Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The 'Not So Gold' Cup

I had talked myself into it, I was pumped.

So Saturday came and I had prepared myself to watch the United States' biggest soccer match since the last World Cup. It was the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. It was the championship for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. It was the team that won over our hearts in the 2010 FIFA World Cup then tore those same hearts out with an early exit. But most importantly, it was Mexico. IT WAS MEXICO. Say what you want about soccer, but if you were an American sports fan you had good reason to have your interest peaked.

I hadn't had this feeling in over year but it was back. I was about to watch meaningful international soccer with my country playing a pivotal role. Little did I know they were going to reprise their role from last summer as the 'too-good-to-be-true' member of the cast who is the first to get killed off by the scary man in a mask. And instead of going on for the next 750 words or so on how much it sucked watching team USA blow a 2-0 lead and quickly shatter my excitement, I'm going with a different story. This was something that caught my attention before the game started, before the Rose Bowl romping. Can somebody explain to me how with no problem at all I can watch a reality chow about cooking (Cooking! They've actually made reality shows about cooking! Am I on crazy pills or something?) but can't find a channel that is playing the Gold Cup Final game in English. This to me raises a very serious question.

How are American's supposed to adopt soccer like the rest of the world if they can't even watch one of the most important games of the year on TV? In English!?!?!?!

I'll throw you all a disclaimer by pointing out that the Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) was broadcasting the game but how many of you have FSC? At this moment I'd like you to say "I" if you have FSC as apart of your cable package. (Cricket....cricket.....fart by awkward guy in the background who just ruined the silence....cricket) Yeah that's what I thought.

For years now American sports fans have been fed BS about soccer finally arriving in the US. We've had Freddy Adu, David Beckham, and Thierry Henry.  Too young, too old, and too old. How were they going to save American soccer? Simply put, they were never going to. So, in my opinion, we had a great opportunity to enhance American interest in soccer, even if it was just a little, and ESPN along with all the other major TV networks completely dropped the ball. Not just your ordinary dropping of the perennial ball, I'm talking about blowing a 2 nil lead against our biggest rival in a championship game type dropping of the ball. (Oh yeah, I went there. Had to throw in one more jab for that God awful defensive performance.) Why is it that the media continues to feed us garbage about individuals saving soccer while at the same time they ignore something real. That's some Grade A Bologna right there, folks.

And I already know what people will argue. "Why should the media broadcast something if the country doesn't already care much for it?" It's not untrue but then again no sport would be what it is today without the aid of media coverage. The NBA didn't take off until they struck a deal with a major television network. Baseball has gained so many fans over the years through independently owned networks that broadcast each and every one of their home games. And football, the most television fitted sport of them all, is tailored to fit not the live audience, but the TV one. You simply cannot argue the fact that a sports success and television coverage go hand in hand.

So here's my message to ESPN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. If you are serious about the country adopting soccer as a major sport don't pitch to us flimsy individual 'heroes'. Do the right thing, the easier thing, and allow us to watch the important games. And I'm not saying give us something like 'FSC' to watch it on, put it on your standard cable package. The channels that everybody gets and that you don't already have to be a passionate fan to order.  There is some good soccer out there, give it to us! For me not to be able to watch a championship soccer game that my country is involved in on basic cable in the language I speak is depriving me of becoming a more enriched sports fan. For me it's complete nonsense.

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad


Oh, and by the way, I did watch the entire game and I did watch it in Spanish. I had not idea what was going on and had a hard time focusing to be honest. I will admit it was mildly entertaining to hear the announcer scream GOAL and hold the word for the time it took you to read this article. Admittedly, that was cool. 

No comments:

Post a Comment