skip navigation

‘Commitment to Quality’ at Forefront of USL Productions

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 11/26/16, 7:33AM EST


2016 USL Cup Final marked a first as league’s digital wing prepares for 2017

Photo courtesy Ben Solomon / New York Red Bulls II

TAMPA, Fla. – Those that tuned into the New York Red Bulls II’s victory in the 2016 USL Cup Final against the Swope Park Rangers saw a crowning moment in the club’s double-winning season as Brandon Allen recorded only the second hat trick in USL Cup Final history.

What the viewers likely didn’t know was that it also marked a historic first for the USL as well. The game was the first produced by USL Productions, as the on-air crew of Michael Watts, Kate Markgraf and Heather Mitts fronted the broadcast on ESPNU and SiriusXM FC from Red Bull Arena.

For USL Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Tom Veit, the event was an ideal launching point for the new production initiative, and offered the league’s current and potential partners a preview of what the 2017 USL season is set to bring.

“The production was very well received so we thought it was a good start, and now our partners have seen what we can do and the quality of the league we’re finding a great interest for our product,” Veit said recently. “With the full launch of USL Productions next year, we’re going to have so much content and so many ways to reach the public, we’re all very excited.”

For the first time in 2017, USL Productions will oversee the broadcasts for every game of the season, with the aim of bringing greater uniformity between productions and visuals. The league’s partnership with VISTA WorldLink, a major video production company based just outside Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will also offer the opportunity for the league to produce additional content that will result in a combined output of more than 1,000 hours of video content for the league’s growing fan base.

“What we’ve seen is our partners have learned that we have a very high commitment to quality with our broadcasts,” said Veit. “Going forward, what USL Productions is going to mean is when you see content created by the USL, it’s going to be very high in quality and something that that soccer fan in the U.S. is looking for.”

In addition to the work being done behind the scenes on USL Productions, Veit was also part of the USL’s recent business meetings in Texas, including the inaugural meeting of the USL Business Strategy Committee meetings in Dallas.

“It reminded me quite a bit of meetings I had in previous lifetimes with MLS and with the Big East,” Veit said. “You see a very dedicated group of professionals, a wide variety of expertise. People who have been involved in sports and entertainment successfully for quite a while.

“What’s nice about those meetings is when you get into a topic area, be it production, be it content, be it licensing, be it commercial enterprises, you have people at the table who have been involved in every aspect, so it’s nice to sit in a room where you have an expert on almost any topic that you want to go to.”

Among the group are new Nashville SC CEO Court Jeske and Reno 1868 FC President Eric Edelstein. While both Jeske and Edelstein’s clubs have yet to kick a ball in the USL, the knowledge they brought to the group will prove invaluable as the league looks to expand commercially in the coming years.

“In the case of Court, coming straight out of MLS, a lot of expertise on the international side, especially as we look to expand what the league does with teams coming to the U.S., expansion of USL teams playing overseas, he has a great wealth of knowledge of how that part works, and relating it to the local enterprise,” said Veit. “When you have someone like Eric Edelstein, a longtime minor-league baseball executive, he brings an understanding of the sports landscape.”

“What’s great is you have those guys who are coming from outside our league with a completely fresh look. You have the people who have been within the league for a number of years, who have the history and the institutional knowledge, and then mix in the people who are kind of in-between, you’ll see a very diverse group of individuals in terms of skillsets and experience.”

Photo courtesy Nick Tre. Smith / Swope Park Rangers

With the work he has put in alongside his fellow executives since joining the USL in the middle of the 2015 season, Veit is looking forward to seeing the payoff, which should begin to show fully early next year.

“I think the biggest part I’m going to look at is the outward exposure the league’s going to get, to watch the USL brand start to grow exponentially as we reach out not just to our current fans, but to new fans in the U.S. and Canada domestically, and abroad,” said Veit. “That’s what excites me. I don’t know if there’s a single focal point, but it’s watching all this work we’ve done blossom. That is where you see us on television, you see us on cable, you see us internationally, you see us with people like SiriusXM, it’s that now where you go, you see the brand.”

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos