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Bulls of the week
The incremental buzz around Lionel Messi playing in North America continues to be palpable for MLS and its broadcast and corporate partners, not to mention Adidas, which is selling a lot of Inter Miami CF jerseys.
David Beckham’s Cheshire Cat-like grin is growing all the time as brand analysts and franchise valuators are projecting that Inter Miami will be worth north of US$1.5 billion within three years; not bad for a franchise gifted to Beckham for US$25 million as part of his MLS deal almost 15 years ago. Inter Miami is currently valued at more than US$600 million.
The CFL is enjoying a bull market for TV ratings, growing by 28 per cent since the first week of the season.
Last weekend’s showdown between the B.C. Lions and the Montreal Alouettes was the most-watched CFL regular-season game since before COVID-19, engaging more than 700,000 Canadian viewers (including average national audience numbers of 498,000 on TSN in English and 215,000 on RDS in French).
Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays will average north of 800,000 viewers for its weekend road games against the Seattle Mariners, their 1977 expansion cousins. Jays fans will also buy-up big swaths of seats at T-Mobile Park, once again proving how well they travel to border markets such as Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit and Cleveland.
Yet there’s nothing spiking higher this week than women’s sports in general and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in particular. Despite the huge time zone shift, co-hosts Australia and New Zealand will set new records for in-stadium attendance and TV viewership.
Of particular interest will be the TV numbers in Canada and the U.S., two of the original leaders in women’s sport. Canada — which settled for a scoreless draw Thursday night — comes in as the reigning Olympic gold-medal champions while the U.S. is shooting for a record third straight Cup title.
Add the prominence of the Cup to the impressive WNBA All-Star TV numbers earlier this month and the recent consolidation in women’s pro hockey and it’s been quite the month for women’s sports.
Bears of the week
New Washington Commanders owner Joshua Harris was formally given the go-ahead this week to buy the team as NFL owners set aside its legal arguments against ex-owner Dan Snyder, the toxic train wreck that saw his franchise go from No. 1 in league attendance to last.
Regardless, Snyder is laughing all the way to the bank. The US$6.05 billion sale price is the highest in global sports history.
And finally, the Edmonton Elks continued their downward trajectory in the CFL, dropping to 0-7 in a Thursday loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The timing of this streak of home-game and overall futility has made it difficult for Edmonton fans to embrace the new Elks’ branding (brought in to address concerns about cultural appropriation of the team’s old Eskimos’ nickname).
Marketing communications executive and sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht — a co-founder of what was TEAM 1040/TSN 1040 in Vancouver — provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at: twitter.com/TheSportMarket.
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