By DAN KARELL
Buried beneath a press release about their redesigned website was a change that could cause some consternation from fans of the North American Soccer League
Starting this season, the NASL will begin to charge fans $5 dollars per month to view live and archived games online. According to the league, “subscribers will also have access to additional premium video content.” The new video streaming will be run by digital sports content designer PERFORM, who are partners with a number of other soccer teams and leagues around the world including Major League Soccer, FC Barcelona, and the English Premier League.
Offering fans a subscription package to view games live online is nothing new. MLS runs their MLS Live subscription package, ESPN3 is only available to those who pay to receive ESPN on their TVs, and Fox Sports has their Fox Soccer 2Go package showing European and Australian soccer.
Last season, the NASL partnered with UStream to deliver free internet streaming to fans in lieu of local television deals for most teams. The exceptions came when a team did have a television deal, like the New York Cosmos, which didn’t have their home games streamed online.
Here are some more stories from around NASL:
FC EDMONTON ADD TWO EXPERIENCED PLAYERS
Colin Miller and FC Edmonton lost a number of starters this winter, but they’ve gone ahead and added two players with plenty of experience.
FC Edmonton announced on Wednesday that they’ve completed the signings of midfielders Ritchie Jones and Mike Banner. Jones comes after a short stint with Grimsby Town while Banner was most recently with the FF Jaro of the Finnish first division.
“This is an excellent step forward for the Eddies getting both of these players into the mix,” head coach Colin Miller said in a statement. “They have both played at the highest levels in their respective countries and it will be great for our younger players have them as role models.”
Jones is a product of the Manchester United youth academy, while Banner spent five seasons with the Chicago Fire in MLS after he graduated from SIU-Edwardsville.
OTTAWA FC ADDS FORMER GHANA YOUTH INTERNATIONAL
A former member of the Ghanian Under-17 squad has signed on with Canada’s newest soccer team.
Ottawa Fury FC have signed 20-year-old midfielder Hamza Elias on a one-year contract pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate. Elias was seen by a scout at an event that had scouts from a number of European clubs including AS Monaco and FC Porto.
“We met Hamza through a scout that works closely with us and also with the European and African markets,” Fury FC head coach Marc Dos Santos said in a statement. “He’s a very dynamic midfielder who works extremely hard for the team. Hamza could play in every position of the midfield. He’s also very young, so our staff will have room to build him into the player we believe he will become.”
Elias became a professional in 2009 with FC Kesseben/Medeama before moving to Ghanian second division club FC Platini Kumasi in 2013.
INDY ELEVEN TO FACE SPORTING KC IN PRESEASON
They’re still building their roster, but in less than a month, NASL expansion club Indy Eleven will go toe to toe with the MLS champions.
Indy Eleven revealed that they’ll be facing Sporting KC in a preseason friendly in Casa Grande, Ariz. on Feb. 7. The teams will play a 120-minute scrimmage, in which there will likely be stoppages every 30 minutes as both teams look to gain fitness ahead of their respective seasons.
Indy Eleven are preparing for their inaugural season in NASL. The club currently have eight players signed for this season, with plenty more signings to come.
What do you think of these developments? Would you be willing to pay for the video subscription? How do you think that could affect next season? Do you like FC Edmonton’s signings?
Share your thoughts below.