ESPN Tries To Ruin The Sport of Soccer

Friday, April 06, 2007

I was torn on this story at first. My first thought was that I don't really watch Soccer unless it's a big U.S. game or an EPL one. So to hear that ESPN/ABC is "jazzing" up their MLS broadcasts might not be a bad thing. Well, that was until I read the changes in this USA Today article.

Let's outline some of the changes shall we.....

1. On screen graphics for MLS Fantasy Players (wait...there's an MLS Fantasy League?)
2. This season's coverage will "try to make connections to other sports". (Alexi Lalas is the Theo Epstein of the MLS)
3. The only Sky-Cam TV shots of soccer in the world. (I can't wait until someone blasts on of those of the zip-line and people go running.)
4. The possibility of mic'd players and refs.
5. They are using the slogan, "You're a just don't know it yet." (I wish I was making that up. What an AWFUL slogan.)

.....and my personal favorite

6. ESPN will add a superimposed graphic showing the offside line.

Okay let's analyze these changes. If you're not already watching soccer (especially the MLS) are you really going to hang around because of mic'd up refs? And the offside line graphic??? Do you know how annoying that's going to get? It's perfectly fine in football because the graphic is stationary, but with that thing moving up and down the whole game.....that could make someone pretty nauseous (not that Soccer alone doesn't take care of that....HEY YO!).

The other interesting tidbit is that Eric Wynalda has only been suspended one game. Because hugging someone is much worse than tell someone to "S your D". Julie Foudy will replace him for that strict one game suspension.

Jim Rome Can Suck My D--- (Sports By Brooks)
Sports Television (USA Today)
Don't Like Soccer? Yes you do. (Ad Freak)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 8:36 AM


I don't care about soccer, but I would liken the "changes" to Fox using the glowing puck for their NHL games. Casual fans didn't care, and die-hard fans were annoyed by it.

Chip said...
Apr 6, 2007, 10:24:00 AM  

I love soccer, but watching it on ESPN is awful, and also AA, you should mention the commentary from Dave O'Brien.

mookie said...
Apr 6, 2007, 12:00:00 PM  

I'm like you AA, I really only watch EPL and big team USA matches. Although other Euro soccer is pretty cool too.

The biggest problem with the MLS is that they play a boring style. Most sports fans already think the game is boring, so if you play the most boring style then it gets even worse.

It also doesn't help that every single sports talk so host is always ragging on soccer.

And, they really need to get better play-by-play and commentary people. Eric Wynalda is just too much of a schmuck. Nobody likes him.

I think MLS would be helped by a Tony K. type A LOT more than MNF. Somebody who is an engaging personality and has a sense of humor, but LOVES soccer would be better for fans watching on TV then somebody like Wynalda who takes himself so damn seriously.

Jay said...
Apr 6, 2007, 12:56:00 PM  

Along with "How to steal a base" on Baseball Tonight last night, this is just one other way in which ESPN thinks we're all idiots.
Even fellow Zag alum Brian Ching in the "Checkmark, Desire" picture won't get me to watch the MLS on TV. I don't know much, ESPN, but I do know that.

La Rev said...
Apr 6, 2007, 1:40:00 PM  

The MLS is a waste of time, I only watch EPL, select U.S games, and the Champions League.

Joke: The last thing I want is a Brian Ching-Tommy Chong duo, I don't want them to be known as, you finish the joke yourself.

mookie said...
Apr 6, 2007, 2:14:00 PM  

Um... the offside line will only be on replays. Lots of broadcasts have it. It's fine.

Also, if you didn't know there was an MLS fanstasy league. . .now you do! 1 point for ESPN.

Lastly, I don't know what kind of "fan" won't support his local club because some club 5,000 miles away has better players. Not any I'd associate with.

Anonymous said...
Apr 6, 2007, 5:03:00 PM  

I hope the line they show on TV is more accurate than the one shown in the article. The white player may not be in an offside position but it looks like he is because the line is so far off.

Anonymous said...
Apr 6, 2007, 9:00:00 PM  

I'll admit it; I'm the guy Waldo is talking about, the guy who loves soccer, pulls hard for the Nats, has the FSC on his cable, tries to watch MLS but can't. Therefore, according to the article, I'm the game.:)

And I definitely like him and agree for the most part, even if I wouldn't have gone that far re: Rome. So that's one person.

So much to address:

- The offside line is a godsend. It doesn't look as bad as that graphic (it's more like the first down line in football), it doesn't move (it's a freeze frame at the point the pass is made), and it allows you to hammer linesmen for missing calls, because it happens WAY too often.

- I don't want Rome anywhere near my package, but his comments on soccer in general and Latin American soccer in particular border on racism, and they're totally irrational.

It'd be one thing to say, 'I just can't get my brain around why it might be entertaining, so I will never, ever give soccer a fair shake,' but Jim Rome actively discourages attendance at soccer matches, making it sound like if you attend one, you'll get hit by a piss-bomb from some deranged (and probably Latino) fan. That's injurious, slanderous, and just flat out wrong.

So while I don't agree with Eric Wynalda's statement, I definitely understand it, especially from a guy like him who has poured heart and soul into the American game for decades, at great cost to himself.

- On the other hand, he's being way too charitable to Sunil Gulati and US Soccer. Suffice it to say, that if even baseball ran like that, it'd be the death of that game. For example, these assholes were going to withhold payroll for WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION under Arena's tenure at one point. You heard Waldo, and he's right, that they interfere with American players looking to ply their trade in Europe or South America. They expect national participation in a league that only plays in 10 markets! USL has a healthier business model, and I'm surprised Sunil Gulati doesn't get his ass beat at every MLS match he goes to.

- No, I'm not going to suddenly watch MLS because refs are mic'ed up and coaches get interviewed during the game, and that stuff is bullshit.

Great post.

Got Map? said...
Apr 7, 2007, 12:24:00 AM  

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