Saturday, February 17, 2007

Copa America Draw

The US drew Argentina in its opening game in Copa America this summer. Following the tilt with Argentina our guys go on to play Columbia and Paraguay posing a challenge that is only slightly less daunting than the draw for the last World Cup. Hopefully coming off a successful Gold Cup, the US will have every opportunity to prove that World Cup 2006 was a fluke. The US likely will not have the benefit of all the American fan who trekked to WC 2006 to voice their support for Arena’s folly. Will these two tournaments ultimately decide Bob Bradley’s fate? Will BB the King even be at the helm for these matches?

MLS Continues to lock down Playaz

In the last week MLS has done what many have begged it to do for a long time, keep the star players in the league. Sporting goods salesman, come goalkeeper Troy Perkins, was the latest to resign with the league. This week also witnessed the MLS lockdown of Taylor Twellmann and Brian Ching. With only Clint Dempsey being the only player of significance to depart, the player retention of the league is to be commended. True, Dwayne DeRosario and Shalrie Joseph’s status are still up in the air, but with both in-training with their respective teams, expect a deal to be cut any day. As good of job as the league has done this off season, next winter will be much more difficult for the league as millions of new eyes will be introduced to the league. Many will be shocked by the quality and fitness of the players. Some might even find a reason to rank the league higher than #72 in the world.

CONCACAF Champions Cup

The Cup of Questionable Significance (COQS )got under way this week with a shock as Trinidad’s W Connection lost it’s keeper to an early red card and went down a goal before storming back late for a 2-1 victory. Unfortunately this match was held in Trinidad, so look for a far less shocking score line during the return leg in Guadalajara. Great to hear the outrage amongst Houston fans that their “home” game in the COQS is to be played 95 out of town. Many fans, and certainly Dynamo fan #1 Glenn Davis, are taking this very seriously. Let’s hope Dynamo can rise to the challenge and represent the league well.

Stars, Check. Now how about that other thing that makes sports thrive in the US

Mr. Garber, time to put on a fake mustache and some sunglasses, buy a ticket to Vegas and take time to meet with every single sports book line setter in town! You need ratings on a Thursday night when you are up against baseball? Betting! You need an extra ¼ inch of press in the “Tonight’s Game” box in the Tribune. Betting! Like it or not professional sports are fueled by gambling. If you want to Americanize Soccer, the betting line is the place to do it. Let’s adopt a .5 goal line for MLS. Not only does this this convert typical soccer betting into a NFL like, easy to understand line, but just the providing the line give every new fan an instant point of reference as to who the underdog is in the match. Fire .5 Crew.. I like it!

Toronto FC

13,500 is the number of season tickets sold by Toronto FC before the team has even kicked one competitive ball! Major kudos to MLS and MLSE for the great work they have done on the business end from start to present up there. You set the bar pretty damn high for future franchises when from day one you’ll have about 14,000 season ticket holders and your own stadium. The club is even considering expanding the stadium by six suites before one game has been played there! Interesting correlation between the attendance in cities whose media treat them like a Major League venture and those that treat them like a side show. Let’s look at my media treatment chart ranked in order of least to most media treatment:


Local Media Coverage

2006 Average Attendance

Colorado Rapids



NY Red Bull



Chicago Fire



Kansas City Wizards



Columbus Crew



Chivas USA



New England Revolution



FC Dallas



DC United

Major League


LA Galaxy

Major League


Toronto FC

Major League



Major League


Real Salt Lake

Major League


Of course there are many other factors to consider here, such as the boost Chivas got by the Barcelona game and the sister Chivas games. One could also consider that the historical success of the club is driving media attention, however RSL, Chicago Fire and certainly the Revs would likely not agree with that theory. Are soccer specific stadiums the answer? It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t guarantee sellouts either. However, considering the boost RBNY received from their star studded 2006 opening day and the Fire’s new stadium boost, the positive correlation between local media coverage and attendance is very strong. Looking forward to 2007, assuming the Beckham effect is that all teams boost their average by 500, but LA sells out the second half of their season. Let’s also assume that Toronto averages a modest 18,500 (modest given their season ticket sales) league average attendance will rise to 16,396, a 5.75% increase over 2006 and the largest average attendance since the league’s inception.


The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis

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