Posts Tagged ‘MLS

03
Jul
08

More people than ever are watching soccer on TV in the US…time to cut newspaper coverage..what?

According to SI a huge number of people tuned into this past weekends Euro 2008 final and the DC United vs. Galaxy match that preceeded it. (3.76 million and 1.2 million viewers respectively.)

These are fantastic numbers for a sport that no one allegedly cares about. The numbers are even better when you consider that for the matinee game, half of the potential audience was still shaking the sleep out of their eyes at kickoff.

I was deeply critical of MLS for allowing a game to kick off at 9am PST when one of the teams playing is from California but the numbers were pretty good with that difficulty.

The numbers really jump out at you when you look at the Euro numbers. 3.76 million viewers is staggering. Keep this in mind when viewing the numbers. The network, The CW, normally gets 4 million or less viewers in PRIMETIME. That is to say nothing of some other networks getting similarly weak numbers in those same money slots. To pull 4 million viewers on a Sunday morning/afternoon is nothing short of fantastic.

Sure it’s not NFL 1pm/3pm game numbers, that would be a lot to expect, but it is similar to ABC’s feature college game of the week according to THESE numbers. Numbers like the ones from the Euro final Sunday can only help gain more exposure of soccer in America on TV and mean more money for the league and SUM since we all know the kind of money that is thrown at college football. If soccer got half that money it would explode in quality in this country. With all that good news and obvious interest that can only mean news editors around the country would be looking to exploit the sectors of their markets that are hungry for the most popular recreational and youth participation game in the country right?

WRONG.

Nick Green, Andrea Canales and Luis Bueno have been covering the withering newspaper coverage of soccer in Los Angeles for a while. This is positively crazy considering the popularity of the game in this city. Granted, much of the interest comes from the Spanish speaking audience of this city, but there is still a sizeable English language fanbase who are apparently being ignored if these cuts come to pass.

However, I wonder if it isn’t more indicative of the newspaper publishing business in general. First the struggling economy has to be considered as these papers are largely publicly held and need to keep revenue on an uptick and profits in the black. This is usually done with job cuts. Who better to cut than the people covering the least popular events?

Add to this the fact that sports in papers are silly. Newspaper in general have the ‘you are getting the news 24 hours later’ onus hung on them but it is especially true of sports where you are reading stories about games that are 1 or even 2 days old. With the speed of the internet, many of these stories are coming out in real time.

Add to this formula the sheer bulk of soccer related blogs and forums on the internet that probably exceeds any other sport in terms of sheer volume of potential news sources and you begin to see how newspapers would cut those jobs. Do yourself a favor and type in ‘football blog’ or ‘soccer blog’ in google or even at WordPress.com you will see hundreds upon hundreds of them.

Ultimately, newspaper brands won’t fold and go the way of the dinosaur. They will simply reinvent themselves. The online presence will be the place for news and updates since that is where most people go for such things as it is. (do you know anyone that doesn’t check BBC, CNN, Foxnews, NBC for news online?) They will keep the print edition in a slimmed down form with collectible pull outs and opinion pieces that aren’t dated material like sports scores are and also to cater to restaurant guides and coupons and the like. It is bound to happen and many publishers including Felix Dennis of Maxim fame told Alexis Glick as much on a recent episode of Money for Breakfast on Fox Business Channel.

So while it may seem counter intuitive to dump the coverage of a sport that is clearly on the rise in the papers, it seems more of an inevitability than a move made out of spite. It is simply incumbent upon people to re-invent themselves and make their niche in the online world. Ives Galarcep made the transition from the tiny newspaper he was writing for to the online realm and seems to be doing well according to his own proclamations. If he can do it, pretty much anyone currently employed by a newspaper can do it. It’s no secret that I find much of his reporting to be left wanting as he clearly never researches rules before commenting on them and his analyses are clearly coming from the mind of someone who has never actually played the game on a competitive level. (which he hasn’t by his own admission) More than a few of the ‘scoops’ he does get often come from Latin American/Spanish sources first.

I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m blasting the guy, really I’m not, but I think he is about average as far as reporters of soccer go; nothing great nothing terrible. If he can find success, there must be others who could make a similar successful transition to the online realm.

Internet ad revenue is starting to boom. I can attest to that. I have a modest website (see link in upper left of sidebar) that is 100% supported by AdBrite ads and it more than pays for the upkeep and leaves a little bit (not enough to live on) left over for some beers. If a tiny website with modest at best pageviews can be self sustaining someone with an audience and a voice on a subject (soccer) they love can certainly cut through the bits and bytes of the internet and succeed.

In short, it’s not time to lament the loss of newspaper column space for soccer, it’s a dying medium in that regard anyway, it’s time to look forward and take the step toward innovation or reinvention…or go take a job as a bag boy instead.

Be bold, or grow old wondering “what if?” for the remainder of your life. A lesson for soccer and a lesson for all of life. That used to be the American way. Let’s keep that going, shall we?

Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans.

16
Jun
08

MLS Week 12 thoughts

Well, the parity machine that I alluded to last week is full on back.

