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More reader generated content: Sepp Blatter’s comments on lack of U.S. soccer growth

Dec 31, 2012, 11:38 AM EDT

MLS crowd

As Richard Farley demonstrated the other day on the Fake Field Farce (and I demonstrate almost daily), our readers sometimes have better things to say on a topic than we do.

Or, they keep the conversation going in interesting ways, creating ever more colorful and vibrant branches on the tree.  (And thanks for doing so to all of you, by the way, because I know becoming a commenter on this platform remains a bit cumbersome – I’m working on it …).

At any rate, here’s a perfect “for instance:”

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time on the ongoing, old debate on whether domestic soccer should link up with the FIFA soccer calendar. Three separate posts generated great reader back-and-forth, commentary, literary high fives, some valid disagreements, etc.

The launching point for it all was Sepp Blatter and his ongoing Blatter-ings. But in getting into the calendar debate, I may have blown right by one important point: that Blatter, world soccer’s ranking official, said something else that qualifies as “painfully ignorant.”

He talked about soccer’s lack of growth in the United States, about the lack of a “very strong professional league.” Reader “@C_Tobin” nailed a vital point. His comment in full:

“The worst thing is Blatter’s presumption that the World Cup in 1994 failed to grow soccer in the United States.

Success can and should be measured by more than just the domestic league. While I think MLS is growing and will enter the broader public conscience soon why is that the measuring stick in Sepp’s mind?

The USA pays more to Sepp’s FIFA for World Cup broadcasting rights than any country. Read that again. The USA pays more than ANY country in the world to broadcast the World Cup.

The EPL rights just went to NBC for $250M for three years. Clearly soccer is alive and thriving in America. The domestic league is very well attended (Seattle might be somewhat of an outlier but you can not ignore the average 40k+ attendance in 2012) and the only factor that legitimizes MLS criticism is the lacking TV ratings.

Blatter criticizing the growth of American soccer since the 1994 World Cup while collecting literally a BILLION dollars for future World Cup TV rights in the US is laughable. Remember watching the 1990 World Cup on TV in the US?

  1. charliej11 - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I can’t think of anything funnier than the posters, who rip on how US soccer is going, now being in bed with Sepp B.

    Think it not going well….Sepp agrees
    Think pro/rel is needed….Sepp agrees
    Think playing now is GOOD idea…Sepp agrees
    Remember the guys who agreed with the racists….Sepp hasn’t done much there either

    I am starting to wonder if he is the posters I have to read on these blogs….He has a handle of MLS sucks or Pro/Rel Now.

  2. pensfan603 - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Tbh his comments worked in away this article got over 4 thousand comments on espn, and drew lots of attention to the mls.

  3. loudclapper - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:57 PM

  4. deepcynic - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    We have a problem here. The fact that FIFA makes a ton of money from the US does not in any way paint a true picture of the growth of the sport in the United States. It amounts to reckless reductionism and intellectual laziness to make such simplistic conclusions.
    Obviously, many variables are at play. The most common one is the shift in demographics. Let us learn how to call a spade a spade for the betterment of the sport.

    • Steve Davis - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      So … just be clear here: your point is that the game HAS NOT grown in the United States since 1994? Again, just so I am clear …

  5. valiantdraws - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Well, I commend you for being able to lasso together a serious of impressive sounding words. But, honestly, they were a bunch of now-cliche expressions that one can find in any newspaper editorial section. “Variables at play”, “reckless reductionism”, “simplistic conclusions”, and worst of all, the extremely overused “call a spade a spade”, all mask the fact that you have absolutely no point to make.

    Feel free to try again.

  6. jpan007 - Jan 1, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    He’s an idiot

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