Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Saturday, May 21, 2005
  Ranting about Sports Editors
I usually don't bother with newspaper editorials any more that blast the sport of soccer in this country. However, every once in a while, I have to comment when opinion is presented as fact. Jim Donaldson spent about 5 minutes putting together this piece in the Providence Journal. It's pretty much the same misinformation we've been reading sports editors publish for years.

He starts off by saying...

It's called Major League Soccer and, technically, that terminology is correct.

MLS is, indeed, the big leagues of soccer in the U.S. of A.

Which shows you what a big bust the game is here, compared to the rest of the world. Because, in reality, the MLS is still minor league.

Ok, I'll buy the fact that MLS isn't selling out 70,000 seat stadiums. But Mr. Richardson, can you name the soccer leagues that actually out draw MLS in attendance? You'll find that outside of the English, Italian, Spanish and German leagues, there aren't many.

Also, off the topic slightly, why is it you never see editorials like this about the Major League lacrosse(MLL)? Certainly they would count as even less "Major" than MLS. But you never (or at least I haven't) seen any Sports Editor rant about how that league/sport never catch on in this country.

He then goes on to say...

The National Hockey League, which hasn't even played a game in almost a year, and ranks a distant fourth behind the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the NBA in popularity, still far surpasses the MLS fan interest, especially in its traditional markets -- which, of course, includes Boston, home of the Bruins, one of the venerated Original Six.

He rationalizes this by pointing out that only 13k showed up for a match last weekend against DC. May I present an alternative criteria? Mr. Richardson, when was the last time you checked TV ratings for both NHL and MLS games? Back in the days when the NHL actually existed, MLS was attracting as many or even more TV viewers than NHL. That fact that the American Public still attend MLS matches and tune in on TV despite the numerous editorials in papers across the country telling them not to bother is a testament to the fans. If newspaper editors would give MLS any respect at all, there's no doubt attendance numbers would improve if for no other reason than your readers would be informed that a match would be taking place.

Of course, the Original Six have also had a few more than the 10 years MLS has to establish itself in their community. Why don't you take a look at how recent NHL expansion teams have done. C'mon, how many people in Nashville or Tampa Bay can name players on their hockey teams?

But it's as if they're performing in a vacuum. You can find more than 13,662 fans in line for hot dogs at Fenway Park. And it's not as if the region's sports-radio stations are inundated with callers eager to talk about the Revs. How often does someone -- make that anyone -- come up to you and ask: "How 'bout them Revs?"

By and large, people just don't care.
Again, I'll argue that if the media gave the sport/league the time of day, it's possible to

Also, why would a soccer fan call into a radio show just to be told the on air host doesn't want to talk about soccer...or worse, be put on the air and start the host spouting the same nonsense full of ignorant opinions you printed once they cut you off.
The MLS is an inferior league, compared to the NFL, the NBA and the National Pastime.
Where'd the NHL go in that list? I thought NHL "far surpasses the MLS fan interest". Perhaps you started to realize the error in your thinking as you got closer to your deadline.

Honestly, this entire piece smacks of someone doing a half-assed job. I'm betting he just needed to write something quick and it's the first thing that came to mind. One day we won't have to put up with crap publishing like this....yeah, I'm a dreamer.
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An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
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