Columbus had been struggling for a few weeks and got back in the win column.

Chicago lost its second in a row for I believe the first time all year. Of course, both of their losses came to teams (DC and FC Dallas) who haven’t won in forever it seems. Oh and DC managed to win over RBNY who was allegedly championship material this year despite doing jack and shit all year and looking even worse lately with little help on the horizon now that Altidore is gone and Osorio’s promises of bringing in quality international talent has gone unfounded. (Osorio caught in a lie…how weird. Enjoy, RBNY fans. )

New England scored a win over the once seemingly resurgent Dynamo.

LA blasted the Quakes and TFC won against a Rapids team that until 2 weeks ago looked like a legit contender to win the West.

Oh and RSL beat Chivas USA for the first time in forever.

So as you can see the folly of trying to pick winners in MLS is a fools game. Sure there are teams that are better than others, but there really isn’t an elite once again this year it seems.

Some argue that is a bad thing, but I don’t think every team being able to legitimately beat any other team is a bad thing. There really isn’t nothing more boring that watching Bayern take on some tiny assed, bound for BL.2 side or Manchester United stomping on Derby.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Bayern win as much as possible, but there is little intrigue when it’s teams they are talking a walk in a park over.

Just my thoughts.

I wouldn’t even imagine doing a power rankings of MLS. Chicago was top for a while but with 2 losses in a row are looking less ‘powerful’ than they were looking. Of course, no one else has really distinguished themselves THAT much other than New England…what was POUNDED twice by Chicago.

That aside, I’d have to reluctantly put New England at the top of the heap for now…

…I’m sure that will change next week.

11
Jun
08

US Open Cup: Chicago downs Columbus 3-2

So one of my favorite competitions kicked off for the Fire yesterday against Columbus in Peoria. Is it really all that surprising that it’s a favorite competition of mine as a Fire fan? They are thinking of naming it the ‘Fire trophy’ after all…OK not really.

I am happy to hear that unlike Dave “Shit Bird” Sarachan, Hamlett is taking it seriously this year. Luis also has a list of who started on the RED CARD as well.

I hope the Fire can bring in Open Cup number 5. I hope not only for the prestige of having yet another title for the trophy case, but also because winning the USOC is one of the US qualifiers for the newly launched CONCACAF Champions League along with the MLS CUP winner, Supporter’s Shield Winner (team with the most points in the single table) and the MLS CUP Runner Up.

So as you can see, this might be the first time in a while more MLS teams actually put more stock into the USOC since a place in the Champion’s League will mean a CONSIDERABLE bump up in pay for participating and an even bigger bump if you finish well.

11
Jun
08

MLS week 11 thoughts – lite edition

I am late again and this is kinda the throwaway time of year anyway with all the international action going on so this one will be brief.

Well here comes that parity again.

Not that I mind it, mind you. Chicago lose a heart breaker to DC United at the death. This after DC was rained out vs. Houston after 20 minutes or so. No make up date on that yet.

Can we please get McBride in there? Oh and perhaps play like we are at home while at home, Chicago? Thanks in advance.

New England continued a strong run of form to remain top of the class for a second week.

The Galaxy continue to show that the strategy this year will be to simply score 4+ goals a game and pray to got they don’t give up more than 3.

There are also rumors that Edgar Davids will be joining them. I’m not sure how they will afford him considering they can’t afford enough decent defenders but this is MLS with the phantom salary cap and mysterious rules.

Columbus continues their yearly tumble from grace losing to the Earthquakes. They are doing this despite not really losing anyone but Hejduk to international duty. Imagine what will happen once Bradley pulls his head out of his ass and starts calling Robbie Rogers in?

KC vs. RSL…ends in a 0-0 ‘thriller.’ Anyone really shocked by that? I am excited to see RSL’s new stadium though, the drawings looked fantastic.

Houston continues to look like they are finding form after delivering a pounding to TFC. At the same time, TFC looks like they are falling back to earth a bit. They still could have a shot at a play off spot though as I have little doubt that the West won’t get anymore than their 3 guaranteed spots this year.

RBNY continues to bore the living shit out of everyone. They beat a resurgent Chivas USA 1-0 on Thursday in a really shit game.

That’s all for now.

06
Jun
08

bundesliga: “Fuck you, America!” Mönchengladbach cancels summer tour

I had to write this because it pains me as a fan of Bundesliga. Borußia Mönchengladbach has canceled their summer tour of the US. Here is the article from Soccer America on the issue:

German team cancels its U.S. visit
Friday, Jun 6, 2008 6:45 AM ET
NEWLY PROMOTED GERMAN BUNDESLIGA CLUB Borussia Moenchengladbach has canceled its summer training camp in the USA after club and Bundesliga representatives visited training facilities in Colorado and deemed them unsatisfactory for a preseason camp, according to the Bundesliga’s official Web site. Gladbach was slated to play against the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas on a trip that Bundesliga’s chief marketing officer Tom Bender had hailed as “a milestone in our partnership with MLS.”

