World's Best Soccer Player Comes To The U.S.: TV Networks - Will Marketers Kick Better?

Sports on TV continue to score.

Viewership from less-than-high profile sports franchises on TV -- not with any of initials NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB -- continue to see an upswing in rights fees that TV networks will need to endure in the coming months and period.

Will more advertising take the hint?

Major League Soccer (MLS) may see a major bump now that Lionel Messi -- still a big star and long lauded as perhaps the world's best soccer/European football player -- has inked a deal with the league's Inter Miami team. 

Messi went to the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this past year after his long decade-plus career at Barcelona. 

One major hint of what a new deal will mean actually came from a Messi bid from Saudi Arabia. One report pegged that country's offer at an eye-opening, fantasy-like -- and totally unconfirmed $400 million.... a year!  



Considering how that country tosses around $100 multimillion-dollar contracts to the U.S. and other golf pros via LIV Golf, one can believe that -- even discounting these reports to a large degree (say a $100 million-per-year deal) -- big money is doing the talking. The Saudi investment wealth fund has already invested more than $7 billion in U.S. stocks. 

In other earlier news, didn't the Kushners-- Jared and Ivanka -- depart their White House service with a $2 billion check from the Saudi Crown Prince? The money flows.

We are pretty sure the Miami team didn't strike anywhere near a $400 million-per year deal -- nor $200 million -- for Messi. His package reportedly has a piece of Apple TV+ share of MLS streaming revenues, and a ownership stake in the club.

By comparison, top U.S. athletes, at best, get paid around $50 million a year -- for major revenue-producing sports like NFL and NBA. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens); Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles; and Aaron Rodgers (New York Jets) are in this club.

For all participants, the important thing is that many sports will exist on TV as long as live, linear TV -- even if all entertainment stuff goes away -- goes to premium streaming sites.

A year ago, Apple TV+ agreed to a $2.5 billion, 10-year deal. This year Fox Sports signed a reported much more modest four-year deal to carry MLS games, ending a run of ESPN and ABC.

Was Fox Sports thinking about the long term -- or perhaps another European soccer/football star (beyond David Beckham -- the biggest since the league started -- might be moving to the league? 

Here's what an article in World Soccer Talk concluded the Fox deal in February of this year:  “It's quite possible that Fox Sports may be an unintended benefactor of the new deal particularly if MLS signs someone such as Lionel Messi. That one signing alone would result in a major TV ratings bonanza.”

And there you go. GOAL!!!!

2 comments about "World's Best Soccer Player Comes To The U.S.: TV Networks - Will Marketers Kick Better?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Vic Piano from Mizlou Television Network, Inc., June 9, 2023 at 5:09 p.m.

    I hope the MLS has better luck than the NASL had with signing European, etc. Soccer players. We, Mizlou Television, televised New York Cosmos Soccer for three years in the late '70's. The team members included Edson Arantes Do Nascimento aka Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia among other top players. Unfortunatly, Soccer has never developed a substancial fan base in the U.S. I wish them well.

    Vic Piano
    Mizlou Television Network, Inc.

  2. Ben B from Retired, June 9, 2023 at 10:53 p.m.

    David Beckham didn't move the needle for MLS when he played for the LA Galaxy in the mid-2000s and the media thought that was going to bring ratings for MLS it didn't. Maybe it does for Messi it will have a little bump, not a big bump in my opinion. Messi is way better than David Beckham who was overrated EPL is the best when it comes to soccer. Ever since COVID I have watched a little more soccer I get into The World Cup Mens & USA ladies only. Not much a fan of MLS maybe if Detroit had an MLS team I'd watch it a bit more.  

Next story loading loading..