Following yesterday’s announcement of a new partnership with beIN Sports, the NASL announced that it would be re-upping its streaming agreement with ESPN3 as well as making a historic return to CBS in a deal with CBS Sports Network.
The deal with ESPN3 calls for over 100 matches to be streamed on the platform, starting with two games this Saturday: Carolina RailHawks vs Minnesota United at 3 pm at WakeMed Park and Rayo OKC vs FC Edmonton at Miller Park at 8 pm. The deal also calls for a minimum of three games to be carried per week. In Canada, viewers will be able to view games through the NASL site. Commissioner Bill Peterson made a statement about what streaming means to the league fan base.
“The live streaming of our matches continues to grow in importance for our supporters,” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson said. “We have a great relationship with ESPN, and ESPN3 has been a viewing hub for our fans over the last two years. It gives them an opportunity to watch NASL matches that aren’t available in our linear packages, and it allows them to enjoy those matches on a variety of devices.”
In addition, the NASL also announced a 12-game deal with CBS Sports Network, starting July 2nd with Rayo OKC hosting FC Edmonton at 7pm. The deal also holds historic significance since CBS was one of the main broadcasters of NASL games during the 1970s, last broadcasting the 1976 Soccer Bowl between the Toronto Metros-Croatia and Minnesota Kicks. CBS Sports Network, primarily the home of college sports, is available in roughly 96 million homes in the United States. The deal will be TV only and will not include any streaming service.
“The NASL returning to the CBS family is an incredible story for everyone who enjoys the great game of soccer in North America,” said Peterson on the deal. “The great soccer history and legacy of the NASL was first captured on CBS, and now decades later, we have partnered with CBS Sports Network to write a new chapter together.”
It remains to be seen how exactly these three deals will fit together, but one thing is for certain: the reach of the NASL has grown exponentially bigger in the previous week. It’s also extremely exciting that the NASL will get a national audience with CBSSN, as opposed to other deals not being so widely available to the viewing public.
One last thing to note, however, is that the exclusivity of the Cosmos with One World Sports has left them out of every deal made this week, even for away games. Not having games at Shuart available to other networks is understandable, but it’s slightly odd to see the absence of any Cosmos away games in these deals.
This is great for the league. They just keep growing and growing in exposure and this is all great for NASL.
However, schedules indicate that the New York Cosmos will not be on any of these featured matches and I imagine that has to do with the One World Sports business.
Now, I know the importance a TV channel plays in the day to day of a sports team. In New York alone you see what YES and SNY did for the businesses of our baseball teams, however, unlike those teams, the Cosmos still have a long way to go before gaining relevance in this market.
I am not sure if you noticed but fans are not exactly sleeping in tents to get into matches. In fact, many casual soccer fans still are not aware that the Cosmos are back.
Are we running a soccer team or a sports network? Being on beIN and CBS would have been a nice jolt of exposure at home for the Cosmos in a city where they are clearly way behind the MLS teams and One World Sports still is not on Time Warner Cable or DirectTV, which are a large number of eyeballs in this city. Being on FIOS is a big hit but there are still plenty of neighborhoods where FIOS TV is not available.
We reached out for a statement from the club on why they will not be featured on CBS or BEIN but have yet to receive a response.