The Other Sports Thread (Titans, Vols, Dores, etc) - Part III
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06-20-2014, 03:32 AM
These Snacks Are Odd
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Fargo, ND
Originally Posted by
One of the discussions of how soccer/futbal could be made more popular in the US would be to eliminate offsides. Being the hockey fan that I am, I'd just think putting a line on the field where players couldn't be before the ball would work fine. Of course, then you'd have something akin to scores you'd see in futsal.
The old North American Soccer League tried that, among a handful of other changes. It didn't save them from their own terrible business model of reckless expansion that ultimately caused them to collapse under the weight of the New York Cosmos.
The key to attracting Americans to soccer isn't changing the rules to make it easy for Americans to grasp (which I personally find a little insulting; we are nothing if not studious sports fans). The key is to get world-class players, like Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, like Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe and David Villa and,
as of last night, Kaká,
to come play in the United States. Signing those players raises the overall profile of the league and makes it a destination for international talent, but it also gives role models to aspiring domestic players and elevates the quality of players the US produces at home. DeAndre Yedlin is a prime example of what kind of impact that can have (he's also a testament to the impact of professional academies that bypass the typically so-so college soccer experience in part or all together). That, coupled with a stable business operation, and you have the makings of a dynamite sports league.
And while MLS isn't nearly as popular at the national level as the international game, it doesn't have to be to signify the importance of soccer in our sporting culture. 15.9 million people watched the United States beat Ghana across all networks, more than the average audience for this year's NBA Finals (15.5 million). Heck, 11 million people watched Mexico's scoreless draw with Brazil, and that was at 3:00 on a Tuesday! The ABC family is averaging 3.7 million viewers per game, which means lots of people are watching noon games on weekdays, and their non-US game ratings are
up 37% over 2010 through the first 11 games.
I'll give The Mothership credit; they've jumped on the soccer wave and have ridden it all the way, and they've given the tournament the best coverage it's going to get anywhere in the world. It's a shame the World Cup has to go to Fox, whose soccer coverage has been... shall we say... lackluster.
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