Thoughts on the Women's World Cup and soccer/football in general

What a game! Three goals in the first sixteen minutes all by Carli Lloyd, and the last one of those from fifty some yards away. 

Seeing the Japanese beaten down so soundly by a US team that kept them on their heels for most of the game must have given some pleasure to the English, who lost to Japan on one of the most monumental flukes in World Cup history. Probably one of the few times they ever rooted for an American soccer team.

Soccer is growing in the US. More people watched the final yesterday than watched the last Men's World Cup. Portland, Oregon, where I live is a soccer-crazy town, and so I watched our Timbers beat San Jose at 8 pm last evening, less than 2 hours after the Women's World Cup finish.

So, what are the prospects for soccer supplanting NFL football as the sport of choice in America?

The biggest problem is that NFL games are stop and go, giving the TV networks ample opportunities to run the ads that pay for the show. The clock only stops at the end of each half of a soccer game. Occasionally, someone is treated for an injury or a player substitution is made, but those are relatively rare. 

Advertising in soccer matches seems to consist mainly of logo placement on the sidelines, so other than before, after, and at halftime, there are few opportunities for running the kind of clever ads that punctuate NFL matches.

It will take overwhelming interest by the public and some solution to the advertising problem for Sunday Soccer to supplant Sunday NFL Football.

BTW, I have to hand it to soccer players, who must be among the best conditioned of athletes. Unlike NFL players who actually play, it's been estimated, about 11 minutes per 60 minute game, Soccer players spend almost all of their 90 minutes running around on a field that's substantially bigger than an NFL gridiron. And it can happen that there's overtime play. I believe in the Japan vs. England game, there were two 15-minute overtime sets, so the many of the players actually played for 2 hours. No wonder there are no fat soccer players!

Any comments?

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The best conditioned athletes in the world are those who race bicycles professionally. They burn through incredible amounts of caloric energy in a short time span. The Tour de France is happening right now and in about a week they will hit the Pyrenees Mountains where some say the race really begins. After that they work their way over to the Alps which is not a walk in the park either. Two thousand miles and three weeks later they end up in Paris. 

The best thing about soccer is that there are few commercials, non-stop action, and in two hours it is normally a done deal. Soccer will usurp all other sports in America in the next decade I predict. Baseball is already in big trouble for several reasons.

The thing about the Tour de France is that it goes on so long and then it's over until next year. What do those racers do the rest of the year that would keep fans interested? The excitement in the Tour de France seems to be of two varieties: spectator interference and crashes/pile-ups. 

Soccer will have to solve the commercial time problem in order to get the big networks interested. Right now advertising is before and after and at halftime, logo placements around the sidelines, and occasional mentions of sponsors by the sportscasters. I suppose "If you build a sport, the fans will follow and the networks will follow the fans," but where are the profits for the networks?

"What do those racers do the rest of the year that would keep fans interested? "

There is an international racing circuit that occupies them for many months out of the year.

Ed, you are obviously a bike enthusiast, but I suspect you are the only one here who thinks Joe Sixpack is going to be glued to his TV watching guys in spandex huff and puff round and round or even over hill and dale. 

Soccer has a lot more going for it.

True that soccer is more appealing to watch on a TV, I was only commenting from the aspect of conditioning and physical stamina.

"but where are the profits for the networks?"

That's why they hire marketing professionals to figure that shite out. The networks seem slow to understand that when they fill a programming slot full of commercials, interspersed with a little actual content, it forces Joe Viewer to just record it and skip the pain of advertisements. The networks have ruined the flow of professional basketball games. There is now the equivalent of 6 or 8 timeouts per half. 

In the end if fans want it, and resort to the internet or any other media means to watch it, the networks will have to change their tactics to get a piece of the pie.

We need a C-SPAN of sports.

What do those racers do the rest of the year that would keep fans interested?

Other, less famous races. Like the Tour Down Under (I'll give you one guess where it is held).

where are the profits for the networks?

Australian football is doing fine. has 4 quarters, so lots of advertising space during the game, plus all around the oval are advertisements (not sure if the TV networks get a share of that though).

What's not to be excited about? I'm SO HAPPY for them :) It's amazing...My sentiments are a resounding GO WOMEN!!! 

I'm equally excited for the upcoming women's UFC bouts, this and next month...Women's sports are taking off...there's only one direction to go from here...UP!!

For some reason, I like women's soccer and women's volleyball more than the men's versions. And when I say volleyball, no I don't mean beach volleyball. I mean college volleyball. The girls don't wear skimpy outfits in either sport and yet they are that kind of attractive that comes from being healthy and fit. 

Last fall and into early this year I followed PAC12 women's volleyball where Stanford's team was crushing everybody in sight. Their star was Morgan Boukather (see image). While they were busy dealing death to University of Oregon and Oregon State, apparently they overnighted in Portland (where I live) and I was in my local Safeway one morning and I passed the self checkout area and said to myself "There's a girl there who's over 6 feet tall." I walked a little further and I said "That looks like Morgan Boukather. It IS Morgan Boukather!" I came fairly close to saying something to her, but I thought I'd come off as some sort of pervy groupie. 

Personally I prefer the stop-and-go nature of the US NFL, it gives more a chance to see strategy in action than on watching grown men jump into a pile or run around a bit

Here in Aus we have our own sportsball game (yes, we call it football) which I find so boring. It uses an egg shape ball like NFL but is more similar to soccer in actual game play. I've heard rumours of a women's league getting started up (has happened and failed in the past).

So, what are the prospects for soccer supplanting NFL football as the sport of choice in America?

Depends on what American's prefer. If they like the athleticism of running back and forth lots, they will eventually switch more to soccer, if they like the stop-and-go mechanism of NFL then they will stay as-is. All in all, it's probably more about an odd sense of patriotism. NFL is the sport of the US. AFL is the sport of Australia.

The stop and go nature of the NFL does give fans more opportunities to run for snacks or take a pee, I'll give it that. 

Americans don't let patriotism govern their choices as much as you might think. We drive Japanese and Korean cars, drink Italian lattes, and buy Scandinavian furniture from Ikea. Adopting soccer as our national sport, now that we're proving we're good at it, will be no problem at all.


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