SBJ/September 24-30, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Plugged In: David Nathanson

The general manager and executive vice president of Fox Soccer is preparing his network for coverage of the Women’s World Cup in 2015 and the World Cup in both 2018 and 2022. At the same time, he’s overseeing the development of current programming that includes the new original series “Being: Liverpool” and the redesign of the nightly show “Fox Soccer News.”

Photo: COURTESY OF FOX SOCCER
The media environment changes so rapidly that it’s hard to know the impact of viewing trends in 2022. No one produces big events better than Fox Sports, and there is no bigger global sports event than the FIFA World Cup. Starting with the 2015 Women’s World Cup, audiences can expect the viewing experience bar to be raised with each tournament.


The most meaningful sign of growth of soccer in the U.S.:
For me, it’s ratings, but there are so many other factors to consider: how widely soccer is covered across different networks, ad dollars, MLS ticket sales, club merchandise sales, even the popularity of games like EA’s “FIFA 12” relative to other sports video games.
 
On women’s soccer in the U.S.: The U.S. women’s game has succeeded; you just have to look at the rating trends of the last Women’s World Cup or Olympics to see that. We believe in the potential for a strong women’s soccer league in the U.S.

About BeIN Sport and its arrival as a player in soccer broadcasting: Competition is healthy, as long as the viewer benefits in the end. Increased competition in the past three years is a testament to the value and growth potential of the sport here in the U.S.

Sports business story he’s following closely: YouTube’s recent acquisition of select sports content.
 
What he hears from fans: People want to see the best matches live, in HD, and they want to get insight from our experts that they won’t find anywhere else. … We focus on the sport 24/7, so we are in a better position to fill those needs than most.

A memorable encounter: I just went on a fly-fishing trip of a lifetime with my dad and brother to British Columbia, to Nimmo Bay, where you take helicopters to each fishing location. We caught lots of salmon and got chased by a grizzly bear, so I’d call that a successful fishing adventure.

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