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Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

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  • Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

    Hilarious!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xAihGnnf9M

  • #2
    Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

    Two extremes of ridiculousness .....but IMHO not very funny at all.

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    • #3
      Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

      On a serious note, my theory is "follow the money". Over the years, whenever scoring has started trending down in MLB, the NFL or the NBA, the commissioners of the leagues immediately took measures to increase the offensive advantages in their sports. In baseball, they lowered the pitcher's mound from 15 inches to 10 inches after the 1968 season when the game came to be dominated by pitchers, and in the 1970's, they added the DH to the American League to also increase scoring. Football has probably seen the most rule changes, the most significant being the banning of the bump-and-run technique for defensive backs, banning the head slap for defensive lineman and liberalizing the pass blocking rules for offensive linemen. In the NBA, they've added a three-point line, the shot clock and banned certain types of defenses. The motivating factor in all these decisions is to maintain and/or increase TV ratings, and we all know why sports owners and commissioners are so sensitive to TV ratings.

      Over the years, the American sports fan has been conditioned to expect a minimum amount of scoring in their sports contests, and consequently, many, if not most, of us get restless whenever we see a low scoring defensive struggle (the exceptions are the perfect game and the no-hitter because we consider them to be major athletic achievements in their own right). Think about it, how would we react if during football season one weekend, every college and pro football game had scores like 0-0, 3-0, 7-3, 7-0, 10-3, 3-2, 7-7,14-7, etc.? Basically, that's what we're doing when we watch a soccer tournament.

      On the other hand, there are no commercials in soccer, and consequently soccer owners and commissioners don't feel the same pressure to pimp themselves to the TV networks, thus no periodic rule changes like we have in MLB, the NFL and the NBA. I have a theory that if someone could ever convince the powers-that-be that they could significantly enhance revenues by increasing scoring, FIFA would immediately start tinkering with the off sides rule. I know there are folks here who know a lot more about soccer than I do, and I'd like to know what you think.

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      • #4
        Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

        Soccer, or football to the rest of world, is hugely popular, outside of the US. I haven't seen much commentary, in England for instant, that the game needs more scoring, except for the lack of England goals. There isn't a country in the world that wouldn't be happy with a 1-nil win.

        Frankly, soccer here will always be a niche sport. It is primarily a middle class suburban entertainment for kids that is run by adults. As for the rabid soccer fans in the US? Most of them don't even support the US team! The US team can't even have a qualifier game in a major US city, like Chicago, otherwise their supporters are heavily outnumbered by the oppositions'. It is no accident that a lot of the WC qualifier games were in places like Utah.

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        • #5
          Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

          By chance, I was on business in Switzerland on the day that the Swiss team beat Spain. I watched the game on a big screen in a restaurant beer garden in Basel with about 2 dozen Swiss fans. The enthusiasm level--as you might guess--was just off the chart. One of my most enjoyable TV sports spectating experiences in quite a few years...

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          • #6
            Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

            Originally posted by Conor Dary
            Soccer, or football to the rest of world, is hugely popular, outside of the US. I haven't seen much commentary in, England for instant, that the game needs more scoring, except for the lack of England goals.
            I don't recall there ever being an outcry of fans who have called for rule changes in the Big Three American sports either. Rather it was the commissioners of those sports who proactively made the rule changes because they believed that more offense was financially expedient. For example, when Bob Gibson set the Live Ball Era single season ERA record of 1.12 in 1968, the same year in which Carl Yastrzemski won the AL batting crown with a modest batting average of .301, folks weren't complaining about the lack of scoring, rather they marveled at Gibson's greatness. Similarly, there was never an outcry for a three point line in the NBA in Oscar Robertson and Jerry West's era. However, I do believe that these rule changes are largely responsible for shaping the attitudes of the typical American sports fan. When the Dolphins defeated the Redskins by a score of 14-7 in Super Bowl VII, folks didn't call that game boring. However, I do think that Joe Sixpack of 2010 would find a 14-7 Super Bowl boring. The reason you haven't seen commentary in Europe calling for more scoring is because you can't miss what you've never had.

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            • #7
              Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

              There are many reasons...

              1. If Ghana could beat the USA, it should not be important.

              2. The best players are not the tallest, the biggest, or even the most athletic. (This defies the notion many Americans have about who the greatest "athletes" should be.)

