By Christian Arnold
While the New York Cosmos look for their first win Saturday night in Miami, the team begins another new chapter in their attempt to hold New York Sports fans attention.
Saturday will mark the Cosmos’ first game on their new broadcast home, MSG Networks. The Cosmos announced the deal with the regional sports network in March and will have 13 games broadcast on MSG Networks during the North American Soccer League spring season.
It is a big move for the Cosmos, who had their games broadcast on the relatively unknown One World Sports since the team’s reincarnation in 2013. One World Sports was in few homes in the New York market and a simulcast deal with SNY to carry games only lasted one season.
The original plan for former Cosmos’ chairman Seamus O’Brien was to build the fledgling network along with NASL club.
“Going back the last four years that didn’t help, being on One World Sports,” Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Eric Stover recently said. “The vision for Seamus was to build a television network, to build a soccer club and to build a stadium all at the same time. That was extremely ambitious and it cost a lot of money to try to do that, and it was probably too much too fast.”
The Cosmos are hoping that a new TV deal with MSG Networks, with games also being broadcast nationally on wider reaching beIn Sports, that their new media partners can help give the club a wider reach.
“When were on SNY that first year some of the games rated really well and we were getting pretty good exposure,” Stover said. “So being on PIX and MSG, and now beIn Sports, millions and millions of households are going to have a greater opportunity [to see games]. What’s even more important is the cross promotion within in that network to talk about the Cosmos, to run promos on the Cosmos and raise awareness.
“It can’t just be us banging us banging the drum. We need partners helping us, so I think those networks will definitely do that for us.”
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on MSG2, which serves an overflow channel for MSG Networks. The regional sports network has a full slate of games on their schedule, with the NHL’s New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils both in action.
However, Cosmos’ games will likely move over to MSG or MSG Plus in the near future with the Islanders playoff chances slim and the NBA’s New York Knicks failing to qualify for the postseason.