DOWN TO BUSINESS EDITION
Did you hear? There was a game or something on Wednesday. If you missed it or want to relive it, Mark Zeigler has the best wrap-up. Each of MLS’ 195 games will be broadcast at least regionally, which is a league first. 113 games will be televised nationally, the most in league history. And MLS is going to make some money off it, also something to get used to. More on how and where to spend that money in a minute. More rich Americans bought into the EPL, verbally touting the game’s world dominance. It’s always nice to hear such words coming with a North American accent. I like the fact that it’s the world’s game, and the fact that it may never be America’s game doesn’t detract from that in the slightest. Given what is typically associated with ‘American,’ I actually prefer it that way. In that regard, American soccer culture and those who are involved in the community have a chance to progress faster than greater society. Soccer could help rehabilitate this nation. Thomas Friedman, where’s your soccer column?
There were a few interesting tidbits buried in some places you wouldn’t expect this week, like in an NFL story. As we begin to prepare for another MLS season, these are the complicated topics that will be competing with the talent on the field when it comes to growing the game and the league. It gives us a little more to consider this week than the usual transfer news and scheduling releases. The Brain Games begin after the jump…
As I mentioned last week, the NFL is popular in Mexico. So much so, that club America altered its schedule as to not compete with the Super Bowl. David Keyes, proprietor at a new blog (to me anyway) called ‘Culture Of Soccer’ has a nice reaction to a New York Times piece by John Branch about the NFL. But the tidbit we need to ponder is when the article addresses MLS’ moderate success at marketing to Hispanics. David spends a lot time on the language question – Spanish or English – but it is thought provoking and likely the biggest off the field conversation in professional American soccer for years to come. Does MLS have a duty to provide Spanish language news and broadcasts, or is it just in their best interest to do so?
Jack Bell brings up some interesting points about promoting US players, or the lack thereof as it were. The business side of sports gets complicated quickly, and as such, Bell doesn’t try to make sense of it. This, more than anything else this week however, has me wondering about MLS and USSF. Do they care more about everything except the players, who even more so than other sports, seem to be little more than pawns in their game? Or is this business as usual for a league office? Where is the MLS players’ union?
And final thoughts on the subject go to Mark Cuban, because well, if you don’t let him speak, he cries. Although his observations are pretty obvious and superficial, Cuban’s insights into MLS give further support for a bourgeoning MLS. When it comes to running the sporting business, I’ll pretty much follow Cuban anywhere, even if getting a positive result means putting on a suit coat that looks like a Mavericks’ jersey. Sartorial shame. But, then again, he does save his team money on mascots! Always one step ahead, that Cuban.
Changing gears, and back to the blog Culture of Soccer, Keyes goes way back to highlight Doug Morris’ book, The Soccer Tribe, which I agree is tremendous. To update his (and your) coffee table collection, add Knox Robinson and Andrew Dosunmu’s book, The African Game. It’s a lot more recent, a bit more esoteric, and with much stronger photographs, all of which goes a lot further than outdated academia. Of course, it deals with just the African continent.