Today the Fort Lauderdale Strikers joined the ranks of NASL teams with local television deals.
See the team’s announcement here - http://www.strikers.com/news/2015/07/21/strikers-new-television-home-sfl-tv
If you are keeping track, this means that every NASL team has a local television deal - that's right, 100% percent of teams in NASL can be seen on tv in their local markets. Quick, name the last time a second division league in the US could say that! - I’m not even going to mention that one team has a national tv deal, that would be too much to accept. (But its true!)
Back to the details, the televised games will begin on August 2, 2015, when the Strikers are in NYC to play the Cosmos. Cosmos making history again! You’re welcome Fort Lauderdale Strikers fans! But seriously, this is a nice job by the new Strikers’ ownership group. It should help the team on the short term financial side by introducing a new revenue stream for the team, and even more importantly, in the long-term being televised locally should get the brand out to more potential fans in their market. Really a great job by the team. (I’m hesitant to mention that this won’t come into effect in time for the fans in Fort Lauderdale to see the next match which is at Tampa Bay against the Rowdies and the potential debut of Freddy Adu. UPDATE – that game is still on ESPN3!)
Not only is this great news for the Strikers' organization and its fans, but it is also an interesting development in the back drop of the FIFA scandal and Senate hearings concerning CONCACAF and the USSF. The interesting part arises because of all the reports on the internet about USSF packaging USMNT games with MLS games for sale to television companies – if memory serves this began in 2006. This is something that I wasn’t aware of as a USMNT fan, and frankly wouldn’t have cared at the time anyway. Now, there are many criticisms of this arrangement one can look into if they want to complain about the USSF-MLS relationship. But the importance of this tv deal is more important than a bland criticism, it is an observation about growth and development.
The truly interesting thing about this announcement is not to criticize, but that it shows us the growth of soccer in the United States, and the NASL in particular. The important thing is the level of development the second division has seen in such a short time – from virtually nonexistent to your living room. In less than ten years we have moved from a first division that needed USSF help to get a national tv contract to a second division league that earned a national television contract and 11 local television deals without assistance from anyone outside of its own organization and teams. That is phenomenal progress!
So again, congratulations Strikers! Congratulations NASL! And most importantly, congratulations soccer in the United States!
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts. Thanks in advance.