ESPN announced on Tuesday that the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League won’t be the broadcasting giant’s only focus this 2018-2019 season, as the Italian Serie A is also coming to American television. What has factored into this, and what makes the fact exciting?
First of all, Americans have already started to harvest great pleasure from watching soccer. The MLS has been breaking attendance records, displaying undeniable interest towards the sport. Domestically, teams have been consistent in filling up stadiums, investing in new arenas, and attempting the inception of a strong following. With record attendances that surpass 70,000, and averaging as high as 40,000, MLS teams have become home favorites for many cities like Atlanta, Seattle, New York, etc.
This summer, the International Champions Cup reinforced the notion of appreciation that the US hones for soccer. With their favorite teams’ jerseys on, fans often traveled far to watch their favorite teams touring on American soil. Many of these teams were Italian, all pertaining to the Serie A. Juventus, Roma, and Milan touched down and performed to play a major role for one of American television’s greatest sports broadcaster to feel confident in their decision.
However, the core of the greatest soccer on Earth has roots beyond the Atlantic. If this has always been true, then how will European soccer be different this year to affect ESPN’s decision?
I believe that this summer’s European transfers have been the most important factor for ESPN, as the unfolding drama has proven for the players’ market to almost be a sport of its own. With Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus, the Serie A teams have had to hurriedly attempt reconstruction this pre-season in hopes to match the Old Lady’s anticipated domination. Inter, especially, have excelled at preparing, but one more move would complete their assertion in the race for the title.
The Milan-based giants have made their next target Luka Modrić, and the odds of acquiring him highly favor the black-and-blues. While Real Madrid pays him £5.8-million ($7.44-million), Inter has almost doubled the offer with a £10-million ($12.83-million) to lure Luka towards Italy. Šime Vrsaljko and Ivan Strinić have also been two of the most important signings for the Italian league, as Inter and Milan, respectively, signed the Croatian stars.
While a Modrić move would mean a lot to Inter, it would also mean a lot to the Italian league and the sport in general. Obviously, ESPN has been closely watching and it will provide with a window for the Serie A to find its way into American households. Now, the sport won’t revolve only around a fortified handful of teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. Juventus, Inter, and co. have their chance to now prove to a greater audience that Italian soccer is making a comeback, hopefully one that will reach the highest peaks of its history.
Cover photo: footyheadlines.com
ESPN deal photo: espnmediazone.com
Modrić celebrating: abc.net.au
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