Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Football In America

The Chicago Tribune reported that an estimated 20,000 people attended a downtown viewing party of the Portugal v USA game and the game with Ghana enjoyed the largest ever audience for a football match, 27 million and with Jurgen Klinsmann's team on the verge of qualification from Group G and into the knock out phase, is Football about to go mainstream stateside?
Dan Courtemanche, a MLS executive, thinks Football in the USA may be reaching a point where it can safely hold its own with the more established sports such as Basketball, Baseball and American Football and the MLS does seem to be attracting some big names, albeit ones at the tail end of their careers such as Thierry Henry and David Villa.
While the USA doing well in tournaments like the World Cup will undoubtedly help the cause, i can see a few obstacles that stand it he way for football stateside.
The first is that it is hard for the TV stations to run two x 45 minutes slots without ad breaks so it isn't ever going to be a money spinner.
The second is that America is such a large country that the notion of local rivals is not the same as elsewhere where you can have two or more teams from the same city and the tribal sense of belonging that comes with that.
Hoping that your rival fails is as much a part of supporting a team as hoping your own side wins but with the vast space between teams in the MSL, that is missing.
Finally, the glamour ties against the historical big names are not there. Some of the best nights are the European Cup games against the best sides of footballing powerhouses from Italy, Spain and Germany.
The first problem can be overcome but jamming as many ad breaks into the half time while the second should solve itself the more football teams are created so rivalry will be generated.
The final problem i can't see how can be solved, playing friendlies against teams like AC Milan or Real Madrid is not the same.       
What would help even more to solidify football in America is a truly world class player to emerge, someone for the American kids to aspire to and want to imitate.
Of course the established American sports won't just lay down and let Football take its revenue, it is in its interests to see football fall back to a minority sport so it may still have a long way to go but football may be making some inroads in America and the states may be ready to join the global football party.
I just wish they wouldn't insist on calling it soccer!


Keep Life Simple said...

Concerning rivalry, i think you are not in touch with Cowboys v Redskins, Lakers v Celtics, Yankees v Red Sox, Broncos v Raiders, Bears v Packers, Rangers v Bruins, Bulls v Pistons, Giants v Cowboys and more


Lucy said...

None of those are football teams. It is rivalry between football teams that needs to build, teams from the same city or state.

Keep Life Simple said...

Your kidding, those are soccer teams? Damn.

My point was despite US population dispersion there are plenty of sport rivals.


Ps - USA creeps in backdoor..