KickTV is a venture between Google, Bedrocket Media Ventures and Soccer United Marekting (SUM), the advertising endeavor of MLS. Launched March 2, 2012, the KickTV Youtube channel has brought viewers soccer mixed with pop culture to a surprisingly fun platform. But, what has MLS gotten out of investing in the channel?
This past week, there has been 11 videos uploaded and 197,494 views (as of 1:45 pm EST) on the main channel. The focus of the videos has been on a variety of soccer related items such as, Cristiano Ronaldo going for a good 2014, Goals from the video game FIFA 14 and a video entitled, "Mariah Carey & John Guidetti Duet & More". The singular MLS related video of the week has been a Tim Cahill goal compilation. Granted, it is the MLS offseason but I'm sure this is not exactly what SUM had in mind when investing in the channel. Looking at the different playlists on channel, KickTV has an MLS highlights package every weekend and that's the only main MLS package on the channel. Clearly we don't know how much SUM has invested in the channel but what about more MLS related segments during the season? From a mere league wide promotions perspective, this is needed.
One thing that seems certain is that SUM is not always working hand and hand with MLS and MLSsoccer.com more specifically. The league website creates original content almost daily during the regular season, something KickTV doesn't do and could thrive with for its 785,00 subscribers. It seems the channel leans towards an American eye on international based soccer, and this is something that needs to be addressed for MLS's sake.
Another thought: NBCSports must be limiting KickTV somehow as they produce MLS 36, a showcase of some of the leagues players for the 36 hours, pre, during, and post-games throughout the season. A show like this on the channel would broaden both the marketing and personality of the league. By showing the personality of the players (Known funny man Dax McCarty has been featured) the brand of the league expands. If this show was on KickTV, the MLS brand would be aimed towards the world-soccer-fan-only demographic, something that NBCSports surely doesn't have at its disposal despite its large viewer numbers.
In a business sense, I believe the league is looking at this video channel as more of an exposure situation than to get any monetary return on investment. Not saying KickTV isn't making money, (because it is. They have a full time staff and advertising on all of their videos) but the main goal of the endeavor seems to be drawing more attention to the league. "Kick was created as a global channel that allows us to tell they key soccer stories of the day and to broaden our voice beyond the M.L.S. channel." said Chris Schlosser, general manager of MLS Digital to the New York Times in a 2012 interview.
Global channel? Yes. Broaden the voice of MLS beyond the MLS channel? How is KickTV doing that? The quick answer is, they're not.
So I ask the question again, what is MLS getting out of KickTV?
Any thoughts or comments are appreciated below in the comments section.
-Marc Kusant (@TheRedestBull)