Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beckham for the save

Major League Soccer is still in the red. Ever since it's inception the league has not made money. Things have been turning around a bit recently as cities build soccer specific stadiums which are more profitable to run. But it is estimated that the league will still be losing money for some time.

The big problem is though that people don't care. Specifically people in New York. For a professional sports league to be successful they need to put on a good showing in the biggest city in the United States. Unfortunately for the MLS the New York Red Bulls are drawing around 10,000 a game, the second lowest average attendance in the MLS.

Enter David Beckham. In his MLS debut starting match he drew more than 60,000 fans to watch the game in New York (Beckham plays for the L.A. Galaxy). Beckham sextupled the attendance to the game. But that's not all. During the game Beckham had three assists in a loss, where the Red Bulls pulled out a 5-4 win in the last minutes of the game.

In every sucessful sports league there is something that can be pointed to as the reason the league is doing so well. For example, the NFL's success can be traced to when Joe Namath guarenteed a win for his underdog team, the new York Jets, in Super Bowl III. It is very likley that this exciting game, played with the premiere new star, in front of a large crowd, is what will make the MLS start to turn a profit, and start to give professional soccer a real foundation in the United States. He might actually be worth his $250 million dollar contract.

Here are the highlights from the game:


Think Frustrated said...

I think the big problem is that there's not enough scoring for American audiences. Hell, the NHL has been changing rules so that the scores are higher. I, personally, like soccer, but many people feel cheated when they sit through an entire game, and it ends in a nil-nil tie.

Ookami Snow said...

Yes, I do agree the low scores are a problem, but I think that we can learn to get past that.

I used to not like to watch soccer as well, but once I started to understand it more I started to enjoy it.

The low scores make every drive important and every shot worth watching and every score worthy of celebration.

This is in stark contract to basketball, where every play doesn't matter much.

We can learn to like soccer, but it first takes people to actually watch the sport, Beckham can get people out to see it.

Think Frustrated said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Most people are turned off by the low score, but when you realize how much more significant it is when a goal is scored, or how hard everyone is playing to try and score, you appreciate it. Also, the rules are different (although, if you know hockey, it's somewhat similar) so people who watch for the first time need someone to expalin it to them. I learned the rules by playing FIFA soccer on my Sega Saturn back in the day.

The only way I can watch a baseball game is if I'm at the stadium, or on SportsCenter the day after, where it only lasts 90 seconds, and only the significant stuff shows up. I can't tell you when was the last time I watched a full baseball game on TV.

Ookami Snow said...

Here is my biggest gripe about pro soccer: The players act like little girls when they get touched on the field.
They writhe in pain from the lightest touch.
Makes me want to kick them.

And yes baseball is not fun to watch on TV at all. I don't see how people can sit though that, but not sit through a game soccer

The Gare Bear said...

Interesting about the soccer players acting like little girls. We had a discussion about that at work just the other day. Our concensus was that female soccer players are tougher than male soccer players. When the women get popped, they just get up and get even instead of whining. In the bigger picture, if I was getting paid what Beckham is getting paid, I think maybe I'd consider taping the ankle and playing with an hour and a half of pain a day. Hey, my feet hurt by the end of a twelve hour shift, but I keep working.

Ookami Snow said...

Ha! that is true, soccer girls are tougher than soccer guys.

Or, maybe American soccer girls (the only girls you see play) are tougher than European soccer guys (the only guys you see play).

Pick whichever you prefer.