In March of 2007, MLS and the Bundesliga had announced a partnership that was part of the German league’s campaign to popularize itself internationally.

When will Bundesliga stop shooting themselves in the foot? They used to be the most popular league in the US by far. In fact, the airing of Bayern games on cable and FREE over the air TV is a major reason why I got into the league. (well that and family being Bayern fans since they are from there but still, being able to keep up on the TV helped)

Lately, the Bundesliga has been hellbent on alienating the market completely. There was the debacle with Bayern playing it’s D team against Manchester United’s B/C team a few years ago among a number of other debacles leading up to this.

I’m sorry, but Colorado has a GORGEOUS facility. Anyone who has seen where ‘gladbach trains knows they aren’t exactly the Ritz Carlton of Germany.

There must be some other reason to cancel. I’m guessing it’s money since they were relegated and are coming back to BL.1 next year meaning they will need to pony up more for top players to stay afloat.

That excuse would be fine, though pride prevents them from saying it. However, they choose the “fuck you you suck and your mom sucks and we are too good for this shit’ approach.

This is especially disturbing given that BL and MLS signed a partnership agreement last year. The agreement was for MLS to show BL how to market (which they have been woeful at and moves like this demonstrate this fact in stark relief) in exchange BL would trade TV production tips with a league who relies on a network (ESPN) that can’t be bothered to be told how it should do things.

With shit like this, the partnership is doomed. It was basically doomed the second BL decided that ‘gladbach would be the club they’d send over given their ‘massive’ following. I guess Bayern, Dortmund, Schalke, Bremen, Stuttgart, Bayer or HSV were too busy.

It really does sadden me but it makes it harder every year to keep following the BL. I pretty much am already at a point where I only give a shit what Bayern does and the rest of the league can go to hell. La Liga has been getting far more of my attention of all the Euro leagues.

I hope you can fix it soon BL. If not for someone who is a built in fan (half-German with tons of family there and an automatic connection to one of your clubs) then do it for a casual observer….or better yet, do it for both. You need it if you want to keep up with the EPL, La Liga and Serie A.

Nachtle.

06
Jun
08

garber finally gets it! Streamers are prohibited (kinda)

There had been debate raging about the use of streamers the last 2 years. Houston fans started the trend by tossing them at each other at the beginning of games and after goals.

TFC fans brought it to another place by tossing them at players during corner kicks making it difficult for the set piece to be taken. (even doing it while they are down a goal which makes a lot of sense since you are merely killing time off the clock since we all know all the time lost is never totally added back on)

Garber defended the use of streamers after Michael Wilbon of Pardon the Interruption on ESPN said it was a ‘Bush league practics’

However, after an incident in Columbus where streamers were used to mask batteries and full water bottles and flares being tossed at players (amongst other no-no’s) as I have been saying would happen all along if it hadn’t happened already, Garber has finally relented.

The commish, via his BLOG on June 6th, has finally said enough is enough. He rightly points out that tossing them at players during the game slows it down and there are opportunities to hurt players being exploited.

Now, i don’t think he went far enough. There needs to be threats of abandoning the match if it is done as they do everywhere else on earth when shit is being thrown on the field. While throwing people out is a good start, there needs to be the threat of your team losing points.

Listen, I love tossing streamers after goals, or at the whistle like DC fans did at the start of the DC vs. Chicago match on ESPN a few weeks back. (the game Chicago demolished them on national TV in case you forgot) That sort of use looks cool and brings out the joy of supporting your team. Throwing the shit on the field to stop players from playing though, is just senseless retardation and needed to stop.

Thankfully the Don has spoken.

If some of these fans wanna have big displays they need to talk to their front offices. Chicago allows full tifo before matches if Section 8 wants to do it. I think Chivas USA is the only other team that takes advantage of that. Tifo is radical johnson and gets the crowd hyped. That’s how it’s done. Tossing shit at players is retarded.

That is all.

05
Jun
08

Congratulations to Jozy Altidore on going to Villareal

Reports are everywhere (check out MLS’s homepage for details) that Jozy Altidore has agreed to a transfer to Villareal effective July 1st.

It is a GREAT move in my opinion as we have had FAR too many players going to England and the utter lack of imagination and ability to possess the football have become horribly apparent on the senior national team. (though the youth teams possess a latin flair that I hope remains with them once they become full senior internationals because this Brit-ball shit is killing me)

Most people are of the mind that Jozy will be loaned at least initially to Recreativo Huelva so he can get more playing time.

In any event, La Liga is the best league in the world. Teams actually focus on technical skill and not just brutish thugball like they do in the Prem. If things pan out for Jozy we really could have our first true footballing superstar from the US. With his size, speed and technical skill he could really do something special at Villareal. If he keeps it together, I could even see him figuring into their Champion’s League run this year.

Let’s hope Jozy will join Jovan Kirovski as an American with a Champion’s League medal. (Kirovski won with BVB 09 in 1997 a fact that many forget as I’ve heard the lament that ‘we need an American who goes deep in CL sometime and/or win’s’ which Kirovski did and even scored a goal on their run so it wasn’t all from the pine)




MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty