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OT: FIFA World Cup expanding to 48 teams, expansion worth $1billion

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Old
01-10-2017, 02:17 PM
  #26
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If they're going to expand, I don't understand why they don't just limit it to 40... I mean, I understand why (dolla bills, ya'll), but three-team groups are just awkward. At least with 40 teams you still have a fairly deep group stage.

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01-10-2017, 02:21 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by theaub View Post
Is this not what World Cup qualifying is?

That's the big issue with this. Qualifying, as it is right now, is rather fascinating. What's even the point of having qualifying in South America if 60% of the teams get in directly? How do you design a system to get 6.5 CONCACAF teams in when there's really only even 11 that have adequate infrastructure to host multiple matches (unless you want a ton of qualifiers on cricket pitches)?

In essence you ruin a pretty fun part of the World Cup process to just smash in a hell of a lot of teams that don't deserve to be there so everyone can go 'woah we made the World Cup!!11!!1!' as they get the everloving **** kicked out of them by teams that are actually good.
Thats the way I see it. you're basically hi-jacking the quali process so countries can now feel better about being in the proper WC? Does this line of thinking really help?

Do countries learn to love a sport by simply being included in the party even though they get handled easily? Is that what made America like soccer finally?

I guess what FIFA is going for is that China/Canada/etc pays higher rights for the WC based on those countries now being part of it, rather than what they receive from these countries for only qualifying-level broadcasts?

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01-10-2017, 02:24 PM
  #28
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Yeah, it's a bit of an over expansion IMO. I had heard expansion was coming. 40 teams would have been alright but 48 is way to much. The 16 3 team groups are a concern to me.

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01-10-2017, 02:25 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by patnyrnyg View Post
Another article I read had a cool idea. Have your qualifiers in the years leading up to the tourney. Then, 64 (I think it was 64 teams) split into 16 groups of 4. However, they each have a home and home, similar to the qualifying. Run this over several months with the winner of each group advancing to the Host nation for a final 16. So, I think the example he used was Group A being France, US, Chile, and Morocco. US plays a home and home with France, Chile, and Morocco and so forth accumulating points. The idea is that something like would grow the game of soccer in the individual countries that need growing rather than the tournament as it is set up now. Gives each country the chance to see it's team play on it's soil in meaningful games. Yes, I know a lot of people will travel to see the World Cup, but MOST people are still staying home to watch on tv. This set up would give the chance for more Americans to see their team play in the World Cup, same for Frenchmen, Moroccan, and so forth.
This would be absolute murder on players though. Take a guy like Nkoulou on Cameroon. Basically asking him to travel from France to America to Cameroon to France in the span of 10 days. Clubs are angry enough at international soccer as is.

tbh I don't even think there's much of a problem right now. This is FIFA fixing a problem that doesn't exist (well, outside of not ever being able to have too much money).

Also I mean...World Cup qualifying provides meaningful home games for virtually every country. The elite European countries, US/Mexico (Mexico did have enough problems last time around) and Brazil/Argentina are the historical exceptions over the past 20 years (maybe you could argue a couple Asian countries). And now...good luck with that.

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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
Thats the way I see it. you're basically hi-jacking the quali process so countries can now feel better about being in the proper WC? Does this line of thinking really help?

Do countries learn to love a sport by simply being included in the party even though they get handled easily? Is that what made America like soccer finally?

I guess what FIFA is going for is that China/Canada/etc pays higher rights for the WC based on those countries now being part of it, rather than what they receive from these countries for only qualifying-level broadcasts?
Bingo.

They've basically ruined any challenge qualifying has to give some countries the cheap thrill of being the 45th team in the World Cup.


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01-10-2017, 02:32 PM
  #30
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The more I think about casual fans, the more I think this works out for FIFA.

Using Canada as an example. some people really only care to feel inclusive of the big thing going on. Its why people can latch onto countries they've never visited for every Euro/WC and then move on to not really watching the sport in-between.

I really think the average Canadian wont care one bit for proper tournament setup and worthiness of being there.....they will care they are part of the party for a few weeks.


Relating it to other sports, this line of thinking too has worked out for March Madness, being a part of it is enough for some. Its why we can actually have arguments over a wildcard spot in the NHL between 8/9th on this site, because lots think its enough to be included and that will in effect, drive interest.

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01-10-2017, 02:36 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by theaub View Post
This would be absolute murder on players though. Take a guy like Nkoulou on Cameroon. Basically asking him to travel from France to America to Cameroon to France in the span of 10 days. Clubs are angry enough at international soccer as is.

tbh I don't even think there's much of a problem right now. This is FIFA fixing a problem that doesn't exist (well, outside of not ever being able to have too much money).

Also I mean...World Cup qualifying provides meaningful home games for virtually every country. The elite European countries, US/Mexico (Mexico did have enough problems last time around) and Brazil/Argentina are the historical exceptions over the past 20 years (maybe you could argue a couple Asian countries). And now...good luck with that.



Bingo.

They've basically ruined any challenge qualifying has to give some countries the cheap thrill of being the 45th team in the World Cup.
The thing is, I think it absolutely ends up working. More serious fans like you find on these boards will see it for what it is. I think casuals though will eat up here in Canada if we make it.

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01-10-2017, 02:39 PM
  #32
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Oh 100%.

When the final couple rounds of European qualifying are going on, I get to inform my friends that Canada got eliminated about 12 months prior. And then it just repeats itself every cycle.

The vast, vast majority of people don't care about qualifying, and hell most of my friends who follow PL teams just whine and moan at every international break.


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01-10-2017, 02:45 PM
  #33
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The vast, vast majority of people don't care about qualifying, and hell of my friends who follow PL teams just whine and moan at every international break.
Which is an absolute shame considering World Cup qualifying was my entry point into the sport considering I had nothing resembling a local team at the time (Pittsburgher living in Montana), the MLS was still going through severe growing pains so I wasn't going to watch it without a rooting interest, and watching European soccer was basically out of the question at the time.

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01-10-2017, 02:50 PM
  #34
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Oh 100%.

When the final couple rounds of European qualifying are going on, I get to inform my friends that Canada got eliminated about 12 months prior. And then it just repeats itself every cycle.

The vast, vast majority of people don't care about qualifying, and hell of my friends who follow PL teams just whine and moan at every international break.
Its just value creation really. Canada/China/etc will now play games people will watch while the quali games the hardcores watched still get played. Maybe less people now watch quali though cause its devalued, but the gain in WC attention offsets it.

Of course different results worldwide, European qualifying will still be an event to watch Im sure as its relative dilution is maybe the smallest?

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01-10-2017, 02:58 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
Thats the way I see it. you're basically hi-jacking the quali process so countries can now feel better about being in the proper WC? Does this line of thinking really help?

Do countries learn to love a sport by simply being included in the party even though they get handled easily? Is that what made America like soccer finally?
The US qualified for the first time since 1950. Have qualified each time since. In 1990, they lost all 3 games. In 94, they went 1-2-1 (1-1-1 in prelims) and lost in round of 16. In 98, they went 0-3 and finished 32nd out of 32. 2002 was better and got to the quarters. In 2010, they were 0-2-1, only scored 2 goals and one was an own goal by Italy. Soccer has grown tremendously here the past 25-30 years. So, for a lot of countries, I think just being invited to the party is enough to get interest. Don't need to be in the VIP section.
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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
I guess what FIFA is going for is that China/Canada/etc pays higher rights for the WC based on those countries now being part of it, rather than what they receive from these countries for only qualifying-level broadcasts?
I imagine that is a big part of it. Not sure for certain, but I would think ESPN (or whoever carries the tourney here in the US) has a clause in the contract for the rights fees based on the US qualifying or not qualifying. People here will still watch if the US failed to qualify, but the ratings would suffer.

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01-10-2017, 03:08 PM
  #36
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The US being in the World Cup has helped, but I think the real growth of soccer in this country has more to do with the globalization and easy access to foreign leagues we've seen since the middle of last decade.

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01-10-2017, 03:24 PM
  #37
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The US being in the World Cup has helped, but I think the real growth of soccer in this country has more to do with the globalization and easy access to foreign leagues we've seen since the middle of last decade.
The rise in popularity of the sport in my lifetime has been nothing short of absurd...though I think it's fair to say that American interest in the sport bottomed out right around when I was born in '86. Getting to the World Cup helped a bit, hosting the World Cup helped a bit, getting a domestic league set on basically doing everything the opposite way that the NASL did helped, but I would definitely say that the biggest driver in interest has been simple accessibility. As I said earlier, watching non-domestic/international soccer a decade ago was completely impractical for most people since it basically required a satellite...now I can watch numerous leagues with a basic cable package.

Either way the spike of casual fans that show up for the World Cup tends to dissipates quickly. We're used to being able to see the best in their respective sports in our backyards, so when you advertise that the best of the best require waking up at 4am on a Sunday to watch...yeah, people just go back to barely following the sport until the next World Cup. Really I think the only way to make the next huge step would be a drastic improvement of the MLS...though it'd be interesting to see how differently a 2026 US-hosted World Cup would go than the 1994 one considering how far the sport has advanced in the country since then.

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01-10-2017, 04:17 PM
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I'd love to see stats on the retention of World Cup viewers to MLS, or even to foreign leagues. Doesn't seem like anyone has done much of a study on it yet.

I was in Cincinnati to watch the Jays play back in 2014, and it just happened that the US/Portugal match was on a couple hours after one of the games. So I went down to a bar in northern Kentucky. Three levels, each one absolutely jammed with people wearing US stuff. The vast majority of people I talked to gladly admitted that they barely watched/didn't watch European competitions and had at most a basic knowledge of MLS (tbh I was happier it was that way than the reverse). Which is totally fine - absolutely nothing wrong with people showing up to support their country, and I had an awesome time there.

I don't know how much four national team matches every four years retain viewers. I do know that Cincinnati's USL team averaged over 17K per match this year, which at least shows to me that if you provide an entertaining local product, that's a far better way to attract new fans.

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01-10-2017, 04:18 PM
  #39
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The rise in popularity of the sport in my lifetime has been nothing short of absurd...though I think it's fair to say that American interest in the sport bottomed out right around when I was born in '86. Getting to the World Cup helped a bit, hosting the World Cup helped a bit, getting a domestic league set on basically doing everything the opposite way that the NASL did helped, but I would definitely say that the biggest driver in interest has been simple accessibility. As I said earlier, watching non-domestic/international soccer a decade ago was completely impractical for most people since it basically required a satellite...now I can watch numerous leagues with a basic cable package.

Either way the spike of casual fans that show up for the World Cup tends to dissipates quickly. We're used to being able to see the best in their respective sports in our backyards, so when you advertise that the best of the best require waking up at 4am on a Sunday to watch...yeah, people just go back to barely following the sport until the next World Cup. Really I think the only way to make the next huge step would be a drastic improvement of the MLS...though it'd be interesting to see how differently a 2026 US-hosted World Cup would go than the 1994 one considering how far the sport has advanced in the country since then.
The casual fan that comes every four years is a phenomenon in Germany and England as much as it is in America or elsewhere.

The progress made is the number of hardcore fans you develop over time. The world cup helps in creating hardcore fans, but it's by no means the most important piece in the puzzle.

Access to the best leagues on TV helps.

The rise of the internet, and the ability to follow the sport as closely as someone in Europe might.

FIFA videogames.

Number of international-borns in the US.

Huge amateur player base in America.

Having a legitimate professional league in the US.

All these things are more play their part.

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01-10-2017, 07:15 PM
  #40
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I'd love to see stats on the retention of World Cup viewers to MLS, or even to foreign leagues. Doesn't seem like anyone has done much of a study on it yet.

I was in Cincinnati to watch the Jays play back in 2014, and it just happened that the US/Portugal match was on a couple hours after one of the games. So I went down to a bar in northern Kentucky. Three levels, each one absolutely jammed with people wearing US stuff. The vast majority of people I talked to gladly admitted that they barely watched/didn't watch European competitions and had at most a basic knowledge of MLS (tbh I was happier it was that way than the reverse). Which is totally fine - absolutely nothing wrong with people showing up to support their country, and I had an awesome time there.

I don't know how much four national team matches every four years retain viewers. I do know that Cincinnati's USL team averaged over 17K per match this year, which at least shows to me that if you provide an entertaining local product, that's a far better way to attract new fans.
It is just like gymnastics, Track, swimming, figure skating, even hockey. Lots of once every 4 years fans who get into it out of a sense of patriotism rather than actually being a fan of the sport itself. I get into the World Cup, the next MLS game I watch will be my first. I watched a few EPL games last saturday, but I could not tell you now who was playing or who won.

