Earlier this week, MLS announced a three-year deal with NBC to broadcast league matches. Also included are 4 US Men’s fixtures. The majority of the games will be shown on The NBC Sports Network (aka Versus) with a few select games, including two playoff matches, broadcast on papa station, NBC.
It’s exciting (I guess) for US Soccer and MLS which were cooing over the deal the last couple of days. Obviously, it’s great for the league that 45 games will be broadcast but Don Garber’s claim that it will bring MLS into the “mainstream” may be a bit optimistic.
However, the agreement means the current MLS package that is mostly on FSC will move to cable, which sources say will double the amount of households the league reaches. The hike in ratings the NHL has experienced from the dedicated coverage given to it by Versus is also a positive omen for the little league that could.
But the mostest, awesomest, dopestest thing about the deal are the mock NHL-Soccer crossover jerseys that a Hockey fanatic on Reddit designed to welcome MLS to the club. I know you’re all wondering why I picked the Islanders jersey to display above. Short answer: they’re crap and they need some love.
Roger Bennet of ESPN wrote this article. It’s actually a really good piece on the fight for American fans among European clubs, but the intro irked me. I hope you agree:
I recently met an avid American soccer fan who had fallen for the game after the 2006 World Cup. Searching for a team to support, he originally pledged allegiance to then-Premier League champion Chelsea, but Gareth Bale‘s swashbuckling displays encouraged a transfer of his affections, and he recently morphed into a Tottenham fan.
On a trip to England last month, the fan was explaining his defection to a London cab driver who listened patiently before responding, “Can I be honest with you Guv’nor?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“You can change your wife. You can change your underpants. But you can never, ever change your team.”
The cabbie’s rules may be right in Europe, where the club you support is passed through the generations down the family bloodline. But it is not true in the U.S., where a spike in television ratings has catalyzed an anarchical glut of curious new fans desperate to define a rooting interest. Teams are often selected for the most random of reasons: distant family ties, a haircut similar to a star player or a childhood vacation spent by chance in Blackburn.
Just because the club one supports isn’t “passed through the generations down the family bloodlines” in the states does not justify swapping teams as outlined above. Granted, there is a difference, I understand that, but it doesn’t make it right. I’d even argue that it’s not just anti-football, it’s anti-american. Since when did we become a bunch that throws out our passion, conviction, and beliefs to the side because some Welsh lad had a great game at the San Siro? Obviously the Minute Men at Lexington and Concord were enamored with the absolute beauty of the silky Red Coats sported by the Brits, but that didn’t make them want to join them, did it? No.
This sort of behavior may be acceptable when one is a child, but it is absolutely unacceptable for a full-grown, intelligent human. More so than any other sport, football clubs represent more than just a game. Each team has its own culture defined by the social status, geographic location and historical context in which the club exists. For example, a Chelsea fan won’t be the same as a Millwall fan just because they are both Londoners.
As an American, when you give your allegiance to a club, you do so because you identify with that team’s culture and style. Some may argue that it’s solely based on the style of football, but any good club’s play reflects that very culture, or at least it should.
I don’t care what your credentials are, where you come from, or who the hell you think you are… if you try to argue otherwise, please, please save your words. You are wrong, you are trite, and worst of all, you are a fickle bandwagoner… even if I do love to watch Gareth Bale too.
No, not Kicking & Screaming. You’ve misread. This film festival is far from related to the atrocious Will Ferrell movie that made me laugh like three times, albeit laugh hard three times. It’s also has nothing to do with the sort of tantrums you throw every morning when you need to get up for work. Seriously, cut those out. You’re 31 and it’s not your alarm clock’s fault you’re stuck at a 9-5 sitting next to the white haired lady with a compulsive nose picking & eating disorder.
Kicking & Screening is the super rad footie centric film festival that been spinning projectors in the Tribeca area of NYC since 2009. It’s one of those awesome, cultural tiddly-bits that makes NYC oh-so-cool. It starts Wednesday. Runs to Saturday. And you should go.
An intimate look at the unrivaled passion and cultural impact of the Buenos Aires rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate through the lens of the players who compete in it, the fans who cheer it on, and, ultimately, the country that lives for it. All the more prominent, now River Plate have been relegated and this guy got famous.
The popular kid at school. This film has more than buzz; it’s got the entire soccer community behind it. Even The Third Kit donated to it’s distribution! This is the All-American footie film. Overlooked by the American pro leagues, Jay DeMerit left for Europe with a passport, $1,500, and a backpack full of dreams. Rise & Shine documents Jay’s journey from Sunday park leagues and lower-division London clubs earning 40 pounds a week, to the English Premier League and the FIFA World Cup.
The film follows two promising young players, a South African named Kermit and a Cameroonian named Ndomo, as they chase their dreams of stardom in Europe. The story that unfolds reveals the struggle that is life in much of Africa and demonstrates how football is a vital lifeline to which many will desperately cling.
Match 64 carries fans deeper into the heart of a World Cup final than they have ever gone before. From sunrise to sunset and beyond, Match 64 follows not only the two finalists and the match officials, but also local organizers and FIFA officials, born-and-bred Sowetans and VIPs. What emerges is an intimate portrait of a country that is coming of age in this post-apartheid era and whose stadium acts as a crucible of passion on a momentous occasion.
The amazing story of Martin Hansson, the referee who failed to call Thierry Henry’s handball in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier that helped send France to the South Africa and Ireland home cheated. The outrage that ensued has marred Hansson’s life and derailed his career as a top FIFA referee. An incredible tale and a story many people should be privy to.
You can actually watch the 30-minute version of this documentary after the jump…
This isn’t really a footie blog, it’s more of a live-your-life-by, scientific, philosophical, mind-expanding experience. (However, I know some of these cats are very much fans of the game with round ball and no hands.) They are well educated thugs of knowledge who’ve been doing an awesome job at spreading the word on everything from Taoist teachings to The Wu-Tang Clan. Hell, they sometimes even put the two together in brilliant posts such as: The Mysterious Wisdom of Dark Energy Pt. 1: Chuang Tzu vs. Wu-Tang.
Bieber fever sweeps across Spain. Symptoms include: vomiting. The goofy, little Canadian was found playing some footy in Madrid recently. Say what you will about him, but he has enough balls to wear a full Barcelona kit in a place teeming with Real fans. Well guess what, I will say what I want about him… [...]