Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Giant Step Forward

The skeptics of soccer in America must view with significant chagrin the huge crowds that have attended friendly matches in the past week in such cities as Seattle, Bridgeview, IL, Salt Lake City, Houston and New York. All of these matches have been exhibitions where European super clubs have played North American clubs. In each match excepting Red Bull New York’s humiliating performance against Barcelona, the North American clubs have exceeded expectations and have given the world a taste of the improving state of the game in these parts. Moreover, the frenzied crowds which in most cases were sell outs, indicate a strong market for top flight soccer exists throughout the USA, be it in major cities or medium sized locales in middle America.

We’ve discussed at length the victory of the MLS All Stars over Chelsea and their $200 million payroll, as well as the draw between DC United, and Real Madrid. Most heartening of all perhaps is the budding relationship between Real Madrid and Real Salt Lake who played an entertaining match last night in Salt Lake City. Not only have the two clubs sharing the same name agreed to a marketing relationship of sorts, but none other than David Beckham broke ground on Real Salt Lake’s new stadium on Friday. That was followed by a standing room only crowd at Rice Eccles Stadium for the match between the two sides.

Given the resounding success of these international matches this summer on American soil, it is critical MLS continue to work each year to bring top European clubs to the USA. The new 8 year contract between the MLS and ESPN/ABC gives the league the cash and marketing ability to be creative and aggressive in promoting itself on an international level. This summer was a great start but more summers like this are needed before MLS becomes more engrained both in the American sports culture and in the World soccer culture.


Harvey said...

Yes, Kartik the snobs who hate soccer in the media must either be in complete shock or ignoring what is happening. When you bring a Barca or a Chelsea over here fans come out in droves. Considering the World Cup got somewhat similar ratings to the NBA Finals, soccer can no longer be ignored by the mainstream media unless they are just jingoists threatened by the european/latin nature of the game and they just hate seeing a real team sport on display.

USA2010 said...

The unfortunate fact is that these "Super Clubs" market themselves with their players and play. That's what sold all the tickets.

It is MLS's challange to attract these same fans to league games on a regular basis. If the level of play won't do it, then they need to hit the phones and mailing lists.

Jose's Army said...

Giant Steps Bakward

The satan you call MLS has proven its weakness to the world!

Your biased referee robots have only proven that European football is the most elite in the world. When the mighty Chelsea return, they will lay waste on your puny players. Let the Real football begin and that's no RedBull.


Hernandez said...

mls real salt lake and metorstars played the spanish sides even in the first half. rsl was given a bad call at the end of half one that led to a penalty kick and goal for ruud v.n. rsl outplayed madrid in half one

metrostars under arena frustrated barca and was even at half time. our mls sides have poor depth so they were able to hold the giants off for a half but when the backup field players entered the games became wide open. still a good showing for both sides. and let us not forget dc performance vs madrid as well and club america 4 goals vs barca.

Hernandez said...

jose army. nice performance by your chelsea side in the loss to the reds. you guys are so poor in major games.