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Saturday, July 18, 2009

The wimpy brother

Americans enjoy watching the best (fill in any sport). We are elitists. That's why we like the Olympics, that's why we enjoy any finals, that's why we watch Wimbledon and the Masters, that's why we don't care about sports like the WNBA, MLS or arena football as anything other than a niche sport. International soccer plays into this. It's the best of the best....

International soccer never took off here for the simple reason that American sports fans had trouble following anything they couldn't attend in person and/or watch on television at their leisure. Now? We're turning into a sofa culture; since it's more expensive to go to games, many of us find it just as rewarding to stay home, save money and watch games on a nice TV. Throw in the Internet, DirecTV, fan blogs and everything else and you really can follow soccer from across the Atlantic.

That's why, over the next decade -- starting with the World Cup in 2010 -- I predict international soccer takes off to a modest degree in America during the '10s. Not to compare everything to "The Godfather," but for America, the NASL was Sonny (exciting, impetuous and ultimately self-destructive), the MLS is Fredo (weak) and international soccer is Michael (the heavy hitter who was lurking all along).

The whole thing is here, and scroll down about halfway.

Comments (5)

Analysis seems dead-on, but seems to be short the key factor that we want to watch Americans being the best. Olympic ratings are best in categories were we are winners.

Tour de France (which are into the Alps this weekend) is another example. Without Americans being competive, Tour ratings slip. Add a dash of Lance ... ratings galore.

The 2006 Tour was interesting because there was hope that Lance would pass off to another American (Floyd Landis), but after he failed his S17 sample, that was done. 2007 and 2008 were terrible ratings in the US - no widely known American contenders coupled with massive doping scandals.

And, of course, this year, the ratings are back up. Mostly its Lance. But its also Hincapie and Vande Velde (I hope). I hope that Lance's participation will get people to pick "new" American riders.

What a coincidence -- or maybe not -- that you would post a photo of Dan "Fredo" Saltzman. Does anyone believe that the Corleone family would have ever let Fredo have the swing vote on a soccer deal? So, why is Portland?

Sorry to say, but soccer is going to be a minor league sport at best in the USA. I think it's very telling that the Timber ads are posted in the arts section of the Oregonian instead of the sports pages. What does that say about the type of "fan" they are trying to attract? I will not be a bit surprised to see MLS in the USA file for bankruptcy by 2012 or simply fold their tent.

Fredo was not only weak, he got whacked.

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