The American media — this columnist included — hasn’t weighed in much on the slowly unfolding FIFA bribery scandal. It is complex, the story is still unfolding, many Americans don’t care about soccer anyway and even those that do find their eyes glazing over at the mere sight of acronyms like CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
But the events of the last week — again largely out of domestic sight, especially locally with the horrific shooting in Southern California dominating headlines — have the scandal visiting new appalling lows that make the governance structure of soccer a putrid mess.
“We run the risk of having the Premier League become the NBA of football in the next five years, with the rest of European leagues turning into secondary tournaments, said Spanish league president Javier Tebas.
The Galaxy is one of several sports franchises that shared almost $7 million in what was called “Tackling Paid Patriotism” in a Senate Armed Forces Committee report released Thursday.
Galaxy spokesman Brendan Hannan dismissed the criticism in a brief email:
“It was a one-off ticket sales partnership with the Air Force,” he wrote. “Similar to any partnership with any business. … The Air Force is a business. They are in the business of recruiting talent and they pay for advertisements for that exposure.”
It was unclear why Hannan didn’t appear to see the distinction between a private business and a taxpayer-funded government agency. He said the club would not be donating the money to veteran’s groups as McCain suggested.
He declined to add more in an off the record telephone conversation, but did go out of his way to note that:
“We invite a member of the military to attend each home game and provide them with four (4) tickets, a jersey, dinner, goodie bag, and on field recognition for their service. We have never received funds from any outside source for this recognition program.”
The California Science Center and Exposition Park Commission approved revised stadium plans today for the proposed LAFC stadium at Exposition Park.
The stadium plans will next head to the Los Angeles Planning Commission in December 2015 and then go before the City Council.
From the LAFC press release:
This new home for the team would be the first open air stadium in LA since 1962. The project is expected to bring $250 million in private investments to South Los Angeles. Total economic impact over 30 years is projected to be nearly $3 billion and the stadium and soccer club will create 3,000 full time jobs. Many of those jobs will be created in one of the most disadvantaged parts of Los Angeles. There are also plans for job training, youth and educational outreach and a Los Angeles Football Club Foundation that will be active in the community.
Part owner Mia Hamm Garciaparra gushed:
“This site, with its history of sports, is the perfect location to bring the world’s game to the world’s city,” she said. “It’s truly in the center of this city, part of the LA sports corridor, is among some of the best institutions and museums, and in a beautiful Park.”
Heading to Vegas for the holiday weekend?
You might want to check out the new exhibit unveiled Thursday at The Mob Museum titled “The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly.”
“This exhibit is ripped right from today’s headlines about the globe’s most popular sport,” said museum Executive Direcor Jonathan Ullman.
From the press release:
The display provides an incisive and eye-opening look into the rampant corruption that plagues the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization that runs international soccer. Through photographs, media clippings and cover stories and expository narrative, the Museum’s new FIFA exhibit gives a breakdown of the kickbacks, secrecy and match-fixing associated with the scandal.
And if you haven’t been to downtown Vegas lately, you might want to check it out — it’s a lot more interesting than the Strip and is slowly being transformed into a destination.
Here’s more about the museum from their press release:
The Mob Museum is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. It presents an exciting and authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on the world. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and more than 885 artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and related law enforcement memorabilia under one roof.
Now, the Galaxy will say they didn’t guarantee appearances by any player, the implication as the Galaxy ad for the game shows (we added the crosses) is those two massive stars will play.
Incidentally, wonder what this will do to the secondary market for tickets?
We received the following information from Seatgeek.com before Barcelona made the announcement:
Tickets to the July 21 match between the LA Galaxy and FC Barcelona are currently averaging $113 on the secondary market, making this the most expensive soccer match in Los Angeles since 2012.
The Galaxy’s most expensive regular season MLS game this year, against New York City FC, averaged $52 on the secondary market. That means that the average ticket price to the Galaxy-Barcelona match is more than double the price of the Galaxy’s most expensive non-exhibition game this season. In fact, the ICC match is almost triple the average ticket price to a regular season Galaxy match of $38.
And I would love to hear what the Galaxy has to say about this.
The 3.3 million viewers that watched the 3-1 U.S. win beat the previous record of 2.5 million for the 1999 U.S-Denmark contest. That means three times as many fans watched the game as they did the U.S. opener in the 2011 World Cup.
The game also earned the highest-ever rating for a soccer game on Fox Sports 1.
The rating in Los Angeles was the 10th highest in the nation with Baltimore No. 1.
Overall through the first eight games of the tournament, viewership has increased 76 percent over 2011 when the tournament was held in Germany, Fox Sports announced..