ESPN Hype Machine & The World Cup

Normally I abhor the routine beating of a stable of dead horses by ESPN on whatever topic they choose. However, the run-up to the World Cup might be an exception if the World Wide Leader uses the machine to not just promote programming, but to educate people on the game. Check out the ESPN’s latest WC promo, Fan Feast: World Cup Soccer, with a (marginally) tolerable Kenny Mayne.

(If you can’t access the YouTube version, view Fan Feast: World Cup Soccer at


One topic for a future discussion and poll — “Soccer” or “Football?” My quick take: Words matter and Americans will not embrace they idea of calling it “football” with the NFL being the resident goliath of American sports. Let’s stick with “soccer” and eliminate the time wasted by sportscasters making lame jokes about “football.” Who cares if it is an American word.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/07/22 at 9:07 AM

    Once again you beat me to a post that I wanted to write. I’m not going to drag family issues into this blog I promised.

    As someone working in the media industry who worked at ABC and NBC, I have a few comments:

    – The Irish will love it if we commandeer the word soccer. Mention “football” without a “gaelic” in front of it in Cork, Ireland and you’ll be sure to get a highly quizzical look.

    – I’m glad that ESPN is promoting soccer — though it is highly self serving. Perhaps this is fodder for another post, but the following things are occurring in national and global sports broadcasting:

    x Major leagues (the NBA, the NFL) are working hard to create their own networks and identities to add in media and advertising revenue to their total bucket of revenue

    x Thus, the price of broadcasting these games are going up

    x Poker, quite a find for ESPN just a few years ago, is plateauing in viewership with increased legal scrutiny, thus ESPN needs a need workhorse

    x Which of course led to the recent EPL deal.

    ESPN’s growth needs to come both globally and in new markets (not unlike many companies) and soccer is clearly their best avenue to doing this.

    As an aside, I’ve notice now that ESPN has begun to start including “Soccer” in their topic ticker on the bottom of their broadcasts. The content is news as well as scores. That is a positive as well.

    A further post from me in the next week on how American fan support can help push to expand the plate of televised games.

    Good post.


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