Saturday Soccer MLS Cup Edition (& More)

Photo by Juan Miranda/Chivas USA

i-fc520537d940cb3e58d843169d791dd7-cm392400002.jpgPlenty of media attention for Juan Pablo Angel and the New York Red Bulls Friday, but is the general public noticing?

I pitched my editor (the news, not sports editor) a front page Robbie Rogers profile on Sunday to coincide with MLS Cup in Carson.

I figured it was a safe bet: a South Bay native, one of the best players on the best team in the league, an Olympian, MLS Goal of the Year finalist, a 21-year-old having a breakout season who was named to the national team for the first time.

Who’s going to turn down that story?

He did.

Obscure athlete playing for an obscure team in an obscure league for an obscure championship, he said.

Instead, he said, why don’t you write a story about how many people locally know whether a national championship of a supposedly major league is being played here?

So I did, figuring if that sort of story was going to get written (yet again) at least it will be by someone (who thinks) he knows something about the game and not some ignorant soccer bashing reporter.

I’m of the P.T. Barnum mindset when it comes to soccer: there is no such thing as bad publicity.

And the story duly landed on the front page, at least publicizing the game (and this blog).

There was no other mention of the game in the entire newspaper this morning. Soccer still has a way to go whether fans like it or not.

I usually don’t print e-mails sent to me privately, but I thought I’d share the following one below that appeared in my inbox before I’d even staggered out of bed this morning:

Just read your article on MLS Cup.

Here’s my take on the event.

First off, it’s time to get rid of the myth that Americans love to play not watch soccer.

Ratings for major Soccer events (World Cup, Euro Cup, English Premier League) have been increasing at a rapid upward pace for a number of years.

As far as MLS. The relevant metric for a 12-year old-league, which unlike other American leagues exists in a worldwide environment, is hard core fans put into the seats on a weekly basis.

By that standard MLS is doing quite well, averaging more that 16,000 fans per game, in a terrible economic climate especially for families (i.e. the non-corporate crowd) who make up the core of the MLS’ fan base.

I wonder where the NBA, NHL, MLB, etc. were in their 13th year?

Are fans into the MLS Cup in New York? Not really the right question. Hard core fans of the Red Bulls like me will and given time the “gospel” will spread to the masses, just as it happened in football, baseball etc.

Perry
Flushing, New York.

Amen, Perry.

Thanks for writing.

Of course, even the soccer-hating guy mentioned in the article watches World Cup soccer so there’s a tremendous difference between MLS viewership and how many people watch the World Cup.

And as the Commish pointed out Thursday in his speech at USC, ratings for the Galaxy are higher than for the Kings, but ratings are higher nationally for the NHL than for MLS.

Fans going to the game tomorrow should be aware that:
*The Red Cross will collect donations for victims of the recent wildfires outside the entrances to the stadium.

*The Los Angeles Sol, the new Women’s Professional Soccer franchise, kicks off a toy drive Sunday with defender Kendall Fletcher signing autographs for all donors who drop off a toy at the Sol booth before the game. In addition, any fan donating an unwrapped toy worth $3 or more will receive a voucher for one free ticket with the purchase of a full-price ticket to any Sol home game in 2009. The Team LA store at Home Depot Center also has a collection box.

Also, earlier this week I blogged here about some of my favorite South Bay bars, eateries, etc., for those of you visiting the area from out of town (or locals who live under a rock).

MLS Cup is not the only soccer game at the HDC this weekend, BTW.

At 7 tonight Cal State Dominnguez Hills plays hosts Midwestern State at the Track & Field Stadium with a place at the Division II NCAA final four at stake Dec. 4 in Tampa, Fla.

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  • Soccer Pop

    Nick, appreciate the fact you tell it the way it is. I thought it was ironic this morning that the LA Times had two articles (it usually has nothing) on the big game and the Daily Breeze had only your article. Usually it’s the opposite.

  • Joe

    WTF is MLS? I’ll be watching EPL in the morning, then shutting off the TV.