November 05, 2004

How Soccer Is Eating America: Yet another article about how soccer/football is getting more and more popular in America...we can only hope. "The rest of the world has been worried for some time that America will try and change soccer. The truth is that soccer is changing America," writes Steven Wells.

posted by StarFucker to soccer at 02:35 PM - 19 comments

Perhaps. But I totally am in agreement with the author's assertation that many Americans believe the end of history is taking place within the US's borders. I don't mean to flame, but its been grating on me since Tuesday.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:54 PM on November 05, 2004

I disagree. I've been reading this article in one form or another for 25 years now. It wasn't true in the 70's and I still don't see it happening now. My current theory is that baseball, football and basketball all have stoppages in play where you can talk about the game, your week, go get a beer, whatever. This makes it less of an investment to watch, and makes it more social tv.

posted by sauril at 10:28 PM on November 05, 2004

Your current theory is an interesting one... According to it, the stoppages in play add to the sociability of the sport. I disagree entirely. I was born in the US, i have grown up with football, baseball and basketball...and as a kid growing up, with all the marketing and exposure these sports get i was as swept up in them as the rest of Americans get over McDonalds... But as i grew up(and went to university), i realized that it isn't sport anymore but only commercial exposure. Its true that soccer has its faults in advertising as well with the uniforms and the stadium ads, but its still favorable to being exposed to(BUY THIS CAR!!), or (LOSE WEIGHT FAST!!)... I don't know where you are from sauril, but i am encouraged by a friend of mine who finally succumbed to Fantasy Soccer two years ago... This is his second year and he confessed to me a while back that i was right... He had been an American all his life...watching football, baseball, basketball, etc... I got him to sign up for the Soccernet Fantasy League...he didn't do too bad the first year and he then started to watch the matches on FSW in order to keep track of who he was buying/drafting. Two months ago he told me, "You know, i am really a big fan of soccer now and I understand why you like it...its fucking nonstop action!! I was watching a college football game the other night and it was freakin' awful! There were so many commercials I lost interest after the second quarter. It was then that i realized that soccer is much more entertaining." I think that if many more Americans would realize this as well, there could be a revolution in not just advertising, but America.

posted by StarFucker at 12:19 AM on November 06, 2004

Wells don't get it. There is a difference between sports participation and sports fandom, as I've often pointed out here before. Soccer pitches in towns all over America? Sure, and proud parents will turn out to watch their kids play on them -- in the two months or so of the year when the kids are playing. Soccer has indeed changed the face of sports participation in the US, but in decades of presence here, it has yet to make a huge dent in sports fandom -- and the fandom is the biggest facet of sports in this country.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:20 AM on November 06, 2004

I agree with SF. For once ;) Another data point: In this week's Sunday paper coupon circular, there is an ad for Gillette Men's Skincare products and the celebrity featured is David Beckham. Small thing but he was the only athlete I noticed in any of the coupon spreads. OTOH, the Mercury News didn't even list the two MLS Conference Finals in the Sports on TV listings for yesterday and today though both are on local cable channels. and from what I could see there was space to do it; only Mexican League matches on Spanish TV were listed.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:24 AM on November 06, 2004

Inside the snorting, steroid-swollen, padded and armoured behemoth of George Bush's America - there's a gayer, girlier and more socialist America struggling to get out. And, (like John Kerry), it plays soccer. C'mon gay, girly socialists - let's go play! If you want a textbook example of how NOT to promote your sport in the U.S., this sentence is perfection.

posted by dusted at 12:54 PM on November 06, 2004

We have a similar issue with soccer here in Australia - it's a mass participation sport for boys and girls, but not even in the top three football codes on TV or the rest of the media. Refer to my 6 Nov post on Johnny Warren, the former Australian World Cup player - he even called is autobiography 'Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters' because when he was a kid, that's what soccer players got called.

posted by owlhouse at 03:29 PM on November 06, 2004

I fancy Shielas!

posted by billsaysthis at 06:52 PM on November 06, 2004

SF, I grew up and still live in Canada. Montreal for the first little while and Calgary now, if you want to get specific. While I agree with you and your friend about watching soccer, a lot of other people here don't see it that way. They think "boring, only 1 goal all game" and miss the fact that the game could be tied up or won in injury time a la France vs England. My theory above, which I'm not really sold into, came in part from a discussion with an old co-worker who loved watching (CFL) football. After talking to him for a while, it became apparent that it was as much about the hanging out with friends as the actural game, even if he didn't say as much. The stoppages encourage talking, stats-crunching and other non-essential-to-the sport activities that are essential to actually watching it. I know that there are a lot of people who love american football and baseball, but for me it doesn't really catch me anymore. Hockey can be an almost perfect game (see last Olympics) but the NHL is killing it. I love watching soccer, but I just don't think it's going to catch on in the North American market.

posted by sauril at 09:01 PM on November 06, 2004

At the risk of repeating myself.

posted by scully at 09:30 AM on November 08, 2004

Yes terrapin, i said that myself here in Sportsfilter somewhere 2 years ago and several times since i joined... Whats encouraging though is when i introduce people to the game at my place and they comment that it IS actually quite exciting...

posted by StarFucker at 10:02 AM on November 08, 2004

Sorry, wasn't mean to be snarky, SF. I just feel strongly about the BS the media pulls by claiming it is the people who don't want to watch the sport, when anyone with a brain realises that the media don't care what is on tee vee as long as they can make someone else pay obsene amounts of money to put it on. And I know what you mean. My wife knew nothing of soccer until we married a few years ago. Now she practically begs to watch EPL matches on FSW. She loves footy and comments about hard it is to watch MLS because "it looks like they are playing with a medicine ball and ankle weights!" She still relies on me to give her Arsenal news, but she has their scores automatically sent to her mobile ;)

posted by scully at 02:14 PM on November 08, 2004

Thats awesome terrapin... Little by litte, if we can convert just a few people from our neighborhoods and/or friends we may change the way people feel about sports and maybe they'll actually care about action instead of commercials.

posted by StarFucker at 02:37 PM on November 08, 2004

Speaking of commercials, I don't know if it's the FSW feed we get or Sportsnet itself, but they're starting to include commercials in the live Premiership games. Probably adding 30 seconds of tape delay.

posted by sauril at 03:35 PM on November 08, 2004


posted by StarFucker at 03:53 PM on November 08, 2004

And Rupert rears his ugly, evil, money-grubbing head yet again.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:27 PM on November 08, 2004

I haven't witnessed it yet. But i don't believe it.

posted by StarFucker at 04:44 PM on November 08, 2004

sauril, not in the FSW feed here in the Bay Area on Comcast, only before, at the half and after have I seen any commercials and I'm watching every weekend, and more than just EPL.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:00 PM on November 08, 2004

then it's Sportsnet. holy cow.

posted by sauril at 05:17 PM on November 08, 2004

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.