USSF AND IMG AIM TO TARGET CHILDREN IN NEW PARTNERSHIP
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).