Innovative Sports to Market Womens Soccer


New Jersey-based Innovative Sports Marketing will offer several U. S. Women's National Soccer Team games via pay-per-view beginning in July.

The event-distribution company acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to a number of the defending Women's World Cup and Olympic champions' upcoming European Tour games. That tournament runs for two weeks in July, Innovative co-partner Doug Jacobs said.

The company will distribute via PPV to stand-alone systems the July 22 match versus Germany and a July 30 event against Norway's team.

The events-which will also be carried by EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network and DirecTV Inc.-will retail at a suggested price of $14.95 or as a package for $19.95, Innovative co-partner Dan Jacobs added.

The growing popularity of soccer and the exposure that the U.S. Women's Team gained during the 1999 Women's World Cup bodes well for the PPV performance of these events, Dan Jacobs said, although he would not project a buy-rate.

The cable industry's efforts to promote women's soccer, as evidenced by several MSOs' investment in the planned Women's United Soccer Association professional league, also bode well, he added.

"We think there's an audience for U.S. Women's Soccer. More and more young girls are playing soccer, and here's an opportunity for them to see the U.S. team play the best in the world," Dan Jacobs said.

The games cap a busy six months for Innovative, which has already distributed four international PPV-soccer events in 2000.

Although most of the company's events are distributed regionally on a stand-alone basis rather than nationally through In Demand LLC, the company is able to maximize revenue through more targeted marketing and promotion, Dan Jacobs said.

"The more niche an event is, the better it becomes for us, because we can market directly to the fans of those sports," he said. "There is so much more risk involved with a nationally distributed product, but we try to cut that out by looking at delivering niche events. We feel that with soccer, if you can get 15 million to 20 million through DBS and to a number of targeted systems, we're doing very well."

Innovative will also distribute two U.S. Women's Soccer games to Fox Sports World on a delayed basis, Doug Jacobs said.