Randoms: 7/23/09

A few random points/finds from around the soccer universe...

Summer of Soccer???

This "World Football Challenge" that has been providing a great array of soccer on ESPN/ESPN2 over the past few weeks has provided more soccer in a summer that has been full of it. It also provides excellent variety to a sports landscape that is really limited to baseball and the terrible nature of the Mets. From a business perspective this WFC has also been quite a success...

CAA Sports has "sold 14 sponsorships and more than 240,000 tickets" to the six-game World Football Challenge exhibition series, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. CAA expects to sell "more than 300,000 tickets to the six games," which began Sunday in Palo Alto and end this Sunday in Foxborough. All of the matches are "being shown on ESPN, which is covering production costs and sharing advertising revenue with CAA." Sponsors of the event include State Farm, Volkswagen, Bridgestone, Stanley Tools, Lucas Oil, SpongeTech, Verizon, Burger King, Aaron's (furniture), O'Reilly Auto Parts, Logic Wireless, 7-Eleven, Anheuser-Busch and EA Sports. Sponsors receive "full-board signage during games, 30-second spots on ESPN and clock wraps during game telecasts." CAA Sports marketing exec Paul Danforth "led the sales effort" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/20 issue).

Greg Lalas has surmised that the MLS and the USMNT have helped Soccer generate a lot of buzz in the state this summer and it could be the start of something more.

The prototypical American Sports Nut, Bill Simmons, has addressed it multiple times and given his own reasons for why soccer is on the verge of taking off in the states. (Almost half way down....) He also discusses it with Colin Cowherd in his BS Report podcast from 7/8. (I think its post 30-min mark)

I am going to take the easy way out here and say its some combination of all of the above. I do think that one of the most important pieces is the increased acessibility of the top flight European leagues on American TV. Fox Soccer channel getting all UEFA rights and going HD towards the end of this year should help increase . ESPN buying select La Liga games for both the networks and ESPN 360 (If you don't think they are showing El Classico on 11/29 on ESPN/ESPN2, you are crazy) Nothing is going to increase this sport's popularity as fast as accessible/heavy exposure of the weekly quality that can only be found in the top 3-4 leagues.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?


First off, I can't believe the end of a decade since y2k is upon us. With this in mind, Goal.com has done a cool feature, naming teams of the decade from major clubs and national teams over the past few weeks. As my knowledge is sparse pre-2005, I found them all both educational and thought provoking. Take a look....

As they come out with more, I will update.

Also...can't forget....tonight, 7PM EST, FSC, US v Honduras

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