New Socker League Aims for PPV

A new, pro wrestling-influenced soccer league is hoping to make its way to pay-per-view after a run on basic cable.

Socker Slam is the parent name for the World Socker League, a fast-moving, full-contact, high-scoring soccer league that takes its cue from the often-outrageous but successful professional-wrestling genre, WSL commissioner Terry Rich said.

Socker Slam demands many of the same skills as traditional soccer with several new twists such as bigger goals, bonus scoring possibilities, limited use of hands and a second "SlamBall" in play for the last two minutes of each of the three regulation periods.

The final score is tallied from all three periods, plus two special shootout segments.

The series will initially run on Fox Sports World beginning Sept. 26, but Rich eventually also wants to distribute several league games via PPV. The company has already had discussions with several PPV-event distributors, and it hopes to get at least three events per year on PPV in the near future.

"Socker Slam features the skills of the MLS [Major League Soccer], the high-energy action of the NHL [National Hockey League] and the high scoring of the NBA [National Basketball Association], mixed with the conflict, drama and intensity of the WWF [World Wrestling Federation]," Rich said.

"I think it has the same kind of draw that wrestling and boxing have, but soccer targets a more affluent audience than the other genres," he added.

The league currently has four teams: the New York Bruisers, the Los Angeles Surf, the Miami Storm and the Toronto Loons. But Rich said the league could expand to as many as 12 teams in the near future.

The nicknames of several league players also have a decided cable influence-Jimmy Braun, Doug "The Man" Sesser and Charlie "The Box" Dolan, to name a few-which could make it more appealing to the industry.

"It's a new product and a new market, and from the operators' perspective, we're looking at something that would complement what they already have on PPV," Rich said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.