MLS and adidas announce historic 6-year, $700 million extension

mls adidas

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Adidas betting big on Major League Soccer

In a show of confidence for a league that is gaining respect around the global soccer community, adidas announced a landmark apparel deal with MLS on Wednesday worth a reported $700 million or just under $117 million per year. The deal is by far the biggest deal in league history according to MLS commissioner Don Garber, approximately 470% richer than adidas previous deal with MLS (8 years at $200 million or $25 million per season), and about $45 million richer per season than the deal adidas signed with the NHL in 2015 (reportedly worth $70 million per season).

MLS All-Star Game sets new TV record

More good news for MLS this week as the league announced on Thursday that the match between the MLS All-Stars and Real Madrid on Wednesday night set an all-time viewership record for an MLS All-Star Game. In total, the game had a combined audience of 2.1 million viewers in the USA and Canada, with 193,000 Canadians tuning in on TSN (97,000) and TVA Sports (96,000). Despite the record-setting audience, according to Sports Media Watch, viewership was lower than the NHL All-Star Game (2.3M), NFL Pro Bowl (7.4M), NBA All-Star Game (7.8M) and MLB All-Star Game (9.3M).

Blue Jays surpass 2 million fans, raise ticket prices

Despite being in the AL East basement, and 5.5 games out of a wild card position, the Blue Jays continue to draw large crowds. Through 53 home games, 2,126,556 fans have passed through the turnstiles at Rogers Centre, good for 40,123 fans per game. That’s currently tops in the AL, slightly ahead of the New York Yankees and 4th in the entire MLB behind only the LA Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants. The Blue Jays resurgence at the gate has largely been driven by the team’s return to the playoffs in 2015 and 2016 after a two decade drought. But without a winner on the field, and ticket prices going up another 17% potentially next season, it’ll be interesting to see how long the good times last.

Glen Abbey’s days could be numbered

The RBC Canadian Open will return to Glen Abbey in 2018, maybe 2019, but beyond that is questionable as the owners have a plan to turn the land into 3,300 homes. Despite the uncertainty, one thing seems certain: the RBC Canadian Open won’t be leaving the GTA. According to TSN, The last time the event was held outside Toronto (Royal Montreal in 2014), it lost $1 million which was a huge blow to Golf Canada who uses funds generated from the RBC Canadian Open to operate other golf programs. There are plans to build a new course in the Halton Region or in Vaughan and Burlington, but if that’s not ready in time, Golf Canada will look at other courses in the region to host the annual tournament.

CRTC Super Bowl ad ruling costs Bell

Not surprising, Bell is renewing its efforts to get the CRTC to reverse their controversial Superbowl ruling in time for next year’s Superbowl. The ruling contributed to a 39% ratings drop on CTV/TSN this year and resulted in Bell losing out on $11 million in ad revenue. While 5.4 million Canadians tuned into the game on CTV, TSN, and RDS (Bell-owned stations), roughly 3.4 million Canadians chose to watch the game on Fox where they could see the big budget U.S. ads for the first time. Back in February, we ran a poll on Twitter and 83% of respondents indicated that they were watching the game on Fox vs. CTV. Others indicated they were switching between the two channels.

Super Bowl Commercials Set to Air North of the Border

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Sports Business Canada

Covering the top stories at the intersection of sports and business in Canada.