SBD/February 6, 2013/Media

beIN Sport Looks To Overcome Small Reach, Names TBWA\Chiat\Day To Help Define Brand

Al Jazeera-owned beIN Sport's initial reach and programming slate “pale compared to giants like ESPN and NBC Sports Network,” but the “newbie is betting that smart marketing can help it compete,” according to Andrew McMains of ADWEEK. beIN has hired TBWA\Chiat\Day, N.Y., “to create ads in the U.S.” The ad agency’s challenge is “formidable: create a brand identity in a crowded field of national sports nets.” Beyond that core branding challenge, beIN also has “a significant disadvantage in reach.” ESPN has distribution to more than 98 million U.S. homes, followed by Golf Channel with 84 million and NBC Sports Network with 78 million. When Fox Sports 1 launches later this year, "it will likely become the new No. 2.” A source estimated that beIN, which is not tracked by Nielsen, reaches “no more than 10 million homes.” Nomura Equity Research analyst Michael Nathanson said that the “reach disparity is beIN’s greatest challenge.” Another “potential obstacle” for beIN is “soccer saturation.” While the growing U.S. Hispanic population has “fueled demand for soccer on TV, that demand already is served by sports nets and broadcasters like Telemundo, Univision and Fox Soccer Channel” (ADWEEK.com, 2/5). In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote for today's U.S.-Honduras match, the "only way Americans can watch their national soccer team play a big World Cup qualifier is on beIN Sport." Bondy: "Good luck finding it. That’s one reason I wanted to cover this match. It’s a throwback to a time when readers hadn’t watched the event and relied on sportswriters to describe the games. I can offer any absurd opinion and you can’t argue" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 2/5).

NATIONAL ANTHEM: In N.Y., Jack Bell reported a "new digital magazine, Anthem, an app initially for the iPhone and iPad with an Android version in the works, will be 'published' before each men’s and women’s national team game, with a special issue planned for the Gold Cup this summer." U.S. Soccer said that the first issue, available for today's game, is "free, while future issues will carry a nominal fee" (NYTIMES.com, 2/5).
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