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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?

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