Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Response to a soccer hater ...
I started responding to this guy and didn't stop until I passed a bunch of characters, so I reposted it here.

Hey Jay,

Let's look at your post point by point:

1) As of 2004, and it's the last stats I could find, almost a third of homes by 2008 will have a DVR allowing many fans to watch games "live" with a 30 minute delay in order to avoid commercials. I know that when I watch Georgia football games (Go Dawgs!) that I always start them 30 - 45 minutes late so that I can skip listening to Vern Lundquist wax poetically during halftime. Usually by the time I've fast forwarded all the commercials (and the injuries and the instant replay), I'm usually caught up to the game in the late fourth quarter.

All this goes to prove is that Americans don't love commercials. I watch Chicago Bears games at a bar here in NYC and nothing says fun like a bunch of pissed off, drunk, tired-because-they've-been-there-for-four-hours Bears fans sitting through yet another commercial break waiting for the game to start up again. Americans don't love commercials, although I agree we are a fast food nation, and I think soccer's lack of commercials will be something that works toward soccer's favor, not its detriment.

2) No American based TV station has taken the risk on International FIFA soccer, reason being no breaks in play for commercials.

That's actually not true. ESPN/ABC/Disney paid $100 million for the rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Univision, though aimed at a Spanish speaking market, paid $325 million for US rights for the same cups. That's $425 million for rights to the next two World Cups based on American viewing habits.

12 million English-speaking Americans watched this year's final on ABC while 5 millions Spanish-speaking Americans watched. That's 17 million fans who tuned into or just less than 1/3 of the entire population of England (1/3 of the UK population being what tuned in to the game -- appx. 20 million).
That was nearly triple the audience for the last championship game in 2002 and, overall, it ranked as the third most-watched men's soccer game on ABC.


3. My advise for televised soccer here is air it on public broadcast or put channels from overseas on cable so people can watch Manchester United, Arsenel, and any of the Italian Sierie A league.

Fox Soccer Channel and Gol TV both air European games (FSC has Premier league rights and Gol focuses on La Liga and Serie A) so fans with cable can see every game their heart desires. At least here in New York, and I know we're different from everywhere, I always see fans up early on Saturday morning headed to the pub to catch the latest games.

Fans can also catch American soccer on ESPN and ESPN2 as well as having almost every match streamed live on MLSnet.com.

4. Some will say we have the MLS. Yes, we do. What superstars do we have playing in the MLS?

This is the thing that always gets me about this argument ... well, because we don't have great players in MLS we shouldn't watch it. MLS, indeed, doesn't have the greatest players in teh world.

It is, also, only 10 years old and for fans of soccer, it gives not only an American fan a chance to see high quality players (Carlos Ruiz, Dwayne De Rosario, Landon Donovan, Paco Palencia and for another year, Freddy Adu) who have either starred on the world's stage or will star soon up close and personal. It also gives young American fans, like New England's Michael Parkhurst, to see that soccer in American has a future and that he doesn't have to quit playing when he reaches seventh grade so he can pick up gridiron football or basketball or, G-d forbid, golf, because there's nowhere to go with it.

In addition, because of globalization and Europe's goal of finding young, cheap talent, many Americans are heading overseas at younger ages in order to fill out rosters and get great experience which they in turn bring back to the American national team infusing it with new ideas and talent that eventually helps us get better as a national team.

There's so much to be excited about in regards to soccer in America but only if viewed in a long-term frame. Looking at soccer as a snapshot now is looking at the NFL in 1940 when no one kenw about it and thought nothing would ever beat a Yankees game in the afternoon (I'd still say not much beats a Yankee game on a spring afternoon but that's beside the point).

So this is my extra-long, non-confrontational disagreement with your post. Soccer in America has a bright future. The present ain't that bad either.

2 Comments:

Blogger Christspeak Rx said...

I have to agree with you. BTW- Greensboro's Eddie Robinson is a MLS star for Houston (maybe Dallas).

11:25 AM  
Blogger Jay Ovittore said...

Maradawga,

I posted this in my comments as well.

I will be nice as well, I have only heard nice things about you from your mom.

First, I am not a soccer hater in any way. I love the game, the endurance, strategy, passion and beauty of a strike. I do hate the way American TV handles the sport, I wish there was more access to the games. Not the MLS, yet. But, the International matches and tourneys.

On your comments to my post: I do have a DVR and I do use it to watch games without commercials. I did not say anywhere in my post that Americans love commercials, I said that we are so pre-diposed to them. The principal of calling someone else stupid over and over until they believe they are and buy into it. Without commercials Americans don't feel like they are watching TV, like them or not.

Yes ESPN and Univision have the World Cup and I am happy for that. ESPN can air soccer instead of say... Poker or Cheerleading.

As far as FOX Soccer and GOL TV, I do get FOX, not really interested in Premier League, don't get GOL which carries the stuff I'd like to see. We unfortunately don't get a lot of the stuff that airs in the NYC area. I lived up there for a while, grew up in Jersey. I do remember the days of Pele on the Comets, that was when soccer had a chance in America.

You have seen the piss poor sports section of our Greensboro paper in compairison to the Post and Daily News. That's the coverage here. I just don't see ABC showing a huge soccer game over a few sitcoms and Judge Judy.

On your last point, I agree that their is nothing better then a Yankees game on a spring afternoon. I miss them greatly. I spend a lot of money on the MLB package to be able to watch the majority of the Yankees games. With that said, I would gladly pay for the MLS once the level of the game is on par with Premier and Seire A.

I want more soccer, better soccer and I don't want it Americanized, we ruin everything.

10:58 PM  

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