Disney's CEO, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Financial Times, says he was at home on Saturday with his sons watching the big U.S.-England game, which was broadcast in the U.S. by Disney owned-ESPN. He had been emailing to the head of the sports network, in South Africa to oversee World Cup coverage, and said, "Remind me again, how are we making money on this thing? I don't see any commercials." He was kidding, of course, though the matter of commercials and soccer is more than a passing concern: For years, U.S. networks have had a hard time adjusting to the game's continuous action. The irony about Saturday is that one of the British networks inadvertently slipped in a commercial just as England was scoring its lone goal, creating quite a bit of upset back home. Said Iger facetiously: "It's fun to watch and it's nice to say we've got it, but at the same time a British broadcaster was making money." ESPN paid $100 million for U.S. broadcast rights for two men's World Cups (this year and 2014), plus two women's World Cups. It's the biggest investment to date for a sport that's still looking to gain traction in the U.S. Certainly ESPN will generate ad revenues in all its ancillary programming before and after the games. Plus, Web revenues, etc. We'll wait for earnings season to see what all that adds up to.
More by Mark Lacter:American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent stories:Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
New at LA Observed
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Sign up for daily email from LA Observed