Last weekend, on August 17, NBC launched its new coverage of the English Premier League, after paying $250 million for the television rights to every soccer match played in the EPL over the next three years. Fox had been paying a third of that price to air a much smaller slate of games than NBC will. NBC’s execs seemed to have made a big gamble, betting that flooding the American market with English soccer would draw casual viewers in, boost NBC’s ratings, and increase the sport’s exposure in the U.S. The reward was the highest overnight rating in U.S. history for a Premier League season opener.
"Highest rating ever" may sound pretty impressive, and with last week’s talk about record viewing numbers, making history, and “new milestones,” you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a new era for soccer and America. Indeed, some commentators expect this new coverage to send it hurtling past America’s big four sports — football, basketball, baseball and hockey — to claim the top perch. Brian Ross at Huffington Post predicts that within 10 years “the NFL will be the No. 2 league in American sports.”
Don’t start trading in your Peyton Manning jerseys for Wayne Rooney ones yet, though.
Read more. [Image: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis]
Unlike masculinity, multiple forms of femininity are seen as acceptable by parents and by children, so it’s not surprising that different gender scripts emerged for each of the three activities. The names of these different gender scripts—“graceful,” “aggressive,” and “pink”—all came from language used by parents of girls in interviews. They help us understand how parents choose among different activities for their daughters.
Read more. [Image: Famous_Amos/Flickr]
The game has seen great players come and gobut usually one or two at a time. Rarely have so many top talents, including Brazil’s hottest newcomer, achieved so much at once.
ESPN’s annual money survey of 278 teams across around the world found that we pay wages equal to $15.7 billion to the 7,925 athletes in 14 sports leagues in ten countries.
Of the 15 teams with the highest average salary, eight were European football (ahem, soccer) clubs. In the graph below, they are outlined in red. Baseball teams, led by the New York Yankees, took three of the top 15 spots, and they are outlined in green. NBA teams, led by the Los Angeles Lakers, snagged the last four spots. They are in solid blue.
One angle into this fun study is the “economics of superstars.” Real Madrid isn’t just a nice group of boys from the larger Madrid metro playing against their friends from around Spain. It’s an international team, comprised of international superstars, with a rabid international audience. That the top soccer teams from Europe have a worldwide audience means they have a worldwide revenue base, especially from TV deals and licensing. That’s why Barcelona can pay $217,014,221 a year to field their team, making them the most expensive sports team in the world. And it’s why the NFL and NBA can afford ever-rising salaries. If sports money comes down to audience, more televisions and internet connections around the world means the rights to broadcast the world’s most popular teams are getting ever-more lucrative.