              3. It does not fit into the athletic "caste system" that is so important in American high schools.

              4. Too many of the important matches are not played during the prime time in US time zones.

              5. Too many of the top players have unpronounceable names, and speak limited English with funny accents.

              6. The rule is rather simple, but the officiating is so subtle that many people don't understand. (We cannot even see how much time is left at the end of a match.)

              7. Each player's contribution cannot be easily quantified.

              8. Too many times, the "hero" of the game is not among the best players on the team. (It's like the #8 hittter getting the game-winning RBI. Except it happens far more often in soccer.)

              9. Many sports "journalists" want to disguise their ignorance by downplaying its importance.

              There should be many more...

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              • #8
                Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                ...it wasn't invented by an American so why bother? :wink:

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                • #9
                  Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                  Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                  The reason you haven't seen commentary in Europe calling for more scoring is because you can't miss what you've never had.
                  I don't think so. If you have ever attended a game in Europe like I have, you notice that the fans don't want to be entertained. They just want their side to win.

                  If their team wins, say, 7-6 they will be glad they won, but they will also be bitching about their lousy defense.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                    Originally posted by Conor Dary
                    I don't think so. If you have ever attended a game in Europe like I have, you notice that the fans don't want to be entertained. They just want their side to win.

                    If their team wins, say, 7-6 they will be glad they won, but they will also be bitching about their lousy defense.
                    How is that different from American football?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                      It seems the game would be much improved,for both players and fans, if the coach could substitute at will, as in ice hockey. As it is, the coach has little impact during the game and we often see exhausted or injured athletes playing below their best near the end of each half.

                      Quick Silver
                      Hong Kong

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                        Bill-

                        As someone who:

                        - Will get up at 6AM on a Saturday to watch Liverpool v. freakin' Sunderland...

                        - Has a blast watching my buddy's 9 year old daughter play (like yesterday after work)...

                        - Can cheer for Ghana (or Spain, or Mexico) as easily as for the US...

                        I wonder why some make a deal about whether soccer does or doesn't "make it big in the USA".

                        Yeah the diving bums me out, too.

                        Lack of scoring? Like any sport, football provides exciting, sublime, and ridiculous moments which don't result in scores. I found plenty of those moments in Spain's 1-nil win over Portugal today.

                        I know that I'm not telling you anything you don't know. You played the game. (I didn't. Played hoops...much higher on the "caste system" at my high school...lotta good THAT did me...Hah!)

                        I know that you don't dig the game anymore. I get it, and that's cool.

                        Anyway, the game is big enough for me...whether or not the US side is any good. And every once in a while I like to bull$#!+ with Mark and az2004 and a few others on this board about West Ham's chances, or Brasil v. Holland, or Diego Maradona's sanity.

                        Hope that doesn't bum you out.

                        -Diz.

                        By the way Bill, what DO you think about Brasil v. Holland?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                          Originally posted by Quick Silver
                          It seems the game would be much improved,for both players and fans, if the coach could substitute at will, as in ice hockey. As it is, the coach has little impact during the game and we often see exhausted or injured athletes playing below their best near the end of each half.

                          Quick Silver
                          Hong Kong
                          Prior to the early-to-mid fifties there was no substitution allowed at all. Not even an injured player could be substituted for. If a goalie got hurt, one of the position player put on the goalie's top.
                          "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                          by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                            and now FIFA is reversing field and says it WILL investigate how to incorporate video replay into reffing.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why soccer will never make it big in the USA

                              Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                              Originally posted by Conor Dary
                              I don't think so. If you have ever attended a game in Europe like I have, you notice that the fans don't want to be entertained. They just want their side to win.

                              If their team wins, say, 7-6 they will be glad they won, but they will also be bitching about their lousy defense.
                              How is that different from American football?
                              It's different because if all the NFL games went 3:0 the fans would demand their money back.

                              From what I have seen soccer will continue to rise in popularity in the states. Personally, I don't care that much either way. The health of the world game does not really need the US fans. It's a shame for you though, as you miss out on the biggest carnival on Earth. There is nothing like being part of an event where the whole country shuts down for one game. There is nothing comparable in the US.

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