmarked for sports than ever before.

Discovery Communications Inc. (DCI) would like a bigger piece of that pie and is apparently willing to pay big bucks for it. The parent company of Discovery Channel and a multitude of other media brands is ready to go after one of the biggest fish in the live-sports pond: the English Premier League.

According to Bloomberg, Discovery CEO Davis Zaslav is in London this week to meet with Premier League execs as companies prepare to make bids for the league’s broadcasting rights early next month. The last time around in 2012, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky and BT Group promised to dole out $4.5 billion for a three-year deal. The news was welcomed by investors, who clearly welcome a little more grass-kicking from the brand famed for educational, non-fiction programming.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Gunner Do It: Inside Puma's Record-Breaking Arsenal Football Club Deal

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2014 07:36 PM

Puma has made a major move, signing a five-year "kit" deal with English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal, dealing a major blow to 20-year partner Nike.

The move is all part of a brand renewal strategy under new Puma CEO Bjoern Gulden that aims to re-establish the brand in the sports apparel market, which has taken a backseat to its lifestyle brand in recent years. 

The new $249 million deal is the largest ever for "the Gunners," as the legendary football club is calld by fans, and Puma, and drops the apparel-maker's logo right back into the spotlight on the backs (and rear-ends and cleats) of one of the league's hottest clubs, Sports Business Daily notes.

Arsenal’s previously struck a sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines in 2012 for five years and $248 million.

In addition, Puma has gained the rights to produce other Arsenal-related merchandise. Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger, who is also slated to sign a new contract with the club, will be given a large pool of cash to recruit free agents.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid: ManU Reels as Rival Wheels and Deals

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2013 12:09 PM

English Premier League champs Manchester United once again found the club tied to some unsavory folks. In an email to fans about its young players with the subject line “New Order,” the team’s initials were designed in such a way that the design resembled the Nazi swastika.

As an uproar ensued, ManU was forced to quickly apologize on Saturday for the unintended affront in its weekly email. "The creative is completely inappropriate,” the club’s head of media, David Sternberg, commented to The Guardian. “We apologise unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action."

While some outraged fans let the team have it on Twitter, others didn’t see the swastika image in the revised logo and wondered why ManU had bothered to issue an apology. 

While evidently still unclear how the creative was designed and approved, the team may be a little sensitive to the issue since the publication of Bill Buford’s 1990 book, Among the Thugs, chronicled the misadventures of ManU fans, some of whom were attached to the far-right, whites-only political party, the National Front.Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Fox Builds Out Soccer Coverage Ahead of World Cup Broadcast

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2013 12:49 PM

When Major League Soccer got underway in the US back in 1996, there was a lot of doubt that Americans wouldn't care enough about soccer to watch it on TV or attend games. While the league has yet to reach popularity levels of the 'big four,' it seems that soccer may have finally hit its stride in America.

Nowadays, you can overhear sports fans discussing the roster of the US men's national team as they prepare for next summer's World Cup in Brazil, and catch plenty of matches on the big screens in sports bars across the nation. After all, Fox Sports shelled out $425 million just to broadcast the Cup next summer in the US alone, and this fall, NBC Sports began broadcasting English Premier League games to much fanfare.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

NBC's Successful Soccer Debut Gets a Boost from SNL Funnyman

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 21, 2013 11:51 AM

American television broadcasters have long had a difficult time selling US viewers on watching soccer. But in its opening weekend after striking a three-year, $250 million deal with the English Premier League, its looks like NBC is well on its way to making soccer a 'thing' in the US after all. 

More than 3.4 million Americans tuned in to the seven Premier League games that were broadcast this past Saturday and Sunday on NBC, NBC Sports Network, and Mun2. That's a 52 percent increase from the number of viewers that tuned in for five games that were broadcast last year on ESPN and Fox Soccer, according to AdAge. In addition, more than 5.7 million minutes of Premier League action was streamed, Zap2It reports.

The debut weekend featured the most-watched opening-day EPL match in US broadcasting history, Manchester United vs. Swansea, with 792,000 viewers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Al Jazeera, Facebook and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2013 09:16 AM

In the News

Amazon and Conde Nast create new "all-access" magazine subscriptions across platforms.

Al Jazeera sues AT&T for dropping US channel and makes limited US debut.

Facebook leads project to connect whole world through the internet.

Apple loses iPad market share in China to Samsung and plans to launch iTunes Radio in September with big advertisers.

BMW is making customers wait for repairs due to global supply-chain hiccups.

Barnes & Noble abandons plans to split company.

Bob Evans opens Express prototype.

CBS turns to its stars in battle with Time Warner Cable.

Coca-Cola sees "very positive" prospects in Indonesia.

Cummins diesel deal with Nissan for Titan could vex Chrysler's Ram truck.

Diageo fights off latest legal challenge to its Parrot Bay cocktails.Continue reading...

sporting brands

ManU in the Money: Manchester United Flexing Its Financial Muscle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 15, 2012 01:04 PM

It's nice to be the world's most popular soccer team.

Footie powerhouse Manchester United, which is currently undefeated and in first place in both the English Premier League and its Champions League grouping, is starting to really flex its financial muscle to score a premium for its brand. ManU listed itself on the New York Stock Exchange back in August and it has been extremely busy in its first quarter. The team’s massive debt load dropped 18% down to $570 million, the AP reports. ManU also had a big influx of cash recently from an agreement with Comcast to broadcast all of its games in the United States over the next three seasons for $250 million, which is much better than the deal worth $80 million for three years that the team just had with Fox, which reaches fewer American homes than Comcast.

The club signed 10 new sponsorships during the quarter, according to One new deal was with the largest telecommunications company in Azerbaijan, Bakcell, which will allow more than 2.5 million consumers to watch ManchesterUnitedTV there during the next three years. And if you’re looking for the team’s official soft drink in Japan, look no further than fruit and veggie drink specialist Kagome. The most notable deal, though, was a pre-IPO arrangement with General Motors, which agreed to pay $559 million to have Chevrolet’s logo grace the front of the team’s jerseys.

The team also just broke up with a sponsor, DHL, which had agreed to pay $65 million to place its logo on the team’s practice jerseys. Now its management team is eager to wring more cash from uniform supplier (home and away) Nike, which gets to push its swoosh next to jersey sponsor AON as part of a 13-year, £303m ($480.3 million) contract with ManU that ends in 2015. That’s a measly $36.9 million a year!Continue reading...

sporting brands

English Premier League Football Cashes in on Indian Interest

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 7, 2011 02:02 PM

The quadrennial FIFA men’s World Cup always has a huge international draw on television, but the numbers watching in India are growing. It is estimated that in the first two days of last year’s Cup, 20 million people watched in India, a 35% increase from 2006, according to the Times of India. Before the Cup ended, the paper notes, 287 people in India had watched the event.

Those kinds of numbers have some thinking that India “will become the largest football-consuming nation in the world,” the paper notes. Those kinds of numbers and that kind of interest, of course, have businesses looking to capitalize. The Times reports that “several English football clubs are entering into licensing arrangements with Indian partners to deliver a complete football lifestyle experience.”

Manchester United, the Premier League’s version of the New York Yankees with the most league titles (19) and a steady stream of big-name players, has been the most aggressive in India, partnering with Future Group-owned Indus League Clothing to create “exclusive ManU branded stores” that’ll carry everything from jerseys and refrigerator magnets to slippers for the more refined fans.Continue reading...

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