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01-10-2017, 07:33 PM
  #41
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Canada can't even make it to the Hex in CONCACAF qualifying, so I'm not sure why some people seem so confident that the 48 team World Cup will include them.

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01-10-2017, 07:41 PM
  #42
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It is just like gymnastics, Track, swimming, figure skating, even hockey. Lots of once every 4 years fans who get into it out of a sense of patriotism rather than actually being a fan of the sport itself. I get into the World Cup, the next MLS game I watch will be my first. I watched a few EPL games last saturday, but I could not tell you now who was playing or who won.
Doesn't that contradict the point that the World Cup helps grow soccer then?

Basically everyone just gets all patriotic for two weeks and then goes back to not caring. So FIFA's spoonfeeding people World Cup spots so they can be happy that their country still sucks at soccer, but they suck just not enough to be able to play two matches and go home.

*insert comment/hot take about participation ribbon society here*

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01-11-2017, 12:40 AM
  #43
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It is just like gymnastics, Track, swimming, figure skating, even hockey. Lots of once every 4 years fans who get into it out of a sense of patriotism rather than actually being a fan of the sport itself. I get into the World Cup, the next MLS game I watch will be my first. I watched a few EPL games last saturday, but I could not tell you now who was playing or who won.
There were no EPL games last Saturday. Just sayin'...

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Doesn't that contradict the point that the World Cup helps grow soccer then?

Basically everyone just gets all patriotic for two weeks and then goes back to not caring. So FIFA's spoonfeeding people World Cup spots so they can be happy that their country still sucks at soccer, but they suck just not enough to be able to play two matches and go home.
Anyone that argues the World Cup doesn't help grow soccer clearly hasn't lived in the States between 1994 and 2017.

In any case, most of the countries that that will be getting into the World Cup in the expanded format already love the game. You're preaching to the converted.

There are literally only a handful of countries around the world where you find people discussing the 'they only care once every 4 years' debate.

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01-11-2017, 01:26 AM
  #44
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FIFA is a joke, not that that is breaking news.

Canada still won't make it though.

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01-11-2017, 05:55 AM
  #45
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Doesn't that contradict the point that the World Cup helps grow soccer then?

Basically everyone just gets all patriotic for two weeks and then goes back to not caring.
So FIFA's spoonfeeding people World Cup spots so they can be happy that their country still sucks at soccer, but they suck just not enough to be able to play two matches and go home.

*insert comment/hot take about participation ribbon society here*
hey it works for olympic hockey, amirite ?

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01-11-2017, 07:44 AM
  #46
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There were no EPL games last Saturday. Just sayin'...
when I said last saturday, I meant 12/31, BUT, it was actually throughout the Xmas-New Years Week, that I saw a bunch of games.

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01-11-2017, 07:47 AM
  #47
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Doesn't that contradict the point that the World Cup helps grow soccer then?

Basically everyone just gets all patriotic for two weeks and then goes back to not caring. So FIFA's spoonfeeding people World Cup spots so they can be happy that their country still sucks at soccer, but they suck just not enough to be able to play two matches and go home.

*insert comment/hot take about participation ribbon society here*
Talking about the different levels. Someone mentioned a bar in Cincy being packed for a World Cup game, you won't see that for MLS. I was referring more to soccer growing I was talking more about participation at the youth level. Younger kids. Not sure participation in HS or HS age club teams have sky-rocketed all that much.

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01-11-2017, 09:04 AM
  #48
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So I know you can still question if Canada makes it in the new format.

Would you guys say though this guarantees China makes it every 4 years? Or UAE?


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01-11-2017, 09:18 AM
  #49
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3-team group would make sense if team were to play TWO games against each opponent.

But one game? What the point of even bothering with a group stage?

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01-11-2017, 02:57 PM
  #50
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3-team group would make sense if team were to play TWO games against each opponent.

But one game? What the point of even bothering with a group stage?
Penalty Shootouts after 90 mins in the group stage as well.

Just make it a knockout tournament.

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