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USSF AND IMG AIM TO TARGET CHILDREN IN NEW PARTNERSHIP
Published April 30, 1998
In its new partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, IMG will distribute the "friendly" games that men's and women's USSF teams play against other countries between World Cup matches, and no World Cup or MLS games will be included, according to Steve Donohue of ELECTRONIC MEDIA. In discussing the deal, IMG Senior Exec VP Bob Cain said, "It's hard to think that it (soccer) will do anything but keep growing. The dividend will start paying years from now." As part of the agreement, IMG will distribute at least 10 hours of children's soccer programming, with Nickelodeon as a "potential cable carrier." IMG hopes to "build the sport by attracting younger demographics." ESPN VP/Programming Steve Risser said that the net, which has a deal with the USSF that expires this year, sees soccer as a "growth sport," but "isn't ready to commit to buying more than 14 games each year." IMG is "targeting" Lifetime as a "solid candidate" to air women's games. ESPN's Risser said that another challenge is scheduling, as the USSF schedules its games 60 days in advance, while ESPN "tries to program" its schedule 90 days in advance (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/27).