Un nouveau diffuseur plein d’espoir pour la MLS

La Major League Soccer, la ligue de football aux Etats-Unis, vient d’annoncer le nouveau diffuseur du championnat, en la personne de NBC.

NBC Sports NetworkA partir de mars 2012, la MLS sera donc diffusé sur les chaînes du groupe NBC, plus précisément 2 matchs de saison régulière, 2 matchs de play-off et 2 matchs de l’équipe nationale seront diffusés sur NBC Sports, le reste, à savoir 38 matchs de saison régulière et 3 matchs de play-off, sera retransmis sur NBC Sports Network (actuellement appelé Versus). Pour obtenir les droits TV, NBC a du débourser environ 10 millions de dollars par an. Une somme très inférieure aux droits TV de la Ligue 1 mais ce contrat a des implications plus grandes pour la MLS et NBC.

La MLS était actuellement diffusée sur Fox Sports (NDLR: chaque club avait aussi le droit de contractualiser avec des chaînes locales), qui avait acquis les droits en 2003 pour une somme avoisinant les 6 millions de dollars par an, renouvelable chaque saison. Même si Fox Sports « faisait le boulot », la force de frappe qu’offrait la NBC a convaincu les dirigeants de la MLS. En passant sur NBC, la MLS peut potentiellement doubler son audience puisque ce sont près de 80 millions de foyers américains qui reçoivent NBC et la chaîne Versus (renommé NBC Sports Network en janvier prochain) contre les 39 millions de foyers Fox Sports. De plus, avoir un groupe comme NBC à ses côtés signifie aussi la possibilité de toucher une population encore plus large grâce au digital.

Avec la NBC, la MLS renforce donc son contingent de diffuseurs composé d’ESPN et d’Univision. En signant pour 3 ans avec NBC, la MLS aligne tous ses contrats et se fixe comme échéance 2014 pour créer sa propre chaine voire rentrer dans une négociation exclusive avec un seul et unique diffuseur.

Mais cela n’a pas l’air de faire peur à NBC. En effet, le groupe dirigé par Mark Lazarus diffuse aussi près de 90 matchs de la NHL et est le diffuseur des Jeux Olympiques et de la Coupe du Monde. L’acquisition des droits TV de la MLS permet donc à NBC de proposer un autre programme d’importance à son public fan de sport et donc de sortir de cette dépendance aux gros événements. De plus comme confirmé par Jon Miller, responsable des programmes de NBC Sports, les budgets marketing et promotion devraient être au rendez-vous, transformant le match de foot en un vrai blockbuster! Dernier argument de poids, avec l’actuel lock-out en NBA qui pourrait durer un bon moment, NBC se positionne et cherche à récupérer le public mécontent avec ce nouveau produit d’appel. Tout laisse donc penser que la NBC est parti pour un bon bout de temps avec la MLS, au plus grand bonheur des fans de football.

Avec la Coupe du Monde féminine de la FIFA durant laquelle les Etats-Unis ont atteint la finale et l’arrivée de Jurgen Klinsmann comme nouveau coach de l’équipe nationale, le « soccer » semble être rentrer dans une nouvelle ère.

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